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 →
"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 →