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Russia and East Europe

Produced by Judy Zaidner, 1994

As a seventh grade teacher of English and Social Studies, I will integrate the information learned from the UCLA summer institute by relating lessons on Russia and Eastern Europe to current events in the area, as they develop.

It is also important to expose my students to the number of differing ethnicities and the varied multicultural background of the areas. At this point, the students will then be able to draw educated comparisons of the ethnic problems of Russia and Eastern Europe to the ethnic problems they have been exposed to in California.

General Objectives

  1. The student will be able to define and clarify problems.
  2. The student will be able to formulate appropriate questions, leading to a deeper understanding of current events.
  3. The student will be able to distinguish among fact, opinion, and reasoned judgment.
  4. The student will be able to solve problems and draw conclusions.
  5. The student will be able to read and interpret maps, charts, and tables.

Major Goals of Multicultural Education

  1. The students will develop a multicultural perspective that respects the dignity and worth of all people.
  2. The students will use a multicultural perspective to reflect on the experiences of different racial, religious, and ethnic groups.
  3. The students will develop an understanding of different cultures and ways of life.


Day 1:

Take the students to the library to work in small groups with a variety of reference materials, including atlases. Using hand-outs 1 and 2, the student will label a map of the countries of the former Soviet Socialist Republics, as well as the geographic regions and the physical features.

Homework: Make an alphabetic listing of the countries with the correct spellings and discover the correct pronunciation, if possible.

Day 2:

After a discussion of the map from day 1 , the children will receive hand-out 4. It will be pointed out again that these are now countries and not Soviet Socialist Republics (SSR). Data will be read and interpreted by students, especially data on ethnicities.

Children will work in groups to discover answers to questions on hand-out 3.

Homework: Finish work on hand-outs 3 and 4.

Day 3:

Introduce the class to countries in Eastern Europe by reading and interpreting the map which is hand-out 6. This map concentrates on the various ethnicities and the total disregard for national borders, as seen in the newly-created countries of the former USSR.

The students will work in small groups to answer questions on hand-out 5, They are to also make up ten questions relating to hand-out 6.

Day 4:

The students will discuss answers for hand-out 5 and ask one another their own questions. We will begin to make comparisons of problems in other countries to problems in our own area. Hand-out 7 will be distributed and the poem read aloud and discussed. Children will be asked to select a group of people and do research to find out more about these people. Trips to our school library as well as West Valley Regional Library will be necessary. Interviews with fellow students, as well as relatives will be encouraged. Another source of information may be ethnic groups of students at CSUN and UCLA.

Additional Lessons:

  • Using copies of the packet of Socio-Economic Characteristics of Countries in Central and East Europe, the students will work together to discover interesting information about the area and share it with one another.
  • Possibly to correlate with reports on ethnicities, we will focus on countries and use the different Culture-grams to learn about the differences in life-styles and cultural practices.
  • Work on lesson about identity, using hand-outs 9 and 10. The fact sheet re-emphasizes information previously discovered and helps the students relate it to themselves.

Follow-up Activities/Evaluation:

  • Have the children share the information learned about the ethnic group of their choice.
  • Test the children by letting them come up with a list of countries without any maps or papers.
  • Play a game where the children go around the room saying an ethnicity, different from the one mentioned before but including all the ones previously mentioned. (memory game)
  • Give the children hand-out 8, as a written test. Everyone should try to do it without maps and papers. It will be necessary to give it twice.

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