LMS Fifth Graders Get Insight into Other Cultures on ‘Heritage Day’

February 24, 2017


by Len Lathrop

How about starting your Friday with a band concert, and, not just any concert, but a band sharing Andean folk music from Bolivia with you and the whole fifth grade of your school?  You and about 115 classmates listen to this group of men wearing blankets, playing some very different-looking instruments, other than the one with a guitar.

The band’s name was Manases and, besides playing for the audience, they told the students about their instruments, a small Andean-stringed instrument of the Lute family called a Charango.  They displayed a family of bamboo tubes called siku or panpipe, which came in many different sizes, and the musicians also showed the class a quena, which is a flute-like instrument.

As the concert finished, the class was able to ask questions.  The students learned that the band had been together for about 25 years and they all were self-taught.  The band leader explained where Bolivia was following a student’s question.  “Bolivia is a country in South America, bordered by Brazil to the north and east, Paraguay and Argentina to the south, Chile to the west, and Peru to the west.”

The day included high school exchange students from South Korea, part of the Korea Wales Christian School, sharing stories about their culture.  In one Litchfield fifth grade classroom across the hall, the students were shown many Korean words and how to pronounce them, while other Korean students learned about food and ways of life.

LMS students shared stories about heritage, food tasting, and musical games.  In another classroom, student Talia Burgous-Noble told her classmates about her grandparents who had come from Puerto Rico.

Meanwhile, in the family consumer science, room students were learning about how to use chopsticks.

Guidance Counselor Lynne Ellis was the mastermind behind the whole thing!  The report from other teachers was “the fifth graders loved it – they thought it was really interesting and fun to learn about all those different cultures!”