Editor’s Note: Morgan Park Academy’s global curriculum culminates each March with a school-wide week of global explorations, including a host of cultural and service activities in fifth grade.

Global Week is always a favorite for our fifth-grade students, and this week did not disappoint! Our week was filled with delicious food, global excursions within our city, and giving to those in need.

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Monday
We spent the day in Chinatown learning about Chinese culture and traditions, finding along the way many themes and characters from the novel Where the Mountain Meets in the Moon. We decorated kites, ate lunch at Lao Sze Chuan, and practiced using chopsticks. No trip to Chinatown would be complete without a little shopping.

Tuesday
We headed to HI-Chicago (Hostelling International). Students participated in a program called Culture Quest. Students learned more about what ‘culture’ means and discovered more about their own cultures. Students met in small groups to share values and customs with their peers. They found many similarities, but also discovered some differences. They worked together in groups to make lunch. On the menu was pasta, sauce, salad, garlic bread, and brownies. Another highlight of the day was playing pool and ping pong in the common area of the hostel.

Wednesday
We went to the Mecca Center in Willowbrook. We met with Sheikh Tareq, who taught us more about the religion of Islam and gave us a tour of the center. The adults were so pleased to witness the connections that the students made to our learning from reading I Am Malala, but many of the students were impressed that the gym and lounge located in the Center. The fifth graders ran off steam by playing basketball or soccer and then enjoyed snacks in the lounge. We all learned an immense amount. Many thanks to Danya and Malek for sharing some of the attributes of their religion and to the Hasan family for helping organize such an educational day.

When we returned to MPA, we enjoyed lunch from SemSem Mediterranean restaurant. We ended our day by watching a collection of international children films. One of the films, One Small Step, was recent an Academy Award nominee.

Thursday
We went on a bus tour of Chicago neighborhoods steeped in various cultures. We visited Pilsen, Chinatown, Bronzeville, Bridgeport, Hyde Park, and the Loop. The students all loved the “fancy” bus with leather seats that could recline. They also learned more about the history of our city and the diverse groups of people that make up the Second City!

We had lunch delivered from Nando’s Peri Peri chicken. It was delicious and the favorite meal of the week. After lunch, students finished their clay pots that they made in art class during the week. Both classes designed beautiful and unique pieces.

Friday
We joined the fourth grade in volunteering at Feed My Starving Children in Aurora. Students assembled Manna packets and learned the impact that their time and donations had on children in Honduras and the Dominican Republic.

After a lengthy bus ride back to school, we enjoyed pizza from Rosangela’s. Students reflected on the week before heading home. Many shared that it was their favorite week of the year!

>> SEE MORE PHOTOS: FIFTH GRADE GLOBAL WEEK

>> READ MORE ABOUT GLOBAL WEEK 2019