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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My Hero - My Hero Project

Grades
K to 12
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Looking for an online project-based interactive website that encourages literacy and cross-cultural communication? Looking for an alternative culminating project or process writing...more
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Looking for an online project-based interactive website that encourages literacy and cross-cultural communication? Looking for an alternative culminating project or process writing project for your secondary classes? Trying to help your high school juniors and seniors create an interesting college "essay" or portfolio piece? Join other adults and children from around the world by adding your essay, artwork or video about a hero on this non-profit, ad-free web site. You and your students can use this site with basic word processing knowledge -- or take it further if you are more technically capable.Site registration is required. Site is available in Spanish. Flash, Acrobat Reader and Quicktime are required. Get them from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): gifted (96), heroes (24), writing (359)

In the Classroom

Be sure to visit the Teacher's Resource section for helpful hints and links. Use any word processing program to type essays, then copy and paste into the My Hero class page. Provide a link to the class page on your teacher web page so students, parents, and relatives can read the essays. As always follow your district policies regarding posting student work on the Internet. It is HIGHLY advisable to get written parent permission for such a project!

Very young students could work together as a class to write their entry. Older students and those with more technology available will definitely want to try the videos! If you know iMovie or Windows Moviemaker, this is a terrific project. It is well-suited for gifted students, as well.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Wikipedia: List of Faux Pas

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6 to 12
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Although this site is a wiki and therefore editable by anyone who chooses to change the content, it highlights the differences between cultures and how people interpret behavior. Find...more
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Although this site is a wiki and therefore editable by anyone who chooses to change the content, it highlights the differences between cultures and how people interpret behavior. Find out about what is considered "good" and "bad" etiquette in places all over the world. Perhaps your students would even like to write their own additions? It is worth mentioning to your secondary students that the authorship of wiki content is unknown and would therefore be unacceptable as an "academic" source.

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

In the Classroom

Use this as a discussion-opener in your world language or world cultures class. If you put the Faux Pas wiki up on a projector or allow your students to explore it, assigning each group to find one thing that is perfectly acceptable in your home country but considered offensive in another, you can then discuss the differences one needs to consider in learning the language or history of that country. As a a follow-up in a world cultures class, ask students to write up their own etiquette guide for their school or home town.

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WorldWise Schools Lesson Plans - Peace Corps

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2 to 12
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This site is a much-expanded remake of the Peace Corps collection of lesson plans and activities for cross-cultural understanding around the world. Teachers can search for lesson plans...more
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This site is a much-expanded remake of the Peace Corps collection of lesson plans and activities for cross-cultural understanding around the world. Teachers can search for lesson plans by topic, region of the world, grade level, or academic subject. All readings and materials are included (many as pdf - Acrobat Reader files). Many lessons include readings that would also work well for teaching reading comprehension, espceially for your less-than-proficient readers. Simply choose the area of the world, subject, and/or grade level for which you want a lesson plan, and you will see quite a list.

tag(s): cultures (105)

In the Classroom

Search for lessons on a specific region as you teach about it or use these selections as general readings for comprehension. They may also be helpful in getting to know students who enter your classroom from other cultures. The lessons would be very helpful in developing background knowledge to understand cross-cultural literature selections in a language arts class.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Asia for Educators - Columbia University

Grades
10 to 12
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This impressive and extensive multimedia site explores the history and culture of China and Japan, and provides a wealth of teaching materials and resources. Each featured topic is...more
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This impressive and extensive multimedia site explores the history and culture of China and Japan, and provides a wealth of teaching materials and resources. Each featured topic is accompanied by a related lesson plan and an annotated list of supporting online sources. Browse by subject or by time period.

tag(s): asia (73), china (66), japan (61)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plans hosted on this site! There are also timelines about both China and Japan available that can help guide your classroom unit about the history of either. Share a timeline on the interactive whiteboard or projector to introduce the unit and show the direction of progress. This would be a great resource for a world history classroom.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Habitat Adventure: Panda Challenge - National Zoo

Grades
4 to 8
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This impressive virtual field trip takes students on a journey to China for an important mission: save the giant panda by establishing a new temperate forest reserve. Students will...more
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This impressive virtual field trip takes students on a journey to China for an important mission: save the giant panda by establishing a new temperate forest reserve. Students will meet with local people, study endangered species in the wild, and use a variety of tools - including binoculars, field guides, a camera, and more - to make good decisions based on the "Four C's" of conservation. This is an excellent independent computer-lab activity and a great addition to an environmental conservation unit.

tag(s): china (66), conservation (127)

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Ancient China - British Musem

Grades
7 to 12
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Discover the culture of ancient China with this outstanding, interactive site that explores its artisans, geography, tombs, writings, and more. Each section of the site provides historical...more
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Discover the culture of ancient China with this outstanding, interactive site that explores its artisans, geography, tombs, writings, and more. Each section of the site provides historical information, a story, an in-depth exploration, and a challenge. The challenge activities promote higher level thinking and are ideal for independent practice and review.

tag(s): china (66), chinese (48)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a learning center or station during a unit on Ancient China. There is a lot of content on the site, so it would be beneficial to create a graphic organizer for students to help organize their notes. (If looking for an easy find, we recommend using Graphic Organizer Maker, (reviewed here).) Teachers can also use the challenges to assess student participation, not to mention that kids will enjoy the brief respite from note-taking! A very useful resource for the world history classroom.

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Mysterious Mummmies of China - PBS Nova

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6 to 12
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In the late 1980s, perfectly preserved 3,000 year old mummies began appearing in a remote desert in China. Surprisingly, they possessed the physical characteristics of Europeans and...more
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In the late 1980s, perfectly preserved 3,000 year old mummies began appearing in a remote desert in China. Surprisingly, they possessed the physical characteristics of Europeans and did not appear to be ancestors of the modern-day Chinese. Where did they come from? How were they preserved? What can linguistics reveal about such ancient people? The site explores these unsolved mysteries and makes connections to similar finds throughout the world.

tag(s): china (66), europe (75)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a learning center or station during a unit on Ancient China in a World History classroom. Because there's a lot of content on this site, try creating a guide to help students understand what's the most significant. For help creating graphic organizers easily, try Graphic Organizer Maker, (reviewed here).

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Immigration - The Changing Face of America - Library of Congress

Grades
6 to 12
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The American Memory Collection at the Library of Congress does it again with this survey of the waves of immigration that have swept the American shores. While this site has ...more
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The American Memory Collection at the Library of Congress does it again with this survey of the waves of immigration that have swept the American shores. While this site has a number of incomplete "exhibit" areas, the associated lesson plans are there, and well worth a look for those whose curricula include immigration. It may take some trial and error to find those resources that fit best.

tag(s): africa (180), african american (113), china (66), chinese (48), immigration (58), japan (61), japanese (42), migration (59)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plans and classroom activities hosted on this site! Be sure to save this one as a favorite to allow for easy retrieval later on.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Panda Central - San Diego Zoo

Grades
2 to 12
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The San Diego Zoo's panda pages offer a plethora of photos and other information about China's most reclusive citizens. Besides being undeniably cute, pandas make a great preservation...more
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The San Diego Zoo's panda pages offer a plethora of photos and other information about China's most reclusive citizens. Besides being undeniably cute, pandas make a great preservation study with some interesting international overtones. It now includes a live webcam stream of the pandas 24 hours a day

tag(s): animals (276), china (66), endangered species (38), species (29)

In the Classroom

Both elementary and secondary teachers will find this one useful.

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Celebrating Yom Kippur - Council of American Hebrew Congregations

Grades
4 to 12
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The Council of American Hebrew Congregations offers a brief explanation of this high holy day at the start of Jewish the new year, along with a description of customary holiday ...more
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The Council of American Hebrew Congregations offers a brief explanation of this high holy day at the start of Jewish the new year, along with a description of customary holiday observances.

tag(s): holidays (147), yom kippur (7)

In the Classroom

Share this information for students to use in comparing religious traditions in different cultures. Create a comparison/contrast "map" to promote cross-cultural understanding using a free online tool such as bubbl.us, reviewed here. Student groups can make their own maps or work together as a class on interactive whiteboard.

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Celebrating Rosh Hashanah - Council of American Hebrew Congregations

Grades
4 to 12
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The Council of American Hebrew Congregations offers a brief explanation of this Jewish high holy day, along with a description of customary holiday observances. ...more
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The Council of American Hebrew Congregations offers a brief explanation of this Jewish high holy day, along with a description of customary holiday observances.

tag(s): holidays (147)

In the Classroom

Include this site as a resource as you study religious traditions and celebrations of different cultures. Have students create a holidays and celebrations wiki, with different groups explaining events in different cultures. Or try writing children's books to promote cross-cultural understanding. Make the books interactive using an online tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here.

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China - Country Studies - Library of Congress

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8 to 12
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This site is part of a set of detailed cultural, political, and historical summaries created by the Library's Federal Research Service. The emphasis is on less commonly studied nations,...more
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This site is part of a set of detailed cultural, political, and historical summaries created by the Library's Federal Research Service. The emphasis is on less commonly studied nations, and the material will be challenging for some students.

tag(s): asia (73), china (66)

In the Classroom

Teachers will find these summaries useful for their comprehensive scope, which frequently includes historical and cultural background information. Much of the content is 5 or more years old, so these pages are best used for historical or background information.

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Inside China Today

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6 to 12
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This internationally published news source makes for an excellent resource for a teacher or student looking for current events in China. There's information ranging from politics, global...more
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This internationally published news source makes for an excellent resource for a teacher or student looking for current events in China. There's information ranging from politics, global news, business, technology - even pop culture. This would be useful in any classroom where a knowledge of the now was focused on.

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 site, 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 sites, 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). Great for a Government or World History class!

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China Daily

Grades
6 to 12
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This internationally published news source makes for an excellent resource for a teacher or student looking for current events in China. There's information ranging from politics, global...more
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This internationally published news source makes for an excellent resource for a teacher or student looking for current events in China. There's information ranging from politics, global news, business, technology - even pop culture. This would be useful in any classroom where a knowledge of the now was focused on.

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 site, 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 China Daily 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). Great for a Government or World History class!

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Visions of China - CNN

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6 to 12
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This site from CNN offers a look at internal and international issues affecting China, considering everything from the rise of a new middle class to the ecological impact of a ...more
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This site from CNN offers a look at internal and international issues affecting China, considering everything from the rise of a new middle class to the ecological impact of a new dam to the future of relations with the United States. While there's plenty of history here, the focus is clearly on how China fits into the current world order. Beautiful design and artwork!

tag(s): china (66), chinese (48)

In the Classroom

Save this as a favorite and use it as a learning center or station during a unit on modern china. This activity works best if students have a graphic organizer to guide them through all of the information. If in need of help with the guide, we recommend using Graphic Organizer Maker, (reviewed here). This would be a great resource for a World History or US government class.

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Chinese Garden Markets

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4 to 12
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This site is a photojournal of a tour through the Chinese countryside, noting the ways in which local "farmers' markets" contribute to the vitality of an otherwise centralized Chinese...more
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This site is a photojournal of a tour through the Chinese countryside, noting the ways in which local "farmers' markets" contribute to the vitality of an otherwise centralized Chinese economy. Interesting for its purely local and village focus, as well as for the photos showing what life in small Chinese villages really looks like.

tag(s): china (66)

In the Classroom

Use the images from this site to contribute to a class visual discovery based on the economic situation of China. Most of the images are representative of the free markets thriving in major cities, making it easy to compare and contrast with what students have seen in the US. Select 3-5 of the more stimulating images, placing them in a powerpoint presentation. Show students the slides via interactive whiteboard/projector, with students writing down what they can observe & infer about each image. After the display is complete, have a class discussion based on student findings. This would be a great review activity, allowing students to apply classroom knowledge on what they're viewing.

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Lightbox - Time

Grades
4 to 12
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Explore cutting-edge technology and video from the photo editors of Time with a daily blog from Lightbox. Time Lightbox features photos and videos of current events, behind the scenes,...more
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Explore cutting-edge technology and video from the photo editors of Time with a daily blog from Lightbox. Time Lightbox features photos and videos of current events, behind the scenes, new exhibits, books, and technology. Take another critical view of current events with photos never released or ways never portrayed. This daily, behind the scenes look, lets you know what is happening on the front lines, through photojournalism with portraits, faces, and events that are changing our history. The images give you a mix into the artistic world of photojournalism with a closer look at our world.

tag(s): cross cultural understanding (115), images (266), photography (160)

In the Classroom

Lightbox offers applications into many subject areas in the classroom. In social studies, world histories, or current events look closer at the portrayal of current events. Use this site as an anticipatory set or "activator" to introduce a unit or lesson on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Analyze the viewpoint given by the media and compare to the behind the scenes look at Lightbox. What are the stories, experiences, and effects behind the news? How does history change the lives of people? Discover multiple viewpoints that might come to life from these riveting images. Follow current events and bring them to a personal level for students. In Art classes, dive into the art of photojournalism with composition, style, space, and elements of design. Bring to life a study of current photographers portraying messages in unique manners. In Language Arts class, determine characterization, story, or details discovered in each image. Challenge students to link to one of the photos, and then narrate the photo as if it were a news report using UtellStory, reviewed here. Create audio recordings AND choose a location (on a map) where the story takes place with Woices, (reviewed here). Use images as ready-made writing prompts for current events or writing classes. Develop multiple points of view into well-known events to share, debate, and discover how people are affected. Lightbox will make any blog become dazzling and poignant. Keep students active, reflective, and involved in current events in an intriguing, visual way. ELL/ESL learners will benefit from the extra information shown in each photograph. Challenge gifted learners to analyze and synthesize current events in ways that they have yet to discover! Remember that these images are copyrighted, so the best way to display them on a blog or other web project is as a LINKED image. COPY the direct image URL by RIGHT-clicking on the image itself and choosing "copy image location" on a Mac or "Properties" on a windows computer. Most web tools allow you to insert images by URL, so you can paste the URL to make it display on your blog, wiki, UtellStory, Glog, etc.
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