“We have kids from Nicaragua, Guam, and Africa in my class…”
“We made masks from China, Peru, and Africa…”
“He is been to England, Africa, and Italy”
I have a pet peeve. It makes my skin crawl when I hear people referring to Africa as a country, instead of an immensely diverse continent. Did you know Africa has well over 2000 languages and innumerable ethnic groups, in its 54 countries!? My goal is to help parents and teachers dispel stereotypes by teaching a variety of stories from different countries in the continent.
One great book that counters stereotypes, “Africa is Not a Country,” gets to the heart of modern Africa: rural and urban families, living contemporary and traditional lives, and children in their homes, with their families, going to school, and playing with their friends. In this activity- which touches on 25 countries in Africa- kids will be locating and coloring countries on the map as they hear them mentioned in the story. Continue reading
Posted in Africa, Algeria, Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Cote D'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Geography, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Literature, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Nigeria, People, Rwanda, Senegal, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Zimbabwe
Tagged fiction children's books, maps
A trip to the Rio Napo, Ecuador in 1996.
Last year, my kids and I studied a different biome each month. When looking at biomes, the world is generally divided into 5 major types: aquatic, deserts, forests, grasslands, and tundra. The plants and animals in each biome have adapted to their environment with special features that help them survive. Under the forests category, it is sub-divided into different types of forests, such as tropical rainforests, temperate forests, and boreal forests. Because I have visited parts of the Amazon as well as Costa Rica, I was excited to share what I had learned and they were really excited to take a closer look. We took a month to read books, watch films, and do some art projects related to tropical rain forests. Here are the resources we used. Continue reading
Posted in Africa, Animals, Around the World, Belize, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Games and Toys, Geography, Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, Indonesia, Madagascar, Panama, The Americas
Tagged biomes, education, educational technology, on-line activities, rainforest, science
Adinkra is a printed or stamped traditional cloth made by the Ashanti people in Ghana, especially in the village of Ntonso. Adinkra (ah-DEENK-rah) symbols have been used in Ghana on clothes, walls, pottery and as logos since the early 1800′s, when King Adinkra was a king from the Ivory Coast. The symbols each had a special meaning, and some have been passed on for over 100 years. Show your children these symbols, and talk to them about the meaning, the history, and techniques before beginning the art project below.
Photo credit: Cynthia Samaké ©, www.btsadventures.com
Image credit: www.ghc-ca.com
I was recently introduced to a genre of music called “Highlife:” popular dance music from Ghana, resulting from a fusion of cultures in West Africa. This music is the perfect background music for your kids, and they’ll start swaying and bopping in their seat as they work.
Sharing world cultures with our children can be as easy as subtly playing world music in the background during snacktime, or as they work on a craft. I have noticed that soft music actually helps kids who are normally easily distracted, by muffling all of the other noises (the pencil sharpener, the garbage truck, whispers, etc) and focusing them on their work. Listening to a wide variety of global music introduces your kids to new rhythms and instruments while they hear new languages. Here is a little of the history of Highlife, along with some excellent selections for your kids. Continue reading