TeachersFirst's China and Cross-Cultural Resources

Other TeachersFirst Special Topics Collections

Every culture tends to focus on its own way of thinking and doing. In order to prepare our students for life, twenty-first century classrooms must foster cross-cultural understanding as a vital aspect of learning in today's global society. This collection of reviewed resources from TeachersFirst is selected to help teachers and students build a better understanding of other cultures, especially China, through related projects and classroom activities. We welcome suggestions of additional free teaching resources for our team to review. Please mention "cross-cultural" in your message.

 

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African Fractals - Ron Eglash

Grades
8 to 12
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This site takes a look at African art and the use of fractals within the art. Ron Eglash is a cultural mathematician studying how cultures and mathematics intersect. An introductory...more
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This site takes a look at African art and the use of fractals within the art. Ron Eglash is a cultural mathematician studying how cultures and mathematics intersect. An introductory TED video gives a wonderful explanation of his background and exploration of cultural uses of mathematics in their architecture and art. Each segment of the written portion of the site contains a short explanation along with diagrams. Also included are interactive applets allowing for exploration of the Koch curve and fractal dimensions. Be sure to check out the other links on the page that explore African art, religions, and futures.

tag(s): africa (180), architecture (84), cross cultural understanding (115), cultures (105), religions (61)

In the Classroom

Make math engaging for students with strong visual/spatial interests. This site would be perfect to explore on interactive whiteboard. Use this site as an introduction to fractals, African art, mathematicians, or forms found in architecture. View the video as a class, and allow students to explore the site on their own, allowing time for experimenting with the included applets.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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My Culture Quest - Museums Sheffield

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3 to 8
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My Culture Quest is an interactive that allows you to explore the world's museums and search for items from different countries. As items are gathered, you answer questions and move...more
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My Culture Quest is an interactive that allows you to explore the world's museums and search for items from different countries. As items are gathered, you answer questions and move to new countries and items. Earn points based on the items gathered - more points are earned by gathering items by themes such as conflict, religion, or celebrations. Upon completion, see your items in an exhibit and a score based on the exhibit's success. Image links are also available.

tag(s): cross cultural understanding (115), cultures (105), map skills (80), museums (49)

In the Classroom

Allow students to try this on the interactive whiteboard or projector. Review geographical locations and continents as students travel to different exhibits. Geographic locations and museum exhibits found here could be used as options for reports on different countries and locations. Create Venn diagrams, comparing and contrasting different cultures to the students' culture. Use an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here).
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art - MetMedia - Metropolitan Museum of Art

Grades
K to 12
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The Metropolitan Museum of Art offers visually rich and powerful interactives to learn about art, artists, and the world around us. The collection of interactives is organized into...more
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The Metropolitan Museum of Art offers visually rich and powerful interactives to learn about art, artists, and the world around us. The collection of interactives is organized into "channels" for different age groups (see the pulldown at right). Built around the world-class collections of the museum, the Met provides interactive activities on many topics, from the Knights of Central Park to Degas. Teachers can also find lesson plans related to the museum's collection by Selecting Educators from the "Learn" menu. In addition to the Interactive media, there are also videos and audio/podcasts to explore. See the KIdsZone audio for family-friendly listening connecting artworks to familiar stories. Free (optional) site membership allows you to collect "favorite" items in MyMet.

tag(s): museums (49)

In the Classroom

Explore by age group or topic. The interactives lend themselves to whole class viewing with a projector, small group use on an interactive whiteboard, or partner exploration on class computers or laptops. Base a hands-on art activity around the interactives for a multicultural tour or discussion about art styles around the world. Create a classroom art gallery of student art in time for Open House. Don't forget to take digital pictures for your "archives" and as examples for another year. Keep them on your class Gallery wiki or have students narrate them as the Met does using a tool such as Thinglink, reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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South American Cultures - Discovery Education

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5 to 9
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At this site you will learn about festivals in South America and create charts and essays based on the research. There is a lesson plan complete with discussion questions, links ...more
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At this site you will learn about festivals in South America and create charts and essays based on the research. There is a lesson plan complete with discussion questions, links (one of which was not working at the time of this review), vocabulary WITH audio, and more. Classes with international students can draw on them for knowledge and cultural object contribution. A video is available for purchase to add to information about South America, but the lesson plan suggestions will work without it.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): cross cultural understanding (115), portuguese (18), south america (39), spanish (108)

In the Classroom

Use this when studying South American countries or at a time when Americans celebrate traditional rites, such as Thanksgiving. This site offers a great opportunity to make your Mexican and other Spanish speaking students feel valued in the classroom. This is an excellent site for research.

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Kids Web Japan - Ministry of Foreign Affairs Japan

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3 to 9
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introduce Japan to school-aged students around the world through this site. It is divided into several different portions for exploring, beginning with Explore Japan which contains...more
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introduce Japan to school-aged students around the world through this site. It is divided into several different portions for exploring, beginning with Explore Japan which contains maps, calendars, and basic facts about Japan. Learn about popular culture in the play portion where information is presented about biggest fads in Japan, virtual culture to try out online, games, and quizzes. Another interesting part of the site is the Explore section to discover different aspects of the country from climate to housing and government. Find out about Japanese schools, cities, and young artists in the Try box that offers information and virtual visits to different areas of the country. This site is viewable in seven different languages.

tag(s): cross cultural understanding (115), japan (61), virtual field trips (48)

In the Classroom

Introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard and allow students to explore on their own or in pairs. Assign different portions of the site to groups of students to create multimedia presentations for the class. Use the site to create Venn Diagrams to compare and contrast life in Japan with life in the United States. Take a virtual field trip to Japan by exploring different cities and cultural activities offered on the site. Find a recipe for one of the Japanese foods listed on the site and make it to try in class. Assign cooperative learning groups a specific part of this site to explore. Challenge groups to make a multimedia presentation using one of many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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The World's Favorite Foods - The Guardian - U.K.

Grades
3 to 12
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This interactive map lets you roll the mouse over different countries of the world to see what their favorite foods are. Although not all countries are included, the three items ...more
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This interactive map lets you roll the mouse over different countries of the world to see what their favorite foods are. Although not all countries are included, the three items listed for each country available are interesting. There is a link to a full-text article about the results of the map.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): cross cultural understanding (115), infographics (42), nutrition (154)

In the Classroom

Introduce this map by having your students poll each other on what they think the favorite U.S. foods are. Summarize the poll and then check the map. Share the map on your interactive whiteboard or projector to compare foods from around the world. Or have cooperative learning groups check out the other countries listed. Challenge groups to research countries not already included on this map and create their own "Food Maps" (or another topic) using a mapmaking site such as Mapskip, reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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The South China Morning Post

Grades
9 to 12
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On line site for one of China's prominent newspapers ...more
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On line site for one of China's prominent newspapers

tag(s): china (66), news (261)

In the Classroom

Use this site to explore the differences in perception and media tilt between the US and one of China's leading newspapers. Access the "Asia & World" section, sharing it on the interactive whiteboard or projector. Explain the idea of cultural perception and differences before allowing students to access the site on individual computers. Have students open both the SCMP and a popular US paper, pulling up stories on the same issue. Have students create a Venn diagram of the differences in coverage, perceptions and tilt. Use an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here).

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Humanitarian News and Analysis - UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

Grades
8 to 12
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From the United Nations, this site brings news and analysis on current humanitarian efforts in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. As you help students evaluate and sift through the ...more
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From the United Nations, this site brings news and analysis on current humanitarian efforts in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. As you help students evaluate and sift through the huge volume of news content available to you, you can use sites like this to help students focus on specific issues and geographic areas. Much of what is found here will never appear on their Yahoo or Google news feed; that does not diminish its importance. The site allows you to sort content based on themes like education, gender, health, or human rights, or by continent or country.

tag(s): africa (180), asia (73), cross cultural understanding (115), cultures (105), middle east (30), news (261)

In the Classroom

If you focus on current events or on the history or culture of "non-Western" countries, this site should be among your bookmarks or favorites. Encourage students to consider news sources outside of the major US networks or internet based aggregators. Have students or student groups create an online, interactive poster known as a "glog," using GlogsterEDU, reviewed here to demonstrate the topic they researched.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Vistas - Dr. Dana Leibsohn and Dr. Barbara Mundy

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6 to 12
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At this site you will find a wealth of material about the culture of Spanish America. This includes color images, essays, and a glossary. The Spanish American culture thrived from ...more
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At this site you will find a wealth of material about the culture of Spanish America. This includes color images, essays, and a glossary. The Spanish American culture thrived from the 16th century to the early 19th century, and ran from California to Chile. This site can be viewed in English or Spanish. There are DVDs offered with primary documents, more images, etc., but these are not free. This review is for the free internet site only.

tag(s): cross cultural understanding (115), cultures (105), hispanic (18)

In the Classroom

You could share this site with your students on your interactive whiteboard or projector and at the same time create a timeline for the Spanish Americas using a tool such as xtimeline (reviewed here.). What a wonderful resource for higher level students during Hispanic Heritage Month!

There are several themes listed on the site. You might want to put small groups of students in charge of a theme, and have them explore the site for what their theme is all about. Have the small groups use a tool such as Mindmeister (reviewed here) to create and share concept maps of the important ideas about their theme. They may want to use the images from the site, too, so be sure to remind your students that they must cite their source, and give credit to the people who created this site when they create a project on line.

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Connect With English - Annenberg Media

Grades
8 to 12
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This video program teaches ESL/ELL through a series of free episodes accompanied by summaries and learning activities. Students and classroom teachers will need to download additional...more
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This video program teaches ESL/ELL through a series of free episodes accompanied by summaries and learning activities. Students and classroom teachers will need to download additional plugins. Although the site does sell copies of the videos and other materials, enough material is free to make this a refreshing approach to learning. Since topics in the filmed lessons include those which ESL/ELL students most want to learn about, the use of these offerings may be a motivator.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): cross cultural understanding (115), idioms (44), listening (91)

In the Classroom

This activity would work well for individual or pairs of ESL/ELL students in a lab or on laptops. Share the site so students can use it outside of class too. List the site on your class website, wiki, or blog. Many of the videos have the closed caption feature. If you have students in your language arts or special education classroom who are reading below grade level, have them watch the video once through, then turn on the closed caption option and have them watch it again reading along with the dialog.

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World Government Data - The Guardian

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6 to 12
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Trying to find data released from various governments? Find statistics easily with this site that brings together data from countries with freely released information. Use data from...more
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Trying to find data released from various governments? Find statistics easily with this site that brings together data from countries with freely released information. Use data from the US, UK, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. Check back as more countries will be added as data is released. Download data as Excel files and/or Adobe PDF.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): agriculture (55), cross cultural understanding (115), data (148), energy (198), financial literacy (80), population (60), statistics (122)

In the Classroom

Find data belonging to a specific country through its own data portal page. Collect similar data and data sets from more than one country at the same time to compare and contrast and identify trends. For example, view categories such as Agriculture, Crime, Culture, Economy, Education, Energy, and more. Enter keywords to find data matching your needs. Use this site to look at data and determine reasons for difference. Encourage students to find articles written in these various countries to explain culture differences. Students can also make infographics (data visualizations) to display comparisons and contrasts. Make connections with educators in these countries to encourage discussions between the different classes either through multimedia or blogs. Resources such as Classchats or Skype in Schools can get you started.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Across the World Once a Week: Collaborative Microblogging for Cross-Cultural Understanding - TeachersFirst

Grades
3 to 12
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Across the World Once a Week (XW1W) is a teaching idea that uses today's instant technologies to share answers to the same question across the world once a week. XW1W ...more
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Across the World Once a Week (XW1W) is a teaching idea that uses today's instant technologies to share answers to the same question across the world once a week. XW1W is a simple, social way for students to learn about real life in other cultures from real kids all across the world. By simply "hashtagging" Twitter or blog responses to a weekly question about daily life, students can share and learn about other cultures from their international peers. Find out more and read the details of this offering from TeachersFirst. The page displays the current weekly question as well as a Twitter feed of recent responses. (If you see a black "box," your school may be blocking Twitter feeds.) Don't miss the FAQ page to help you get started.

tag(s): cross cultural understanding (115), cultures (105), twitter (50)

In the Classroom

Join XW1W with your class using a single Twitter account or any blog or wiki tool where you can share student answers to the weekly question. If you cannot access Twitter at school, that is not a problem. You do not even have to use Twitter (though this is a great way dip your toes into Twitter). See the FAQ page for specific hints on using XW1W with your students. Share the XW1W idea with teaching colleagues in other places, and perhaps even with families to try at home. Want to learn more about Twitter and teaching. See TeachersFirst's Twitter for Teachers page.

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Global Education Collaborative Ning - Global Education Collaborative/ Lucy Gray

Grades
K to 12
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This free teacher social network is "The Official Social Network of the Global Education Conference" but it is much more than a single event site. Find collaborative projects around...more
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This free teacher social network is "The Official Social Network of the Global Education Conference" but it is much more than a single event site. Find collaborative projects around the world for your class to join. List your own project to find others interested in sharing with your classes using online tools. There is a huge variety of projects (see "Discussions" area) using everything from the simplest to the most clever technology options, from digital cameras to mashups. Started as a social network for teachers interested in fostering global awareness, this Ning is a meeting place for teachers just trying ideas to those who teacher professional development on global learning. Find free virtual conferences to attend, engage in discussions to learn from other teachers, or simply browse the projects and ideas.

As an FYI, TeachersFirst/The Source for Learning is a partner in the Global Education Conference effort -- another free, non-profit effort to support teachers and students using technology effectively for THINKING and learning.

tag(s): cross cultural understanding (115)

In the Classroom

Mark this one in your favorites to use for inspiration and connection as you plan upcoming units. You can join for free -- requires email. Just click "Sign up" in the upper right. Then tiptoe in or take a plunge. If you have been looking for ways to connect your classroom with others across the country or around the world, this is a great place to start. If you have never participated in a Ning, just click on the various headings to find your way around.

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LFI Spring 2011 Symposium: U.S. and China: What Does the Future Hold? - Lou Frey Institute of Politics and Government

Grades
7 to 12
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Today's students and citizens need to know about China. The spring, 2011 installment of the semi-annual Lou Frey Institute Symposia features topics related to China, the U.S., and issues...more
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Today's students and citizens need to know about China. The spring, 2011 installment of the semi-annual Lou Frey Institute Symposia features topics related to China, the U.S., and issues such as cultural understanding, security, working together, and (keynote) "Reasons and Prospects for a Chinese-American Partnership." The sessions were streamed as live video over the web on April 4, 2011, from the University of Central Florida, but can also be viewed in these archived videos. Speakers include "members of the diplomatic corps, policy experts and noted commentators." See officials from the two governments in action as they address hot topics of 2011 and the future for today's students.

tag(s): china (66), chinese (48), cross cultural understanding (115)

In the Classroom

Combine selections from these sessions with TeachersFirst's China and Cross-Cultural Resources and our editor's blog posts from a recent China visit to help students explore the issues and subtleties of U.S.-Chinese relations and globalization. Focus on cross-cultural understanding in a Chinese language or world cultures class or on policy issues in U.S. government. Economics classes can view portions related to macro-economics topics. Challenge student groups to create presentations using Thinglink, reviewed here, focused on one aspect of China or Chinese American relations.

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Classrooms Around the World - Matador Network

Grades
2 to 12
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This photo essay shows classrooms and conditions in schools all around the world. As might be expected, there is a great deal of variation in comfort, school supplies, facilities, students...more
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This photo essay shows classrooms and conditions in schools all around the world. As might be expected, there is a great deal of variation in comfort, school supplies, facilities, students per room, etc. IMPORTANT NOTE: Preview photo details before sharing this with children as some contain material that you might not find suitable to share. (For example, one photo contains vocabulary terms regarding pornography and sexual addiction!) Also, be aware that there are some advertisements on this page. At the time of this review, one of the particular advertisements was about the "Best Nude Beaches In the World."

tag(s): cross cultural understanding (115), cultures (105), photography (160)

In the Classroom

Use this site when discussing world cultures or economics. Use this site as an anticipatory set or "activator" to introduce a unit or lesson on a projector or interactive whiteboard. To avoid displaying certain content, you can selectively take screenshots (CTRL+PrtScrn on Windows, Command+Shft+4 on Mac) or copy images temporarily into PowerPoint slides or a whiteboard file-- with credit--to show them alone. Use it to jump off into a discussion or unit on some of the countries displayed here. Have students create original photo essays online following this model, using Have students create original photo essays online following this model, using Slidestory, reviewed here. Slidestory allows you to narrate the slides and images. Challenge students to find photos and then narrate the photos as if in a news report. To find Creative Commons images for student projects (with credit, of course), try Compfight, reviewed here. Other areas where this website might be useful are when you do units on world education, world poverty, etc. Have students do comparison/contrast essays using these photos as introductions to the differences between classrooms. Or have students compare/contrast using a site such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here). The many small details that differ from place to place would make getting details and examples easy. Ask students also to extrapolate differences in teaching methods just by viewing these photos.

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Where Children Sleep - Daily Telegraph

Grades
2 to 12
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This photo essay shows rooms and conditions where children sleep all around the world. As might be expected, there is great variation in comfort levels, personal belongings, people...more
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This photo essay shows rooms and conditions where children sleep all around the world. As might be expected, there is great variation in comfort levels, personal belongings, people per room, etc. This "gallery" of photos is from a complete hard copy book on the subject. This site offers only a quick glimpse at living conditions, with only 13 photos available at the time of this review. Be aware: this site does include some minor advertisements. At the time of this review all were appropriate, but be sure to check out the site before sharing with your students.

tag(s): cross cultural understanding (115), homes (12), space (205)

In the Classroom

Use this site when discussing economics in the U.S. or the world. Use this site as an anticipatory set or "activator" to introduce a unit or lesson on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Use it to launch a discussion or unit on some of the countries displayed here. Have students create original photo essays online following this model, Slidestory, reviewed here. This tool allows you to narrate the slides and images. Challenge students to find or take photos and narrate the photos as if it were a news report. To find Creative Commons images for student projects (with credit, of course), try Compfight, reviewed here. This website might also be useful for units on world cultures or in world language classes. In upper grades, combine these visual images with visualizations of world statistics from Many Eyes, reviewed here.

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Ayiti: The Cost of Life - Global Kids and Gamelab

Grades
5 to 12
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In this role playing activity, students must help the Guinard Family from Haiti receive an education and live a happy life. The activity takes place over four years and is ...more
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In this role playing activity, students must help the Guinard Family from Haiti receive an education and live a happy life. The activity takes place over four years and is divided into sixteen seasons. Students must assign roles to the family at the beginning of each season. As students complete the activity they must keep track of each family members statistics. Each member has statistics in the areas of Wellness, General health, Happiness, Emotional well-being, and Education. To win your family must survive for four years and the healthier and more educated your family is, the better you do in this activity.

tag(s): cross cultural understanding (115)

In the Classroom

Take your students on a virtual trip to Haiti by sharing this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. The site would work well for individual or pairs of students in a lab or on laptops. Have them record information in current event journals. At the end of the game have students prepare a short presentation using PowerPoint or an online tool like 280 Slides reviewed here to share with the class on how their family did.
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China Past and Present - Mrdonn.org

Grades
1 to 12
0 Favorites 0  Comments
This site from "Mr.Donn," hosts lesson plans, interactives, and other resources to supplement a unit on Ancient or Modern China. The resources are grouped by historical period, touching...more
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This site from "Mr.Donn," hosts lesson plans, interactives, and other resources to supplement a unit on Ancient or Modern China. The resources are grouped by historical period, touching upon topics such as the Song Dynasty, Marco Polo, and the Communist Revolution. Though TeachersFirst does not usually recommend lists of resources, this site has so many it made the exception!

tag(s): china (66), evolution (100)

In the Classroom

Save this site as a favorite and use it as a resource to find supplementary materials or lesson plans for a lesson or unit on China. Several of the activities would make great learning centers or stations as a review tool before an assessment or after immediate instruction. Be sure to save the sites as favorite on classroom computers, making it easier for students to navigate there.

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Ancient China Online Games and Activities

Grades
1 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
Though we don't often recommend "lists" of links, this site hosts 19 links to games about or related to Ancient China. The games vary in age level and topic, ranging ...more
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Though we don't often recommend "lists" of links, this site hosts 19 links to games about or related to Ancient China. The games vary in age level and topic, ranging from Tangram squares, to review games and Calligraphy how-to's.

tag(s): china (66)

In the Classroom

Browse through this site to find activities to fit your specific class during a unit on Ancient China. After you've found games that can work, save them as favorites on classroom computers and use them as learning centers or stations. This would be a great way to review before an assessment or immediately after a lecture introducing the topic.

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The Tank Man - PBS Frontline

Grades
9 to 12
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This site from PBS provides in-depth information about the events of Tiananmen Square. There is a 90 minute documentary on the site, accompanied by timelines, witness interviews and...more
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This site from PBS provides in-depth information about the events of Tiananmen Square. There is a 90 minute documentary on the site, accompanied by timelines, witness interviews and discussion of how Tiananmen has impacted present-day China. There is also a teachers guide on the site, providing teachers with 4 lesson plans, utilizing the information on the site.

tag(s): china (66), communism (4)

In the Classroom

Use the documentary on this site as an in-class activity during a lesson or unit on Modern China. Introduce the circumstances of Tiananmen Square to the class before playing the video on the interactive whiteboard or projector. Make sure to give students sufficient contextual information before playing the video. After the video, have a class discussion about the video, using your own prompts or those derived from the teachers guide! Challenge students to create fictitious blog posts from those living near the area, or from family members living far away.

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