Imagine walking across the vast tundra, and coming across a human-sized stone structure. Inukshuk (plural: inuksuit) means “likeness of a person” in Inuktitut (the Inuit language), and is a pile of (unworked) stones arranged by the Inuit into the shape of a human being. They are sometimes seen as representing the strength and determination of the Inuit people, who live in one of the Earth’s harshest climates and terrains. Continue reading →
What do you know about Cinderella? Perhaps the blonde-haired, blue eyed, Disney princess? Maybe you’ve read the Brothers Grimm version from 1800′s Germany, or even farther back to the late 1600′s with Charles Perrault‘s version. Did you know that Cinderella stories are not limited to a Western European perspective, and in fact appear in more than 500 versions around the world? No one knows the true origin of the famous folktale and its universal theme of good versus evil- but we can enjoy all of the unique twists and learn about cultural values, as we read the diverse stories.
Kid World Citizen is proud to collaborate with some of the best multicultural and educational blogs on the web to present “Cinderella Story Around the World.” While this international project is only a small sampling of the versions of the folktale that are available, we worked together to provide a cross-cultural selection suitable for elementary classrooms. Continue reading →
Today’s guest post comes from Amy Broadmore, the mother of three young children ages seven, five, and two. She spends her time teaching and learning from her children, running, and searching for great picture books. She recommends children’s literature with captivating stories and gorgeous illustrations on her blog Delightful Children’s Books.
I love the ability of good stories to both entertain and teach kids at the same time. Here are ten of my favorite stories set in countries around the world. These are, for the most part, fictional stories. Yet, they introduce kids to real places and real experiences. These stories help kids imagine what it would be like to celebrate Eid in Kuwait, go on a family road trip in Australia, wait for the Biblioburro to arrive in Colombia and more. Continue reading →
I am always on the look-out for films with positive messages, and especially when they give kids insights to another country or culture. The New Zealand film “Whale Rider” tells the story of 12-year old Pai, a Maori girl whose ancestor Paikea was the whale rider. While Pai lives in present day Whangara, New Zealand with her grandparents, Maori tradition maintains that the leadership should only be inherited by males. Koro, her grandfather, is the current chief and is adamant that she cannot lead her people because she is female. Continue reading →
"Jesus is my shepherd" Antigua, Guatemala. Photo credit: Nancy Hoffman.
This week in Guatemala, hundreds of adults and children are staying up all night or waking up early to work on street “alfombras,” in preparation for Holy Week processions.
These special alfombras, the Spanish word for “carpets,” are elaborate street decorations made of colored sawdust, flowers or flower petals, pine needles, sand, rice, or even fruits or vegetables.
Nancy Hoffman of GuatemalanReservations.com, a travel agency specializing in family travel and personalized trips to Guatemala, shared these wonderful photographs with us of the 2012 procession on Palm Sunday in Antigua, Guatemala. All photos are taken by Nancy Hoffman, and have been used with her permission. Enjoy these beautiful images of Antigua, Guatemala! Continue reading →
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:
Make a mola: a fantastic example of folk-art from Panamá! Beautiful Panamá: the tropical and mountainous isthmus with coasts on the Caribbean and Pacific that connects the Americas. Off the northern coast of Panamá, there is a string of idyllic islands (an archipelago) called the San Blas Islands. The Kuna Indians were driven out of Panamá by the Spaniards in the 1500′s, and took their boats to live on these islands. They continue to live there today, hunting, fishing, and maintaining traditions. One of Panama’s best-known handicrafts is the mola, intricate reverse-applique handwork made by the Kuna, and now an important symbol of their culture. The layers of brightly-colored fabric form animals or geometric shapes, and are used to decorate the blouses of Kuna women. In fact, the most outstanding designs take hours of complex sewing to complete and is a source of status, and a display of artistic expression and ethnic identity. In the following intricate craft, your kids can make similar designs out of construction paper. Continue reading →
In my ESL class, my students needed to take out simple biographies from the library, do some research on-line, and write a one page report about someone famous that they admire. I had numerous athletes and movie stars, and too many repeats! The following year I decided to give them a list of suggestions from around the world, and I had the class sign up so I wouldn’t be reading the same people regurgitated over and over. The next time your child needs to write about a famous person, broaden their horizons. Rigoberta Menchú, from Guatemala, is a leader, an advocate for Indian rights, and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. I made the following very short presentation as a mini-biography to introduce her.
"When the Shadbush Blooms" by Carla Messinger with Susan Katz tells of contemporary and traditional "sisters" and the cycle of the seasons.
In choosing multicultural literature, there are many great titles, and some pretty awful stories too that perpetuate stereotypes. When choosing books about Native Americans, it is imperative to make sure the story does not depict indigenous characters inaccurately or negatively, nor lump together various tribes and people into a general and indistinct group. There also is a tendency to erroneously teach young children about tipi-living, feather-wearing, tomahawk-carrying “Indians.” Native American people are not static or extinct; in fact they are contributing members to society, with deep-rooted traditions and values that are pertinent to our world today. Here are 5 wonderful children’s books to begin the conversation about American Indians. Continue reading →
Are you looking for an online Thanksgiving activity for kids? What about an activity that is historically accurate, that teaches kids about the different people that lived in the 1600s, and includes primary sources?
At Plimoth Plantation on-line learning activity, kids become historians and use multimedia to discover the origins of Thanksgiving
I have scoured the internet for on-line, age-appropriate learning opportunities about the origins of the US holiday Thanksgiving, and this activity from Plimoth Plantation is the best. Your kids will take the role of a historian, and investigate primary sources (such as the first letter to ever mention a fall feast at Plymouth), historical facts about the Wampanoag people and English colonists (such as their housing, diet, and celebrations), and view their relationship on a timeline from both the American Indians’ and the settlers’ perspectives. Along the way they can hear real historians talk about the investigative process, such as how they might determine if something is authentic or a myth. The culminating activity has your kids typing captions under the graphic they choose and explaining what they learned about Thanksgiving. I loved the images, the voice recordings, the information on the Wampanoag people, and the critical thinking skills this activity entails- definitely two thumbs up!
Do you have any more ideas for activities or web sites that can help kids gain a more accurate perspective about Thanksgiving? Share them in the comments! Also check out the book “1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving.” where Plimoth Plantation historians debunk some of the common myths associated with this historically significant holiday and teaches the readers about the Wapanoag people and the group of English settlers that had survived a year in their new, harsh land in 1621.
Before you begin to teach about the origins of Thanksgiving, have the students make K-W-L charts. Ask them to create three columns on a sheet of paper:
Column 1: What do you Know about the topic?
Column 2: What do you Want to know?
Column 3: What did you Learn?
They can work individually or with partners to fill out the first column, of everything they know about Thanksgiving, its history, the role of the colonists and the American Indians, etc. After discussing as a class, have them work on the second column. Sometimes students have a more difficult time coming up with what they might want to know (and sometimes they think they already know it all, and sometimes they feel they know nothing). It is helpful to ask the wh- questions of “who? what? where? why? when?” and “how?”
On the fourth Thursday in November, the United States celebrates Thanksgiving by sharing a traditional feast with our family and friends. If you are in the United States, you have probably grown up with a story about the Pilgrims and Indians sharing a similar meal of thanksgiving, after a plentiful harvest. While some of the story is drawn from facts, some has been embellished, romanticized, or completely made up. In 2001, a new book was published that explored what actually happened in 17th century Massachusetts that fall. This unique Thanksgiving book for kids sheds light on what happened during this historical time.
Be prepared to throw out your stereotypes of pilgrims dressed in black and white, and American Indians with feathered headdresses and beaded vests. 1621 A New Look at Thanksgiving by Catherine O’Neill Grace, Sisse Brimberg, and Plimoth Plantation debunks some of the common myths associated with this historically significant holiday and teaches the readers about the Wapanoag people and the group of English settlers that had survived a year in their new, harsh land in 1621. Published by the National Geographic Society, the stunning photographs depict life in this 17th century settlement, and the feast that later inspired a national holiday. Continue reading →