A belated holiday present - Vietnamese students send greetings

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Central student Haley Frieden puts the final touches on a holiday card she completed before the winter break. Local students sent cards to schools in Ohio, Spain and Vietnam.

By Pam Reinig

Register Editor

When Central 7th graders returned to the classroom after the winter break, they found a belated Christmas greeting waiting from them. The students had received a stack of holiday cards from a group of Vietnamese students. The greetings were sent in response to cards the Central group sent to halfway around the world in mid-December.

The card exchange was part of a holiday greetings project launched after Central English teacher Amy Bergan was invited by an online educators’ resource group to participate in the exchange. 

“The premise was to have students create and write holiday cards, and send them to three different schools,” Amy said. “I decided to do it as an English classroom activity, and I talked to Derek about possibly including social studies in the plan.”

Derek is Derek Bergan, Central’s social students instructor. He was already teaching a unit on Vietnam when Amy approached him. By that time, she had received special assignments for the exchange project—a school in Ohio, another in Spain and, coincidentally, one in“We learned about their religion, culture, government and so on,” said Derek, adding that creating holiday cards for Vietnamese students seemed a natural extension of the work his students had already done.

Collaboration across the curriculum is an important aspect of the Central teaching philosophy. So, in addition to involving Derek in the project, Amy invited art teacher Heather Meyers to participate. The plan was for Heather to teach a design style while Amy focused on content. 

“After a few discussions, we decided on a print-making technique,” Amy said. “When the time came for students to make the cards, the 7th graders went to the art room during English class and the print-making technique was taught to them by high school art students who did a great job presenting information, demonstrating the technique and answering questions. The prints the kids made were then used as the cover design for the cards they wrote in English class.”

A goal of the exchange was to learn about the holiday traditions of other places and cultures. The Central students included letters with their cards that detailed their Christmas traditions and foods.

“We had a Skype session with the school in Ohio,” Amy continued. “With the time differences, we weren’t able to Skype with the schools in Spain and Vietnam. Instead, I had a group of students develop a slide show of sorts about Central that we shared with the other schools. We received some slides from Vietnam. And Central has a foreign exchange student from Spain and another goal is to set up a time for her to come into our classroom and tell us about her country.”

Amy hopes the project will lead to continued correspondence between the schools. Several of her students included their email addresses in their holiday cards with the hope that the recipients in Ohio, Spain and Vietnam will keep writing to them.

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