Ms. Rae and Ms. Barnes enhance students’ reading comprehension and analytical skills by incorporating a unit on Russian culture into the curriculum. Students read literature by Russian authors, such as Anton Checkov and Alexander Solzhenitsyn. After reading Russian fairy tales, students compare them to American fairy tales and write fairy tales of their own. Students then research a Russian poet, present a poem and an interpretation to their classmates. They then select their favorite lines of poetry and display them on t-shirts worn on showcase night. In addition to literature, students learn about Russian ecological issues such as the Chernobyl power plant meltdown of 1986 and study the effects of pollutants on the ecosystem. Students explore other aspects of Russian culture as well, such as language, holidays, food, geography, and politics.