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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China's Economy - PBS NewsHour

Grades
9 to 12
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This lesson plan from PBS Newshour focuses on the economic relationship between China and the United States. The lesson specifically looks at the differing economic policies between...more
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This lesson plan from PBS Newshour focuses on the economic relationship between China and the United States. The lesson specifically looks at the differing economic policies between the two countries, and how those policies have affected their economies thus far. Great lesson plan for a government, economics, or world history classroom.

tag(s): china (66)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plans on this site! Even if you don't have time for the entire lesson plan, be sure to check it out to see what can be included in your classroom. Be sure to save the site as a favorite to allow for easy reference later on.

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China From the Inside - PBS

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9 to 12
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This site from PBS takes a look at Modern China, and the issues facing it regarding government, women's rights, the environment, and political freedom. This site accompanies a documentary,...more
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This site from PBS takes a look at Modern China, and the issues facing it regarding government, women's rights, the environment, and political freedom. This site accompanies a documentary, and has short clips on the site as well as lesson plans, an interactive map, and a U.S.-China quiz.

tag(s): china (66)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plans in the "Educators" section! The lesson plans connect the content to geography and economics, and are aligned with national standards. The U.S. China quiz may be a bit challenging, but teachers can easily use it as a formative assessment to see what students already know about modern China before entering a new lesson or unit on it. Make sure to save the site as a favorite to allow for easy reference later on!
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The gate of Heavenly Peace - PBS Frontline

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7 to 12
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This site from PBS is an accompaniment to the documentary by the same name. There are several clips of the movie available by clicking "The Film" link. You may want ...more
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This site from PBS is an accompaniment to the documentary by the same name. There are several clips of the movie available by clicking "The Film" link. You may want to preview the film clips before sharing them with younger students, as some are rather graphic. In addition to information on the film there are also maps, essays, and primary sources from Tiananmen Square and the following Beijing Massacre. For teachers using the film, there is additional information about people in the film, transcripts, and behind the scenes information. For those not using the film, there is plenty of supplemental material that could benefit a lesson on Tiananmen Square.

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

In the Classroom

Use the interactive tour of Tiananmen Square (or share the videos) on your interactive whiteboard or projector during a lesson on Tiananmen. After learning about the events from books, this is a great way to give students something tangible to hold on to. After viewing the site and film, have students complete a multimedia presentation to share what they have learned. Create a class wiki to discuss the events shared at this site. Check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through.
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Playing History: Your Source for Historical Games - Trevor Owens and Jim Safley

Grades
3 to 12
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Playing History is a directory of free historical games, interactives, and simulations. There is a growing body of research about the value of educational games and this site...more
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Playing History is a directory of free historical games, interactives, and simulations. There is a growing body of research about the value of educational games and this site is a database for high quality games and simulations. You will find not only games for history, but for different cultural knowledge, too. This collaborative site currently has 132 humanities learning games and is growing monthly. You can suggest your own favorite humanities based games and simulations to be included in this collection. This site does not host these games. It is a sharing point for teachers/enthusiasts of history to recommend games and find them.

At this site the quality of the games varies from deep thinking to factual to cute. Learn everything from the history of dating to the geography of China to "Do I Have a Right?" exploring the Bill of Rights.

tag(s): cultures (105), supreme court (22)

In the Classroom

There is a wide variety of topics for the study of cultures and history here, so be sure to look through this site as you plan your new unit or lesson! There are many, many uses for this site in the class room: Share a game from this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector for a whole class review, choose a game from this website to use as a center, a review, or to provide a student reward on individual computers. Some of the games can be downloaded into a pdf and printed out and used as a traditional card, or board group game. Since this is a collaborative website, you and your students can "rate" the games to give feedback for other users.
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Comments

Oh MY GOSH! Who knew? This is a wealth of information available through game-playing. By searching the term "social justice," I arrived at numerous options for delving into the various aspects of a complex problem. I cannot wait to share this resource. Patricia, NJ, Grades: 6 - 12

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New 7 Wonders - Hans Nyberg, Virtualdenmark.dk

Grades
5 to 12
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The New 7 Wonders site has a full screen, 360-degree panoramic view of the officially proclaimed "New 7 Wonders of the World." These were voted on back in July 2007. ...more
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The New 7 Wonders site has a full screen, 360-degree panoramic view of the officially proclaimed "New 7 Wonders of the World." These were voted on back in July 2007. The Coliseum in Rome, the Great Wall, Petra, Taj Mahal, Machu Picchu, Rio De Janeiro, and Chichen Itza won the vote. Each site is interactive in that you can view the area as fast or as slow as you'd like. Some of the 7 Wonders have information or links to information about them.

tag(s): china (66), rome (27), virtual field trips (48)

In the Classroom

Having one of these 7 Wonders up and rotating through the view (on your interactive whiteboard) while studying ancient Rome, the history of the Islamic religion, ancient China, or any of the others would be a real treat for students and can help them recognize that these cultures were once real people, with skills, and goals. Small groups or individual students can focus on one of the 7 Wonders. Students should research why the structure was built, its history (how long it took, how it was funded, etc), the type of materials, and the style of architecture used. Students would then report out to the rest of the class. Using the interactive whiteboard students can simultaneously navigate the structure they researched and annotate the different parts of the structure. Older students can annotate using an online tool such as Thinglink, reviewed here. If you don't have an interactive whiteboard, have students use Glogster EDU, reviewed here or a wiki to post their information, images and a link to the panoramic view they researched.
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Marco Polo - Mr. Dowling's Electronic Passport

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4 to 8
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Travel through time with Mr. Dowling's Electronic Passport to read about the history of Marco Polo and his adventurous family. This site offers a brief but thorough account of the ...more
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Travel through time with Mr. Dowling's Electronic Passport to read about the history of Marco Polo and his adventurous family. This site offers a brief but thorough account of the travels and life of Marco Polo. This site is a great reference tool for research and reports as well as an extension of a textbook lesson.

tag(s): explorers (61), marco polo (5)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a class webquest in conjunction with Marco Polo's Route to China and Back, reviewed here. Have students or groups research one area of this site and create a multimedia report to share with the class. Challenge students to narrate a picture using a tool such as Slidestory, reviewed here. Or have students create an online book using a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here.

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100 People - 100 People Foundation and VIF

Grades
6 to 12
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This site takes the global population (there are 6.7 billion of us) and simplifies it to 100 People to help students understand what kind of people make up their community ...more
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This site takes the global population (there are 6.7 billion of us) and simplifies it to 100 People to help students understand what kind of people make up their community and the world beyond. On the first page of the website you will see a lesson plan video to view. There are 12 other videos for you to use.

There are two lesson plans for this site. The first one, "World Portrait" is where students survey and select 100 people to represent their community and the world's population. There are also suggestions for how a class might select one person. The plan is download-able and has ideas that include criteria for the people who are nominated, discussion topics and activities, questions for the community profile, a questionnaire for the people nominated, an image release form, just to name a few. Student results are to be captured in film, photography, music and text. The other lesson plan on this site is titled "100 People Under the Sun." In order to download this lesson you must register, it is free, but you will have to log in when viewing the plan. With this lesson "...students will develop key leadership skills to help raise their community's awareness of its energy use, as well as its motivation to advance sustainable approaches."

tag(s): population (60), statistics (122)

In the Classroom

This project is the perfect opportunity to collaborate with others in your building! Math students could complete a school and community survey (which could tie in with 2010 U.S. census). Social Studies students could interpret data collected in the survey (also could be tied into the 2010 census) and extrapolate parameters for nominations. Language Arts students would finalize the nominations and develop the essays. Technology, yearbook, and art classes can draw the portraits or produce them digitally, create a video for submission to 100 People project, and your more advanced technology students can create a website for content display. Glogster EDU, reviewed here or a wiki would be great tools to use for the website! Not familiar with wikis? Check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through.

Of course, you don't have to collaborate with others. This unit would work well in any world culture class at any level, or even in language arts when studying multicultural literature and settings. Here's another idea: Many of us have seen the video "Did You Know? Predicting Future Statistics." (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7FP1kgtD8U). The beginning states "If you are one in a million in China there are 1,300 people just like you." But it also gives statistics like "During the course of this presentation 60 babies will be born in the U.S., 244 babies will be born in China, and 351 babies will be born in India..." You can use your and your student's ideas to come up with your own statistics. Something like how many people will be working and sleeping between the hours of midnight and 6:00 A.M. in the U.S., China, and India (or any other country you wish to include). Use this to lead to discussions of time zones and all sorts of other peripheral ideas and decisions students will have to think about.

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Marco Polo's Route to China and Back - EDSITEment

Grades
2 to 8
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Marco Polo's Route to China and Back shows students the travels of two historical journeys of Marco Polo. As students correctly answer questions about each route, they travel further...more
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Marco Polo's Route to China and Back shows students the travels of two historical journeys of Marco Polo. As students correctly answer questions about each route, they travel further along on the map. If students answer the questions incorrectly, they are given the opportunity to click on a resource link that takes them to the correct answer. This site is not only challenging but fun for young explorers. The site also includes some wonderful authentic photos and drawings.

tag(s): explorers (61), marco polo (5)

In the Classroom

Incorporate this site into a web quest to build student knowledge of Marco Polo, interesting geography facts, and the history of Asia. Create a class wiki about Marco Polo and have students add different facts they learned or questions they might have. Not sure how to create a class wiki? Check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through.
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New York Times Science Lesson Plans - New York Times

Grades
6 to 12
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Looking for ways to link current science events and skills such as reading and writing across the curriculum in your science classroom? Visit this ideal internet location! Created by...more
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Looking for ways to link current science events and skills such as reading and writing across the curriculum in your science classroom? Visit this ideal internet location! Created by the people of the New York Times, this lesson plan idea page has all the tools to put together quick, technology, reading and science based lessons in a fraction of the time it would take to pool the resources on your own.

tag(s): cross cultural understanding (115), main idea (9), news (261)

In the Classroom

Scan the lessons. Choose topics appropriate to your content, and then incorporate into your classroom at will. Break lessons apart into both classroom and online discussions for students. A little disclaimer: some of these cutting edge science topics can be controversial so make sure to adequately prepare your students before embarking on these learning adventures.
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Go For The Gold - Scholastic

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K to 10
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This website (originally created for the 2004 Olympics, and updated in 2008and 2010) offers a great deal of information on the Olympics. Specific highlights include "In my Backyard,"...more
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This website (originally created for the 2004 Olympics, and updated in 2008and 2010) offers a great deal of information on the Olympics. Specific highlights include "In my Backyard," "History of the Games," "More to Explore," and "Get in the Game." There are also links to a Teachers Guide (with lesson plans for grades K-10 and standards), related booklists, interactive activities, and more. Although this site is slightly dated, it does contain some excellent information on the origin and history of the Olympics. Also, the "In The News" section is no longer updated.

tag(s): china (66), olympics (47)

In the Classroom

If you are bringing the Olympics into your classroom, incorporate the many ideas at this website into your lessons. There are lesson plans ready to go (and divided by grade level). Try the interactive "It's All Greek To Me" together on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Use this site for research about the history of the Olympics, politics and the Olympics, and other pertinent topics.
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Going for the Gold - 2009 United States Olympic Committee

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2 to 12
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Follow the United States Olympic athletes at this interactive website. Find out current news about the athletes, read biographical information, read the athlete's blogs, watch video...more
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Follow the United States Olympic athletes at this interactive website. Find out current news about the athletes, read biographical information, read the athlete's blogs, watch video clips, explore the articles, and more. Click on "Resources" and then "U.S. Olympic Education" to find some lesson ideas to use in your classroom. There are some minor advertisements at this website.

tag(s): china (66), olympics (47)

In the Classroom

Use this site to research American athletes. Share the video clips, read the blogs, and view the pictures on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Don't miss the lesson ideas (in the "Resources" section). Share this site on your class website, so families can follow the U.S. Olympians.
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The China Guide - The Great Wall of China - The China Guide

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3 to 12
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The China Guide offers a fantastic panoramic video of the Great Wall of China. Throughout the panoramic video, viewers can choose to enter various areas of the structure and "walk"...more
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The China Guide offers a fantastic panoramic video of the Great Wall of China. Throughout the panoramic video, viewers can choose to enter various areas of the structure and "walk" to other areas and towers along the wall. Snippets of history and other explanations are provided while taking the tour. The site provides a realistic opportunity for students to view the Great Wall of China in a manner other than pictures. Many of the photos appear in pop-up windows, so you need to turn off your pop up blocker for THIS site only. Be aware: this site was created by a travel agency, so you will encounter some advertisements for booking trips. This site does require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): china (66)

In the Classroom

This site would be a great introductory lesson into a unit on China. Show the panoramic video on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Allow students to conduct the walk by choosing where the video takes them. Have students explore this site with a partner and then find a photo (legally permitted) of the Great Wall of China. Have students use UtellStory, reviewed here, to narrate the photo that they chose. To find Creative Commons images for student projects (with credit, of course), try Compfight, reviewed here.
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Chinese New Year

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5 to 8
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Gear up for the Year of the ox with this informational site about the Chinese New Year. Learn about the animals in the Chinese zodiac, the significance of dragons in ...more
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Gear up for the Year of the ox with this informational site about the Chinese New Year. Learn about the animals in the Chinese zodiac, the significance of dragons in Chinese mythology, several "special" facts about various years, and how the date of the New Year is determined. Get some great ideas from this site for activities in your classroom.

tag(s): china (66), chinese (48), chinese new year (3)

In the Classroom

Share the "what's special about..." section with your students on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students judge which year was the most special and write journal entries or blogs about WHY.

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Teach Children ESL: Games - Teach Children ESL

Grades
K to 3
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This site has many games available for downloading including card games, board games, and Valentine's Day bingo. Children learn vocabulary and have fun while manipulating the various...more
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This site has many games available for downloading including card games, board games, and Valentine's Day bingo. Children learn vocabulary and have fun while manipulating the various versions of memory cards, Go Fish, and other traditional children's past times. Downloads include colorfully illustrated cards and game parts as well as instructions. Links include more goodies: worksheets, songs, and flashcards. At certain times of the day this site can be slow in loading. This site requires Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): cross cultural understanding (115)

In the Classroom

Download the games and laminate the materials or send them home for parents and children to do together. Speech and language teachers as well as ESL/ELL teachers will love the free games-to-go!
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Ethnologue - SIL International

Grades
6 to 12
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This site is an index to languages of the world, including lesser known ones. There is also some reference information provided for most locations. Teachers and students can click on...more
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This site is an index to languages of the world, including lesser known ones. There is also some reference information provided for most locations. Teachers and students can click on a map of the world to come up with a list of continents and then a list of countries. Each country, no matter how obscure, displays a list of its languages and dialects and a short description of the location where the language is spoken. For example, the tiny West African country of Liberia lists over 30 languages and dialects, many of which are spoken in no locations outside this country.

In the Classroom

Use this site when social studies students are doing reports on world cultures. Check out your own state (or country) and see what you can learn. ESL and ELL students may enjoy sharing the information displayed here about their individual countries and languages with American students who might have no idea of the cultural differences among members of the same country. Use this map as a discussion starter I your world cultures class about migration patterns and the power of a common language to encourage cross-cultural pollination.

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mapdango

Grades
4 to 12
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This online mapping tool is really a "mash-up" (online technology combo) of many tools that allows you to see various cities and countries throughout the world. The site is powered...more
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This online mapping tool is really a "mash-up" (online technology combo) of many tools that allows you to see various cities and countries throughout the world. The site is powered by GoogleMaps, but clicking on Map opens up other content. There is a "place of the day" offered daily. In addition to showing the location on the map, there are photos, news stories, current weather conditions, articles about the location, events happening in the area, videos (powered by YouTube), and demographic information about the area. There is a link on the top of the page, Countries , as well as a search box to search by location name. Note that the "Social" link leads to many social tools possibly inappropriate for the classroom. Since much of the content is designed for the general public, it is s good idea to preview places you plan to "feature" in class.

Be aware: this site also has advertisements for books for sale. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): map skills (80)

In the Classroom

Navigating the site is fairly easy. Manipulate the map as you would on Google Maps (zoom, drag, etc). Simply click to read the articles, weather reports, and view the photos or video clips (teacher-previewed, of course). Use this fabulous site as an addition to your geography class or as a reference when looking up ANY world location from current events, literary settings, and more. Take your students virtually to a new location every day! Share the site on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Challenge students to write a blog as a native from the highlighted country. In world language classes, have students plot a trip or write an imaginary story of their dream trip to Spain, Mexico, France, China (or whatever country/language they are studying). Take your students on a virtual trip to the native countries where the language is spoken. Have your ESL or ELL students take the class on a virtual tour of their home country.

For a more extensive project, have your students work on "building up" the Mapdango resources available for your area using the various tools that Mapdango draws upon. Of course, you will need to work within school policies to access these tools. Add more pictures to Panoramio, contribute more detailed articles to wikipedia, etc. Be sure to include the link to YOUR town's Mapdango entry on your class web page!

Safety/Security Concerns: Registration is required to use the social features, but they are not necessary for "exploring" a location. Make sure you have a clear class policy and consequences regarding the social features of the site. This site is so rich in information that it is a good one to use to teach ethical and safe use of web resources, especially how to avoid non-essential portions of a good site.
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TeachersFirst Resources for the Olympics - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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Winter or summer, the Olympics provide teaching opportunities across the curriculum for students of all ages. Browse these options for curriculum connections to light the Olympic flame...more
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Winter or summer, the Olympics provide teaching opportunities across the curriculum for students of all ages. Browse these options for curriculum connections to light the Olympic flame in your classroom.

tag(s): china (66), olympics (47)

In the Classroom

Use these Olympics resources to plan an entire unit during the Olympics or make them available as links from your teacher web page for enrichment if the Olympics fall during school breaks. Not enough time for an Olympics unit? Perhaps students can use these links to generate ideas and projects to share on an Olympics extra credit wiki. Teachers of gifted will find many ways to spark new projects usig these links.

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Time For Kids - Around the World - TIME for Kids

Grades
3 to 7
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This informative website offers students "faraway places at their fingertips." There are countries included from Africa, Asia, Central America, Europe, North America, South America,...more
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This informative website offers students "faraway places at their fingertips." There are countries included from Africa, Asia, Central America, Europe, North America, South America, and Oceania. Some of the specific countries include Nigeria, Tanzania, Pakistan, Thailand, Costa Rica, Norway, Turkey, Alaska, Chile, Peru, Australia, New Zealand, and more. Each country's information varies a bit. Most include some "native lingo," a sightseeing guide, a history timeline, current news, and other educational bits of information. The website also features lesson plans, worksheets, maps, and graphic organizers. Certain activities at this website require Adobe Acrobat and/or QuickTime Player. You can get both from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): china (66), egypt (67), france (40), greece (26), india (36), jordan (5), maps (288), vietnam (36)

In the Classroom

What a fabulous resource for independent research projects or country comparisons. Put the names of all of the countries into a hat or jar. Have individual students or small groups pick a country. Challenge the students to learn the native lingo, the geography and climate of the area, the history of the country, and more. Have the students create multimedia presentations to share with the class or have a World Cultures day.

If you don't have time to complete a large research project, use your interactive whiteboard (or projector) and take your students "virtually" to a different country every week. Spend 10-15 minutes navigating the website. Challenge your class to learn some of the native "lingo" and practice native phrases throughout the week. Use this site for background when reading folktales and stories set in far-off lands. If you have a chance to do a collaborative project with students across the world, start with basic background knowledge from this site.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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China Blue - PBS--Independent Lens

Grades
9 to 12
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A companion to an independent film focusing on the conditions facing workers who make blue jeans for the Western market, this site provides information about "sweatshops" in China and...more
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A companion to an independent film focusing on the conditions facing workers who make blue jeans for the Western market, this site provides information about "sweatshops" in China and other developing countries. There is specific information about the sources for several well-known jeans manufacturers, and stories of the young workers in these factories and their brutal working conditions.

The site would be useful in an economics class during a discussion of the emerging global economy. In addition, it would be a good supplement to a discussion of China in general, or as part of a comparison with 19th century sweatshop labor in the United States and the development of the labor union movement. There are also links to other web-based sources on human rights, China, and the global economy.

tag(s): china (66)

In the Classroom

Share the film clips on a projector or whiteboard (in either RealPlayer or Quicktime formats). Discussion could work well in either a whole-class format or in a follow-up small group activity where each group creates a Venn diagram comparing the sweat shops of today with those in Weestern countries in the 19th century.

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China - BBC

Grades
K to 8
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This website (created by BBC), provides a wealth of information on China. It was updated in 2007, so is slightly out of date. But the information still provides solid research ...more
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This website (created by BBC), provides a wealth of information on China. It was updated in 2007, so is slightly out of date. But the information still provides solid research and information about the country. Visitors to the website will find information about saving the pandas, China's one-child policy, famous Chinese landmarks and authentic accounts of visits to China (through the eyes and words of other students).

tag(s): china (66), cultures (105), olympics (47)

In the Classroom

Use an interactive whiteboard or projector to take your students on a virtual field trip to China! The students are sure to enjoy the pictures and "student guides" of China. As a comparison across cultures, have your students create a "student guide" that compares their own culture with another. Middle school students could use issues such as the "one child policy" and some social policies as writing prompts for persuasive essays or debate topics in their world cultures class.

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