It is hard to lose with these activities because students love folk tales, computer
technology, and plays. As a classroom teacher, I find that these ideas are
easy to mix, match, and remold. You don't need to do all of the activities
selected to give the students a positive experience with Africa. And, these
ideas can also be readily adapted to lessons on other cultures. All corners
of the globe have fascinating folk tales. I've also adapted the computer
presentations for studies of the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia, Indus,
and China. .
Meeting Individual Needs
Learners Many additional suggested
activities are included at the end of this lesson that will help to reinforce
the material covered and encourage further research on the topic in a creative
manner. For the visual learner, many of the activities involve hands on
Team them up with native speakers, and -- if you are fortunate enough -- bilingual
speakers, for the written and oral activities. They will, of course, enjoy
the suggested activities that require hands on expression but limited speaking
or writing. For the research and computer activities, they could work with
a partner. Research may be difficult but typing and drawing on the computer
would be no problem.
of Varied Abilities
Limit the number of activities for students who have difficulty. Pair
them with other students whenever possible. Students with greater ability
may be required to do additional activities or research in greater depth.
Links to Related Subjects
You may wish to coordinate lessons with other subjects and/or with teachers of
Create backdrops and props for the folk tale based plays. Use researched
information for authenticity.
Try your hand at paper maché to create headgear for the play. (See tips
on paper maché in the P.O.W.E.R.
Plays section of my web site.)
Africans are famous for their weavings. Try your hand at this with yarn
and homemade cardboard looms..
Reproduce maps of the countries studied adding cities, land forms, and sites of
Have the students learn the countries and capitals of Africa and be able to identify
the countries on a map. (It makes a world of difference for current events
when they can identify the news with a location.)
Give the students the delicious assignment of baking geographic cakes at home.
They may select a specific country, region, or the continent. xHershey's
kisses could be used to indicate mountains. xLet
creative and sugary juices flow to indicate major cities, rivers, and boundaries.
7 After reading
A Country Far Away by Nigel Gray to your students, have them illustrate
a class version of the book. Each student makes one page and then combine
it for your own classroom copy.
The students have read many African folk tales. Have them create their own
original folk tales with authentic details added from their research.
Sometimes the stories do not end with the words, "and they all lived happily
ever after". Many stories have harsh punishments. Write letters
to the editor of the African Times Newspaper defending or criticizing the kinds
of punishments used in the folk tales.
From issues generated in research, write articles for newsletters or newspapers,
radio and TV scripts.
Imagine the cooking fires in the village ablaze in preparation of the arriving
paramount chief. Since he is a relative, you know his favorite dish. Grab
your cookbook, run to the bush (or grocery store), and gather what is needed for
the meal. Bring samples for your favorite teacher and fellow classmates.
Create a timeline to record the history of the country that was researched.
Use the research of the region to create a travel brochure. Include photos,
drawings, daily life activities the tourist will join, weather, food, and what
clothes to bring -- just to name a few ideas.
Research the pros and cons of the European colonization of Africa. What
are the different perspectives of the groups involved? How are the effects
still felt in Africa today? (the legacy of apartheid, arbitrary national
borders, to name a few)
Oral presentations (debates / games / interviews / panel discussions / plays or
skits / simulations)
16 Have the students write rap songs dealing
with the issues they studied.
17 Photocopy a map of a specific country,
region, or the continent of Africa. XDraw a grid
over the photocopy.x Then, on a sheet of poster paper,
produce a larger grid to scale.x Replicate the information
on the photocopy one square at a time to produce an accurate enlargement.
the Web for additional information to expand the classroom "hot list"
of relevant WWW resources. Write an annotation describing what the Web
site offers to assist other students in their research.
Create African related video tapes (creative drama / editorial / documentary)