We recently participated in the Worldwide Culture Swap, where families (or schools) exchange cultural packages and learn about another culture. The letter and package was so thoughtful, I though I would share it with you here. Emma’s mom is the founder of Be Bilingual and has written a fabulous practical guide for multilingual families.
Opening our letter and packages from Finland!
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
I was recently interviewed at Teacher Certification Degrees! Here’s an excerpt:
“We recently had the opportunity to interview Becky Morales, a Texas ESL Teacher Trainer who founded the nonprofit organization, Kid World Citizen. Becky attended the University of Illinois, where she earned a BA degree in Spanish Education, as well as a MA degree in Teaching ESL, with a concentration in Cross-Cultural Communication. Becky also earned a MA in School Counseling at Roosevelt University. She is an eight-year veteran of the classroom. Becky previously taught at the high school and college levels. In between volunteering at local schools, conducting diversity trainings, and leading her local elementary school’s International Club, Becky is writing a book that will serve as a toolkit for elementary schools seeking to globalize their lessons.
You established a nonprofit, Kid World Citizen, which aims to provide educators and parents with activities that will help children’s minds “go global.” Can you tell us more about why you started this organization, and also your philosophy for getting young learners interested in the world around them?
My family is very multicultural, with my husband from Mexico City, two biological daughters, a son from China and a son from Ethiopia. I am very interested in geography and learning about other cultures myself, and my husband and I are trying to raise our children to be responsible, compassionate world citizens. I began sharing the activities I have used with my kids and in the classroom, to expand global awareness. I believe that if we raise kids to understand other perspectives, they will grow up to be empathetic adults who can respond to global issues successfully.”
Read more here.
Have you ever wondered how to host an exchange student? Here are some wonderful programs available that allow families to host a student from another country for 2 weeks to an academic year! By opening your homes, not only do you share your knowledge about your own country, traditions, food, celebrations- you also get to learn about another culture and language firsthand. Continue reading
I had a fascinating interview with Charlotte Stroumza, Safe Spaces Project Coordinator for Girl Forward, an amazing non-profit organization in Chicago that provides adolescent refugee girls with individual mentorship, educational programs, and leadership opportunities.
Becky: When did you first become interested in international issues? How important is it for our youth to learn about the world outside of their local community?
As far as I can remember, I have always been interested in discovering new cultures and considered what affects other countries as important as what affects my home country. Continue reading
“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
Learn about Japanese haiku, read about Bosho- the master of haiku, write your own, and even enter an international haiku contest!
Photo: Public Domain
When Matsuo Bashō (1644–1694) was a child in Japan, he fell in love with a type of poetry that began with a verse of 5-7-5 syllables. He traveled his homeland island writing short poems about his experiences of his travels. Centuries later, when this stanza was presented to stand-alone, it was named the haiku 俳句. Basho’s incredibly rich anthologies of his poems have made him one of the most beloved poets in the history of Japan. Teach your children about Basho with the following books and resources, and then write a haiku together- all while learning a bit about Japanese culture! Continue reading
Photo credit: Agência Brasil 2006, Creative Commons Use.
Wangari Maathai (1 April 1940 – 25 September 2011) grew up in the green highlands of Kenyan. When she returned from studying college in the US she discovered that her lush homeland was being destroyed by deforestation which caused water and food shortages, malnutrition, and disappearing wildlife. She began to educate others to care for the land and re-plant the forests and they called her Mama Miti, “Mother of Trees.” Ms Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement, which empowered woman around Kenya to help take back their land, planting tree by tree.
For her compassion and efforts she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004. She was the first African woman and environmentalist to win a Nobel Peace Prize. Here are resources you can use to teach your children about this inspirational, remarkable woman, and her plight to save her country’s landscape. She shows us that one person truly can save the world! Continue reading
My daughter was born an animal-lover. She’s the kind of kid that saves tadpoles from drying up puddles (thousands right now in buckets in my backyard). The type that questions zookeepers why the social lemur was alone in a cage (he had gotten in a fight with his “wife” and had his tail bitten off). She was the one that protected a mother duck’s nest from kids at the park for hours while her friends played.
In a recent school project that involved reading nonfiction books, she requested books on animals or famous animal scientists. With Earth Day coming up, I immediately thought of Jane Goodall: a beautiful role model for animal lovers and kid who want to protect our Earth.
Photo credit: Jeekc, taken in Hong Kong on 24 October 2004. Creative Commons.
Pallas escort the Incan King (photo: Doris Loayza)
Fiestas Patronales: the colorful folkloric dances of the Peruvian Andes are captivating, with unique, resplendent costumes, masks, and accessories and energetic music that keeps time for the vigorous dancers. I recently spoke with Doris Loayza, a community psychologist and multicultural arts educator originally from Llamellín, Ancash in the Peruvian Andes. She has lived in New York City since 2007, where she gives presentations for children on Peruvian arts and culture, and serves on the Quechua Outreach Committee for the Center for Latin American Studies at NYU. Read/hear more from Doris — in English, Spanish and Quechua. Here is an abridged essay written by Doris, and originally published in Peru Times about her life-long dream to be one of the Pallas dancers in Las Fiestas Patronales: Continue reading
“Deep in the rainforest of Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, in the shadow of his ancestors’ great stone pyramids, one of the last Mayan beekeepers guards an ancient secret. It was passed on to him directly from his fathers in the Mayan language from long before the time of Cortez. He is one of very few modern Maya upholding the beecraft skills of keeping stingless bees. All is unveiled as Emmy award-winning cinematographer Keith Brust (Planet Earth, etc.) takes us deep inside the bees’ hidden world and this ages old Mayan tradition for the first time.”
Check out this short film (~7 minutes) that shows Mayan, stingless bees up close and in their fascinating roles as guards and pollen gatherers. A feature-length documentary should be released in 2013:
Imagine you are teaching French, and you’d like your students to speak with kids their age who live in Paris. Or, you’re a science teacher doing a weather unit with your 3rd graders and you’d like to share your local weather with other 3rd graders. What if you’re a social studies teacher in India, and you have a great lesson about population growth that you’re excited to share with kids on the other side of the globe?
According to the Common Core State Standards, an compilation of skills and knowledge for academic success, students should be investigating the world, recognizing different perspectives, communicating ideas and taking action. Interviewing students from around the world and presenting projects to classrooms worldwide are two phenomenal examples of achieving these goals. How can teachers provide these international experiences? With the growth of the internet around the world, and developments in videoconferencing, it is now possible for educators to search a global directory of classes by student age range, language and subject- all through “Skype in the Classroom.“
There are over 20,000 teachers registered on the site, ready to connect with other schools around the world. The possibilities are endless for teachers with a little creativity, enthusiasm for bringing technology into the classroom, and a passion for global education. Here’s how to get started: Continue reading
Because we all share this planet earth, we have to learn to live in harmony and peace with each other and with nature. This is not just a dream, but a necessity.- The Dalai Lama
With so much violence in the world today, it is our duty as parents and teachers to teach our children about compassion, showing them kindness and respect, and giving them examples and role models to follow. Studying great leaders who embody peace helps kids to make better decisions and learn from others wisdom as well as from their mistakes.
The Buddhist religion was founded in India over 2500 years ago, and is currently practiced by over 500 million people all over the world. The countries with the largest number of Buddhists are: China (especially Tibet), Thailand, Japan, Burma, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Viet Nam, India, South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, Laos, and Nepal among others. Every country has different ways to worship, but the universal goal of Buddhism is to achieve a state of enlightenment- freedom from suffering- through acts of compassion on all living things.
The Dalai Lama: Peacemaker from Tibet, a biography by Chris Gibb.
The Dalai Lama is the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people, though Buddhist around the world follow his teachings of non-violence and kindness.
Dalai is translated from Mongolian as “ocean” and lama in Tibetan Buddhism is “perfect teacher.” In fact lama refers to a religious master, specifically a Tibetan or Mongolian Buddhist monk. Continue reading
Posted in Around the World, Asia, China, India, Japan, Literature, Malaysia, Nepal, People, Thailand, Tibet
Tagged biography, buddhism, education, famous person, multicultural
When my kids were 3 and 4, we began talking about race with our kids, especially when they noticed differences:
Vivi (age 3): “Mommy, Ana Maria has brown skin.”
Me: “Yes, she does. Who else do you know who has brown skin?”
V: “Um…. Olivia?”
Me: “Yep. How about in our family?”
(Thinking really hard, she can’t come up with anybody).
Me: “What about Tonito? Or your tíos?” [referring to her brother (China), and aunts and uncles (Mexico and Peru)].
V, after deliberating in her head and trying to picture them and imagine their faces, a light bulb goes off and she is excited at the realization: “Yes!”
From this day on, Vivi began to talk about skin color. We had celebrated our cultural heritage, but hadn’t made a point to talk specifically about the beautiful rainbow array of skin colors surrounding us. Her favorite question “why?” was the impetus of our quest to discover the reasons of skin color. This was my attempt to explain to a 3 year old that our physical traits existed because of our ancestral background– without getting in over her head about the human migration out of Africa, dominant and recessive genes, melanin, natural selection, etc: Continue reading
Making a conscious decision to invite multicultural visitors into your class is one way to increase tolerance and respect. In a recent huffingtonpost.com article, Matthew Lynch, EdD (Assistant Professor of Education at Widener University) discussed ways culturally responsive educators are “Promoting Respect for Cultural Diversity in the Classroom.” Mr. Lynch explains that teachers need to counteract the natural hesitation towards all that is different, and encourage students to cherish differences in viewpoint and culture rather than fearing or judging others.
I recommend that teachers read the entire article to learn about many useful activities and approaches that increase cultural awareness. One practical and effective activity is to invite multicultural speakers (of a variety of cultural backgrounds) to speak to your classes about their area of expertise: Continue reading