LESSON PLANS for One Book, One Community in VOYA October 2016

One Book, One Community: Not Just a Book but an Experience

Lesson Plans

Companion to the print article with the same title in VOYA October 2016.

Cassandra Rondinella

Week 1, Day 1

Supplies: Flip chart/Big Post-it notes; YouTube video, “To Be a Refugee” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LpwqK3B2ac8; Paper and pencils for all students

1. Silent reading/reflection/journaling. (15 minutes)

2. Ground Rules: Each classroom is to develop a set of ground rules to be respected by all members regarding behavior expectations. Leader will write these expectations on a flip chart page to be displayed for the duration of the week. (5 minutes)

3. Discussion 1:

a. Start by reading the following out loud: “The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees defines a refugee as ‘a person seeking refuge in a foreign country because of war and violence, or out of fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. Until request for refuge has been established, the person is referred to as an asylum seeker. Determination of status is left to government agencies within the host countries with refugee camps.’”
b. Ask the students to describe the difference between an immigrant and a refugee.
c. Record their answers on the flip chart. Help to drive the conversation, if necessary. (5 minutes)

4. Ask the students to pull out paper and pencil. Explain they will be watching a short video provided by The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Ask them to write down things they see, hear, and think pertaining to what they are watching as the video is playing. There are no wrong answers. (2 minutes)

5. Play video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LpwqK3B2ac8). (10 minutes)

6. Discussion 2:

a. Ask students to share the key points that they wrote down and explain why each point stuck out to them. Record their answers on a separate flip chart page.
b. Ask students how their perspective/definition of refugee has changed. Record their answers on a third flip chart page.

7. Label each flip chart page with “Definition,” “Observations,” and “Change of Mind” on the appropriate page along with your room number. (10 minutes)

Days 2-4

Supplies: Flip chart/ Post-it; Wall-sized world map; Arrow Post-its/Place markers; Paper and pencils; Tape; 10 different colors of yarn; Computers (provided daily); Paper colors coordinating with yarn

1. Have students identify the countries on the map that the following individuals from the book originally came from:

a. Luma Mufleh: Jordan
b. Shahir: Afghanistan
c. Eldin Subasic: Bosnia
d. *Bienvenue Ntwari: Burundi
e. Grace Belagamire: Democratic Republic of Congo
f. Natnael: Ethiopia
g. Mafowday Jawneh: Gambia
h. Muhammed Muhammed: Iraqi Kurd
i. *Shamsoun Dikori: Kosovo [a very small country north of Macedonia, difficult to see on the map]
j. Quindrem Bushi: Kosovo
k. Fornatee Tarpeh, Prince Jeremiah, *Kanue Biah, *Mandela Ziaty: Liberia
l. Santino Jerke: Sudan

2. Divide students into small groups. Assign each group a person from the book. Use only the starred (*) names.

3. Have students identify the migration path of the families of their assigned person.

a. Students discuss and write down path with their group.
b. Using computers, have students identify where each place is in the world.
c. Have students identify where each place is on the map and place coordinating colored arrow place markers.
d. Using string and tape, have students connect their assigned person’s journey from start to finish on the map provided.

4. Have students research what was happening in their assigned person’s home country that forced them to become refugees.

a. http://www.infohio.org

i. Click on Grades 9-12.
ii. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and select World Book Encyclopedia.
iii. Type in name of country (check for spelling).
iv. Read and note pertinent information.

b. History Behind the Headlines

i. Go to the student portal.
ii. Click on Reference Apps.
iii. Click on Secondary Libraries.
iv. Click on North High School.
v. Click on History Behind the Headlines.
vi. Select the appropriate country conflict from the Table of Contents.
vii. Read and note pertinent information.

5. Share what they have learned.

6. Have students write a letter to the editor as the person they are assigned to. Include the following:

a. Who they are.
b. Where they came from.
c. Living conditions of their home country.
d. What they would like the editor/reader to know about them as a person/people.
e. More, as they feel inspired.

7. After composing the letter, have students type it on Google Docs and share with Miss Rondinella (cer46604@apslearns.org) / your contact person (with email).

8. Remind students not to delete their work from Google Docs.

This should take all three days. If they finish early and it has been a meaningful contribution, not just a get-it-done assignment, then please use the following extension.


1. Have students research their first family member who arrived in the United States.

a. Students may need to talk with family members for recent immigration.
b. For immigration more than 70 years ago, have students use ancestry.com.

i. Use http://www.infohio.org
ii. Click on Grades 9-12.
iii. At the top of the page, select Ancestry.com.
iv. Type in family member names (Last name, first name).
v. Read and note pertinent information.

2. Have students determine which country their ancestors came from.

3. Have students research the political climate of that country during that time.

4. Have students determine what were some of the potential reasons for their family moving at that time.

5. If students are not able to trace their history, have them choose a famous, historical individual that may represent their ancestors.

Week 2, Day 6-10

Supplies: Iceberg poster; Iceberg puzzle pieces; Peace Corps worksheet; 5-6 pictures of people from around the world placed on charts; Post-it notes, average size; Glue; 8.5×11 colored paper; 11×17 white paper; “I Am” fill-in-the`blank worksheet; Blue iceberg handout

Part 1: Stereotyping

1. Divide class into groups of 3-4.

2. Give each group one of the pictures of a person from around the world.

3. Using the picture they were given, have each group discuss and create a chart in response to the following questions:

a. Where does your person live?
b. What is his/her ethnicity?
c. What is his/her educational level?
d. What does he/she like to do?
e. What are his/her special interests?
f. What type of food does he/she eat?
g. How does he/she practice his/her faith?
h. What kind of music does he/she like?
i. What is his/her family life like?
j. What is his/her occupation, if any?

4. Have students post charts on the wall.

5. Have each group of students walk around the room, observing the charts and placing sticky notes on any information they disagree with or would like to change.

6. Facilitate a class discussion on the choices and changes that were made.

a. What made them select a certain characteristic over others?
b. What were some of the changes made and why?
c. What assumptions were made about the identity of these individuals based on media or stereotypical images?
d. You may add to these questions.

Part 2: Features of Culture

1. Write the following statements on the board/flipchart:

a. No one is exactly like me.
b. I have many things in common with the members of my family and community.
c. Every person in the world needs some of the same things I need.

2. Ask students to share ideas that support these statements.

3. Point out that people in various groups often look at people in other groups as “different.”

4. Ask students to describe some of these differences. Why may people in one group behave differently from people in another?

5. Explain that many differences are related to culture—ways of living and beliefs that are handed down from one generation to the next. Working from the list on the board, explain that all people share basic needs (food, shelter, etc.), that each of us learns a set of behaviors and beliefs from the people we grow up with (the kinds of houses we build and foods we eat), and that each individual has unique talents and preferences (I’m good at math; I don’t like chocolate). When we talk about the behaviors and beliefs that a group of people have in common, we are talking about culture.

6. Ask students to complete the culture worksheet (http://files.peacecorps.gov/uploads/wws/lesson-plans/files/looking.everyone.a.pdf) in order to help them identify aspects of their own cultures. Explain that each student should answer each question with one sentence or phrase. Then, students should rank each item as to how important they feel it is to their culture.

7. After students have completed the worksheets, ask them to share their answers in small groups. Ask the groups to compare various aspects of their individual cultures.

8. Students may share many cultural traits. Some students may not identify with a particular ethnic or foreign culture. Ask students if they think there is one American culture. Discuss characteristics of your region (immigration patterns, geographic location, etc.) that might explain the similarities and differences among student responses to the worksheet.


1. Use the following questions to focus the discussion on the role culture plays in forming our behaviors and beliefs.

a. How does it feel to know you are part of a cultural group that shares many ideas and beliefs?
b. What happened when you compared your worksheets? How many different cultures are represented in the class?
c. What did you learn from this activity?

i. Does culture explain why other people sometimes seem “different?”
ii. What are some things that you do that you learned from your culture?
iii. Are all of our behaviors related to culture? (Possible answer: Some behaviors are related to individual preferences and personality traits.)

d. What can you do to learn about and understand other cultures?

e. What if you were part of another culture? How might you be different from the way you are now?

f. How can we use what we learned in this lesson to improve our community?

Part 3: Cultural Iceberg

1. Introduce the concept of the cultural iceberg to students. Explain that, like an iceberg, nine-tenths of culture is below the surface.


a. Traits above the waterline = Surface Culture (Most easily seen/Emotional level—low)
b. Just below the waterline = Shallow Culture (Unspoken rules/Emotional level—high)
c. Far below the waterline = Deep Culture (Unconscious rules/Emotional level—intense)

2. Give students the included slips of paper with the different types of cultural descriptions.

3. Have students work together to sort where each descriptor falls on the iceberg.

4. Have students tape the descriptors to the appropriate place on the big iceberg. Use the following chart as a key:

Part 4: 2D Identity Box

1. Students are to create a 2D Identity Box.

a. Provide each student with one large and one small piece of paper of different colors.
b. Have students glue the small piece of paper in the center of the large piece of paper, leaving an equal border around all sides.
c. Have students describe their own identities using pictures, drawings, words. Do not include their names.

i. Descriptors that would appear on the top of the cultural iceberg are to be written on the outside border of the paper. These should represent how they feel they are viewed by others. May include:

1. clothing.
2. ethnicity.
3. language.
4. education.
5. social status.
6. group memberships.
7. etc.

ii. Descriptors that would appear on the bottom of the cultural iceberg are to be written on the inside of the small box. These should represent how they view themselves on the inside. Remind them to go beneath the surface. May include:

1. culturally.
2. religiously.
3. ethnically.
4. nationally.
5. socially.
6. much, much, more.

d. Make sure that students do not share what they are writing about themselves with the others around them.

2. After students are finished, collect the identity boxes and shuffle them up so no one knows who each one belongs to.

3. Teachers will hang the individual boxes around the room.

4. Students will walk around the room, viewing each box.

5. Using a Post-it note, they will write down the name of the person who they think it belongs to and place it on/around the identity box.

6. After students are finished, have each student claim their identity box.

7. What did the students learn from this activity? General and individual.

Part 5: I Am Poems

1. Students will be writing “I Am” poems.

2. Give students the fill-in-the-blank worksheet with the following information:

a. I am (two characteristics about yourself from inside of identity box).
b. I wonder (something you are actually curious about).
c. I hear (an imaginary sound).
d. I see (an imaginary sight).
e. I want (an actual desire).
f. I am (the first line repeated).
g. I pretend (something that you actually pretend to do).
h. I feel (a feeling about something).
i. I touch (an imaginary touch).
j. I worry (something you actually worry about).
k. I cry (something that makes you sad).
l. I am (the first line repeated).
m. I understand (something you know is true).
n. I say (something you believe in).
o. I dream (something you actually dream about).
p. I try (something you make an effort toward).
q. I hope (something you actually hope for).
r. I am (the first line again).

3. After students have completed their poems have them transpose the final draft on the included iceberg handouts.

4. Have students share with their classmates.

Wrap Up

1. Review the pictures from the beginning and have students reflect on how their perceptions of culture have changed.


2. Have students discuss what they learned about their own or classmates’ identities of which they were previously unaware.
On the last day of the presentation, students took a digital survey that asked how their opinions and interactions had changed since the beginning of the One Book, One Community project.


American Library Association. “One Book, One Community.” http://www.ala.org/programming/onebook

_____. “One Book, One Community: Planning Your Community-Wide Read.” http://www.ala.org/programming/sites/ala.org.programming/files/content/onebook/files/onebookguide.pdf

Outcasts United. http://www.outcastsunited.com/

rondinella-headshotCassandra Rondinella, MLIS, has worked in libraries in many different capacities for the past fifteen years, with the last seven spent in school libraries. She is entering her third year as the library media specialist for North High School in Akron, Ohio. Her work has been recognized in VOYA magazine and she has presented at many different conferences on young adult public library programming, digital literacy, 21st-century learning in the classroom, and teacher/librarian collaboration.


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