This winter-themed lesson plan, which incorporates the book *Tree of Cranes* by Allen Say, teaches students about Japanese traditions and customs. They will review the basic elements of a narrative story, and then write their own narratives about a special event or moment in their life.
Students will be able to explain their own family traditions.
Students will be able to explain Japanese traditions from the story.
Students will be able to write their own narrative using the story for inspiration.
Bring the students together in a comfortable space. Write the word celebration on the whiteboard. Ask your students, "What is a celebration? Turn and talk to a partner and talk about some things you celebrate in your family."
Provide students with a few minutes to discuss their ideas. Call on student volunteers and ask them to share their ideas with the class.
Explain to the students that a celebration is a social activity where people get together with others to show their praise or appreciation for something. A celebration is often enjoyable and fun.
Write down some celebrations that the students shared on the whiteboard. Discuss how everyone, depending on their culture, celebrates different things. Explain that someone's culture is the collective set of rules and behaviors we see as normal in our families or communities.
Deepen student understanding by explaining to them that our traditions, or the customs or beliefs we hold as a family, include the ways that we celebrate or show appreciation for important events in our lives.