Many schools are celebrating an “International Week” as a way to highlight projects completed throughout the year, celebrate the cultural heritage of their students, and of course to learn about different perspectives from around the world. When I ask schools around the world what their students’ favorite activities were for International Week, the #1 answer always has to do with food. Continue reading →
Being married to a proud mexicano I am often asked what we do to celebrate 5 de mayo (May 5th, the commemoration of the Battle of Puebla, see more here). Honestly, my husband didn’t celebrate it en grande in his 24 years growing up in Mexico- mostly they learned the history of the war, La Guerra de los Pasteles, and once in a while would get a day off of school. But now living in the US (and especially in Texas) we are embracing May 5th as a day to celebrate Latino heritage. This year we made some beautiful amate paintings, watched folkloric dances, and participated in a fun “cinco de mayo” party by making sopes and other goodies. We told the kids this was a festive time for both Mexico and the US to celebrate Mexican culture, and an opportunity for some to learn more about it.
Here are some ideas for you to learn about Mexican culture with your kids, and celebrate el 5 de mayo: Continue reading →
May’s destination for our “Around the World in 12 Dishes” series is Finland! Let’s learn about Finland: a Nordic country, which means “Northern Lands,” and bordered by Sweden, Norway (way in the north), Russia to the east, and the Baltic Sea to the south and west. Finns speak Finnish and learn Swedish in school, and Sami is spoken in the northern, Lapland regions. Finland is covered by majestic, green forests, and almost 200,000 icy blue lakes- a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and winter sport athletes!
Before having kids, my husband and I lived in London for a couple of years and were able to travel quite a bit- we spent a couple of weeks in Helsinki, Finland in December (including the shortest day of the year!). It didn’t matter if it was cold, or dark- Finns of all ages were outside walking around, visiting the Christmas markets, playing in the snow, and sitting at open air cafes. I didn’t own a winter coat at the time, but I put on layers, topped by a windbreaker and reveled in the festive atmosphere. Continue reading →
“Each year, approximately 350,000 people attempt to be smuggled through the U.S.-Mexican border…this is one boy’s journey.” SMUGGLED is a new film that tells the story of a 9 year old boy and his mother, as they are smuggled into the US in an attempt to immigrate to a better life. Though it is based on real stories, it is actually fictional/narrative film and received 5 festival awards and 15 official selections in 2012. Here is the official trailer:
I’ve talked a lot about the benefits of teaching with multicultural literature: it can transport us to another time and place, kids learn universal human emotions and feelings, quality multicultural books help to dispel negative stereotypes while teaching tolerance and respect, characters can encourage pride in kids’ cultural heritage, and in the case of the book I’m reviewing today- Bijoy and the Big River- multicultural books can teach us about kids around the world, especially when paired with extension activities.
To learn more about our environment, start local! Can you identify any trees in your neighborhood? Can your children? In this exercise, kids will do a little research about local trees, and make an identification guide of the trees they find. You might be surprised how quickly kids can learn to identify trees by their leaves, seeds, bark, and overall shape!
I am thrilled to introduce Jenny Buccos, the Series Creator & Director of the multi-award winning ProjectExplorer.org educational series. She began her professional career with Credit Suisse First Boston managing global media projects in Hong Kong, Tokyo, and New York. In 2003, before the existence of YouTube, she founded the online video site ProjectExplorer.org as a means to educate students about global cultures and histories. To date, she has directed/produced more than 400 incredible short films for students.Continue reading →
As Earth Day approaches, our attention is focused on tangible ways to help protect our environment. One easy and virtually free way for kids to go green is to start a backyard compost bin. Composting is a natural way for organic (previously living) materials to break down, into a nutrient-rich soil that we can use in our garden. Did you know that in the US we make about 4.43 pounds of waste per person each day? (see epa.gov) That is 250 million TONS of trash per day! We make too much garbage and 13.4% of the waste produced in the US in 2010 was yard trimmings, 13.9% was food scraps. We could be composting this waste, recycling it, and returning it to the ground!
Here are reasons why it’s important to compost, instructions on how to do so with kitchen scraps, and resources (books, clips, and games!) to learn about composting at home. Continue reading →
Emma Thomas from The Expat Hub shares with us some education options for expat children in families moving abroad.
When you are planning a move overseas the list of things to organise can seem frighteningly long, and when you’re moving abroad as a family there’s even more to consider. One of the first things families intending to emigrate have to consider is what education option would best suit their children, but making the right choice can be tough.
To help make the decision that little bit easier we’ve taken a look at the pros of the three most common overseas-education options: local schools, international schools and homeschooling. Continue reading →
This April, for our “Around the World in 12 Dishes” series, we are traveling to France! We were fortunate to visit France several times when we lived in London, and thoroughly enjoyed the fresh, local ingredients, phenomenal artisan cheese, and the delectable pastries. We decided to incorporate these elements into our evening by doing a French cheese taste test, enjoying a fresh salade nicoise, and finishing with by some coconut macaroons.
Cheese. A visit to France is not complete without tasting some of the gorgeous French cheeses. After the main meal in France, a course of cheese is often served with the salad before the dessert. In fact, even French school lunches often include a cheese course (drool over samples of French lunch menus here). When we were in France, we were told that there are so many types of French cheeses that you could try a different variety every day for a year and not ever repeat. We decided to hold our own French cheese taste test! Continue reading →
Finding similarities and differences when reading fairy tales from around the world hones kids’ critical thinking skills, and helps them to focus on the details. Even the Common Core Standards includes this in one of their “Reading Literature” standards:
Compare and contrast two or more versions of the same story (e.g., Cinderella stories) by different authors or from different cultures (RL.2.9.).
I remember as a child I would be chastised to turn off the light and go to bed, but I would sneak in a flashlight, just to be able to finish the chapter of a thrilling adventure book. Books have the ability to transport us anywhere in the world. Multicultural books help us imagine what it would be like to experience life from a different perspective. Here are 6 reasons to teach our children using multicultural books. Continue reading →