You are Invited to a Virtual Dinner

Students create three-dimensional place settings and site their feast in the school library. Their sculpted dinners reflect the school's diversity. Young artists include family, community members, and seniors in their virtual dinner that celebrates their Community Service Learning. Recalling Judy Chicago's Dinner Party and Alice's Mad Hatter Tea Party, the event becomes a multi-generational conversation about food, glorious food - the ultimate cultural conveyer.

For more about Special #2 from Community Portrait in Pictures and Words, e-mail Alex Lambros Pappas, author and AT&T Teacher Disseminator.
Learning Standards
  • Employ the arts and technology to complete and enhance work.
  • Employ effective research and make effective presentations.
  • Understand and use the writing process effectively.
  • Learn to respect and value diverse cultures and recognize the diversity of human experience.
  • Classroom Activities
    1. View reproductions of paintings about
    2. Use results from an earlier questionnaire
        and list students' countries of origin.
    3. Interview families and research favorite
        meals of listed countries.
    4. Plan a menu and list food and drinks.
    5. Scan magazines and collect food images.
    6. Measure and prepare installation: decorate     fabric for 12"x18" place mats
        and bases.

    7. Construct and decorate cardboard or
        papier maché plates and stemware
        (shortcut: use paper/plastic plates
        and cups).
    8. Glue "food" collage, magazine photos,
        papier maché, clay, fabric and other realia,
        on plates; attach plates to place mats.
    9. On a 4" x 6" card, name and briefly
        describe each meal and its origin. Place
        cards above settings. Install settings on

    10. Add cultural artifacts: flowers,
    Community Activities
    Students exhibit the installation at various community sites and document the universality of breaking bread together in a class journal and an article for the local newspaper.
    Students invite a local artist to discuss art careers. A visit to a local museum leads to discussion on art careers.
    Reproductions of paintings, food catalogues and magazines, recycled material, cloth, art materials for collage
    Students use Microsoft Word to make lists of countries and foods and prepare the news article. They research food on the Internet.
    Three-dimensional place settings are evaluated for cultural authenticity by teacher and community. Research results, the class journal and news article are reviewed for accuracy.

    Web Sites
    Students research ethnic cuisine at