About Us
What is Orillas?
Our Philosophy
Past Projects

Current Group Projects
Math in Our Lives
Other Group Projects
Link to IEARN-Orillas

Getting Started
Tips for Getting Started
Project Planning

Sister Class Partnerships
Culture Packages
Sister Class Activities

For More Information

De Orilla a Orilla
c/o Kristin Brown

847 Arden Dr.
Encinitas, CA 92024
530/475-0410 (ph/fax)


Enid Figueroa, Kristin Brown, and
Dennis Sayers, Co-Founders

Reinaldo Rivera, Technical Support




Creating a Class Self-Portrait

Before engaging in a curriculum project between two classes, teachers usually find it helpful to exchange what have come to be known as "discovery packages", "group self-portraits" or "culture packages". Whatever name is chosen, the function of the package is to break the ice and establish a common point of reference between distant classes. Discovery packages may be envelopes or small boxes filled with student autobiographies, maps, photographs, audio and videotapes, and other carefully selected articles from the school and the community such as postcards, school newspapers, and student artwork.

Many classes find this activity so valuable that a series of packages are exchanged throughout the year, each time exploring more fully with students the provocative question, "What is culture?" and then, "What are the cultures represented in our class and community?" and "How might we represent our cultures to another group?" Critical
educators emphasize that "one of the goals of multicultural education is to show that culture is not a collection of "quaint customs" but actually a system of strategies for living" (Menkart, p. 11). Teachers can encourage students to identify metaphors and symbols to include that represent the values, ways of knowing, and social relationships that have helped members of their culture survive and thrive. The least interesting packages are random collections of artifacts; the most interesting are carefully composed collections of symbols that reveal values and relationships within the community.