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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FBI: The Vault - FBI

Grades
8 to 12
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The FBI is in the process of digitizing many of its documents and other items; this website is the growing accumulation of what they are offering so far, but updates ...more
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The FBI is in the process of digitizing many of its documents and other items; this website is the growing accumulation of what they are offering so far, but updates are continuing. You can search by a specific subject, keyword, or time period to view the documents that are available. Once you have found the document you would like to look at, the site has its own viewer. Documents include those handwritten, typed, scanned, etc. Some of the categories in the collection include: Administrative Policy Procedures, Anti-War, Bureau Personnel, Civil Rights, Counterterrorism, Foreign Counterintelligence, Fugitives, Gangs Extremist Groups, Gangster Era, Hot Topics, Miscellaneous, Organizations, Organized Crime, Political Figures Events, Popular Culture, Public Corruption, Supreme Court, Unexplained Phenomenon, World War II, Violent Crime, and others.

If a search does not return something immediately, there is a feature which will notify you of the results of your search at a later time. The time range of these documents is quite wide. Both a simple search and an advanced search make it easy to find interesting data. The A to Z index is a fun place to browse for subjects. Many of the documents are in PDF format.

tag(s): 1920s (14), 1930s (13), 1940s (12), branches of government (47), civil rights (119), cross cultural understanding (122), inquiry (35), politics (97), supreme court (23), world war 2 (142)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a resource for researching primary documents from different eras in American history. Looking at the authentic documents is always exciting, so share one or two on a projector or interactive whiteboard with your class before assigning students to search on their own. Use this site as the starting point for individual or group projects. Have students make a mash-up presentation using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge Tools reviewed here. This is a great find for gifted students (unusual topics, historical documents, fascinating photos)!
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Lyrics Gaps - lyricsgaps.com

Grades
5 to 12
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Learn a new language through music and lyrics! Choose English, Spanish, German, French, Italian, Portugese, Japanese, Russian, Greek, Dutch, Danish, or Romanian. Register for FREE and...more
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Learn a new language through music and lyrics! Choose English, Spanish, German, French, Italian, Portugese, Japanese, Russian, Greek, Dutch, Danish, or Romanian. Register for FREE and learn the new language. Each language has different activities: karaoke, interactive cloze activities, videos, and more. You can choose among three different difficulty levels. Some activities even have the option to "double click" to read a definition of a word. You also have the ability to submit your own songs and language activities to the site. Note that this site is fairly new and only ha a few hundred songs at the time of this review. Help contribute to the offerings!
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): cross cultural understanding (122), cultures (105), french (92), german (67), greek (41), italian (36), japanese (45), portuguese (21), russian (29), songs (53), spanish (110)

In the Classroom

This is a wonderful find for ESL/ELL and world language teachers. Teachers may prefer to do a class registration and use the offerings of the site with the entire class. Challenge your students to create (and submit) their own songs/activities in a new language. If school policy does not allow students to share songs on a site, have students create their own in-class presentations of songs and similar exercises using one selection from this site as a model.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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American Sabor: Latinos in U.S. Popular Music - Smithsonian Institute

Grades
5 to 12
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See a comprehensive look at the music and cultural influences of the Latin American music community on contemporary U.S. music. With 24 separate music styles including salsa, merengue,...more
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See a comprehensive look at the music and cultural influences of the Latin American music community on contemporary U.S. music. With 24 separate music styles including salsa, merengue, boogaloo, East L.A. punk, and hip hop, this site offers a broad range of genres. It also includes explanations of the musical genres, interviews with leading musicians of each, biographies of musicians, chances to listen to musical examples using the online jukebox, and an opportunity to do mixing of musical types using the embedded radio. Other features include an archived blog and a list cities around the country and where to find these music communities within that town. Extensive classroom support includes lesson plans, handouts, maps, timelines, and activities/games at all K-12 levels.

tag(s): biographies (92), cross cultural understanding (122), cultures (105), hispanic (17), mexico (33), south america (38)

In the Classroom

When studying music or Latin America, introduce your units with a clip from a specific type of music. Assign other types of music for your students to research; allow them to choose by listening to a section of a song and seeing what they like. Challenge students to find current examples of one of the genres and then create reports or reviews of the music using TubeChop, reviewed here. Share them using a tool such as SchoolTube, reviewed here.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Colours in Cultures - Information is Beautiful: David McCandless

Grades
6 to 12
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This circular infographic shows colors connected with 85 specific emotions in a variety of cultures. What emotions do colors suggest in a culture? How does culture convey emotion through...more
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This circular infographic shows colors connected with 85 specific emotions in a variety of cultures. What emotions do colors suggest in a culture? How does culture convey emotion through color, and how does this vary from culture to culture? You can see examples of other similarly designed visualizations by clicking on "Select Visualization."

tag(s): charts and graphs (198), colors (80), cross cultural understanding (122), cultures (105), graphic organizers (39), infographics (48), psychology (67), visualizations (13)

In the Classroom

Use this site to promote visual literacy and as an example for reading graphs. Have students select another topic and make a similar graph of their own. Use one of the graph makers available at the site "Statistics - Johnnie's Math Page" (reviewed here). Look at paintings from different cultures and ask how color interacts with other artistic elements like shape, design, placement, etc. to convey meaning. Have students make an assortment of works of the same design, varying color choice depending on which culture is going to view the work. If you have student creating infographics, this chart is a must in selecting font colors and more to guide emotional impact of the graphics.

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Mapping America: Every City, Every Block - NY Times

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4 to 12
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This interactive map shows racial distribution in every community in the U.S. The information is provided by the Census Bureau's American Community Surveys from 2005 to 2009. You can...more
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This interactive map shows racial distribution in every community in the U.S. The information is provided by the Census Bureau's American Community Surveys from 2005 to 2009. You can view the overall distribution; other maps allow you to select one specific racial distribution. Racial groups included are white, black, Hispanic, Asian, and other. The map is zoomable so you can view neighborhoods delineated by specific streets.

tag(s): african american (108), census (19), cross cultural understanding (122), hispanic (17), maps (294), racism (16)

In the Classroom

Introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students explore this site independently or in small groups. Encourage your students to use this tool for projects and organization including making assumptions about neighborhood breakdowns, relationship to poverty levels, and effects of industrialization. Compare known cities or towns, including those known as affluent or distressed. Have students select a map view from this site to kick off a project about a family member and the community where he/she lived. Have students use a mapping tool such as Click2Map, reviewed here, to create their own maps (with display markers featuring text, photos, and videos!). It might be helpful to use screenshots from these maps as images in their projects. Mac users press Command+shift+4 to save the screenshot image on you computer. Windows users, press the PrntScrn key, then paste the "copied" image into a document or slide.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Teachers: World Food Programme - World Food Programme

Grades
3 to 10
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This site is full of learning activities and resources from the World Food Programme, developed by educators to be used in the classroom. Inspire students as global citizens through...more
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This site is full of learning activities and resources from the World Food Programme, developed by educators to be used in the classroom. Inspire students as global citizens through these lessons and service learning opportunities. The lesson plans and classroom activities cover all grades and subject areas, with themes ranging from "What to do about Malnutrition" to "The Millennium Development Goals." Classroom activities can be found by going to the link on the right-hand side of the page. Activities are labeled by age range, subject, and general category of the lesson (such as collaborative learning & problem solving or addition & subtraction of decimals). After choosing a lesson, click on download to access the lesson in an easy to print pdf document. Lessons are very detailed, including an overview, aims and objectives, materials needed, lesson procedure, and activity sheets. Another excellent resource within the site is titled Hunger 101. Resources in that section include useful information and resources for discussing hunger in the classroom. In the future, the site intends to include more resources such as teaching materials and maps for the classroom. The site also includes links to sign up for their Facebook page, Twitter feed, and blog.

tag(s): cross cultural understanding (122), nutrition (155), service projects (26)

In the Classroom

Share this site with your students on your interactive whiteboard or projector then allow them time to explore on their own. Use lessons from the site in your classroom. Have students create a multimedia presentation using Thinglink, reviewed here. This site allows users to narrate a picture. To find Creative Commons images for student projects (with credit, of course), try Compfight, reviewed here. Service groups, student councils, and gifted programs can find many ideas for service projects and fundraisers through this site.
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Project Explorer - projectexplorer.org

Grades
5 to 12
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This site is a marvelous, award-winning collection of well-organized interactive content, lesson plans at three levels, and videos exploring cultures all around the world. Organized...more
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This site is a marvelous, award-winning collection of well-organized interactive content, lesson plans at three levels, and videos exploring cultures all around the world. Organized by level, you'll find upper elementary, middle school, and high school. Begin by testing your Global IQ with a quiz, then select a level and watch the featured video, next click on a country of interest and click the links to get a map and great information! With 21 countries featured (at the time of this review) you're sure to find one of interest.

tag(s): africa (168), asia (72), australia (36), canada (31), countries (81), cross cultural understanding (122), england (56), india (32), iran (12), jordan (4), mexico (33), peru (7), south africa (12), south america (38)

In the Classroom

As an anticipatory set, allow students to take the Global IQ quiz on 1:1 devices or a projector or on an interactive whiteboard to discuss the questions and take the quiz as a class. Then, informally assess prior knowledge of a selected country as you start your study of its geography, people, and other cultural items. Challenge students to select a country and create a brochure about what they learned using Sway, reviewed here, to share with their peers. Have students in language classes create similar videos and/or blogs that feature items of interest in countries whose languages they are studying.
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The World's Harvests - Time Magazine

Grades
4 to 10
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This photo essay shares a wonderful gallery of pictures of farmers harvesting different crops, using various tools, from around the world. You will also want to note the diverse containers...more
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This photo essay shares a wonderful gallery of pictures of farmers harvesting different crops, using various tools, from around the world. You will also want to note the diverse containers storing the harvested items. Nutrition, world languages, or cultures classes can use this site to explore what food and agriculture are like in other cultures.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): agriculture (59), cross cultural understanding (122), cultures (105), nutrition (155)

In the Classroom

Use this site as an anticipatory set to introduce a unit or lesson on nutrition around the world on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Use it also to explore differences in farming methods and food storage practices worldwide. Have students create similar photo essays in groups, comparing harvests from different regions of the U.S. using Thinglink, reviewed here. Thinklink allows users to narrate a picture. Challenge students to find a photo and then narrate the photo as if it is a news report. Students can use Creative Commons Search, reviewed here, or Compfight, reviewed here, to find pictures you are ALLOWED to use without copyright problems, simply by giving credit.

Have students work in pairs to create online posters using a tool such as Web Poster Wizard, reviewed here, to illustrate the different harvests from around the U.S.
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Slavery Footprint - How Many Slaves Work For You? - MUH-TAY-ZIK HOF-FER

Grades
7 to 12
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Slavery Footprint calculates the number of forced laborers involved in making the products we buy as consumers (such as beans in our coffee). Questions are based on the food...more
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Slavery Footprint calculates the number of forced laborers involved in making the products we buy as consumers (such as beans in our coffee). Questions are based on the food you eat, clothes you own, and even the sports you do. There is even the option to add detail about certain commodities to allow the program to make a more precise calculation. The result gives you the exact number of slaves that "work for you" in the supply chains of your consumption. An interesting portion of the site goes into detail about the methodology used for determining the number of slaves "working" for the respondents. The site also provides their definition of a slave: "Anyone who is forced to work without pay, being economically exploited, and unable to walk away." Be sure to share the opening portion of the site, "What? Slaves work for me?" with students for a wonderful explanation of slavery and the purpose of the site. Note: There is one question in the survey about paying for sex. While sexual slave trade is a very real issue in today's world, you may not want your less mature students to encounter this question. Only you know your school community's tolerance for such discussions.

tag(s): cross cultural understanding (122), ecology (138), slavery (67)

In the Classroom

Have students complete individual surveys and graph results, use the information for a basis of class discussions on economy and each individual's impact on the environment. Complete one survey for the entire class on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) using average information found from students. Show the impact of changes in lifestyle by completing new surveys by making lifestyle changes. Have students use a tool such as Buzzsprout, reviewed here, to create a fictitious radio news story from information they learn at this site. Have students use a mapping tool such as Google Earth, reviewed here, to create an audio (and visual) tour of countries included on the survey.

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Culturally Authentic Pictorial Lexicon - Michael Shaughnessy & Jason Parkhill

Grades
K to 12
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This site features a wonderfully specific pictorial database of "every day" images that define cultures. Images are Creative Commons licensed and can be used by download (three sizes)...more
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This site features a wonderfully specific pictorial database of "every day" images that define cultures. Images are Creative Commons licensed and can be used by download (three sizes) or direct link. At the time of this review, general topics included German, ESL (American,) French, Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, Spanish, Russian, Ukrainian, and a few others. Besides offering a photograph (in three sizes) of something specifically Chinese or something only found in Japan, the vocabulary label for the object shown as well as its translation into its language of origin is available and indexed. There is also a detailed guide for teachers offering many wonderful suggestions of how to use CAPL in the classroom. The suggested activities include using images as objects, visual "texts," media illustrations, and narratives as well as ideas for using the images to teach vocabulary and culture. More is added to this site frequently, so be sure to check back!

tag(s): arabic (20), architecture (82), china (62), cross cultural understanding (122), cultures (105), france (38), germany (28), japan (60), russia (36), spanish (110)

In the Classroom

Language students can use these images to create online posters using a tool such as Poster Wizard (reviewed here or PicLits (reviewed here. Have students make a visual lexicon of new vocabulary words. Use interest in some of the pics here as a jumping off point for more cultural exploration. Talk about what items we would photograph in the U.S. that are culturally specific and rich in cultural meaning (for example, the Green Bay Packers stadium).

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Global SchoolNet - Global School Net

Grades
4 to 12
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Find ways to include your class in online, project based learning. This site offers living curriculum in a world laboratory that promotes lifelong learning. A series of different programs,...more
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Find ways to include your class in online, project based learning. This site offers living curriculum in a world laboratory that promotes lifelong learning. A series of different programs, including International school Cyber Fair, Doors to Diplomacy, Mosaics of Life, Geogame, Online Expedition, and Letters to Santa all encourage global technology. Global SchoolNet engages youth in project based, online learning activities to promote creativity and communication, while increasing global understanding. A Projects Registry and Collaborative Learning Center contains great ideas for projects. Webby award winner Global SchoolNet has been a top ten educational website for five years in a row. This is a great resource for busy teachers!
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): cross cultural understanding (122), service projects (26)

In the Classroom

Go global with your class this year! Set your technology goals to include many of the different global project based learning sites in a condensed easy to find manner. Link your class to other classes around the world. Join in online expeditions, competitions for your students, or even an online teacher award. Join in the Newsday Project and have your students publish articles for the world to see. Several International resources provide lesson plans for teachers for problem based technology projects. Information for different competitions bring your class into the cutting edge of global technology problem based learning. Join the list serve to keep updated with the latest happening in global education.

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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 (168), architecture (82), cross cultural understanding (122), cultures (105), religions (67)

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.
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My Culture Quest - Museums Sheffield

Grades
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 (122), cultures (105), map skills (81), museums (52)

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).
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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 (52)

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.
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South American Cultures - Discovery Education

Grades
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 (122), portuguese (21), south america (38), spanish (110)

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

Grades
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 (122), japan (60), virtual field trips (54)

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 (122), infographics (48), nutrition (155)

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 Click2Map, 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 (62), news (260)

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

Grades
8 to 12
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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 ...more
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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 (168), asia (72), cross cultural understanding (122), cultures (105), media literacy (62), middle east (37), news (260)

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 or simple web page using Tackk, reviewed here, to demonstrate the topic they researched.

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Vistas - Dr. Dana Leibsohn and Dr. Barbara Mundy

Grades
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 (122), cultures (105), hispanic (17)

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 Timeglider, 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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