Copyright 2000
by Phillip Martin
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H. And It Works!     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.        .

I. Meeting Individual Needs

Visual 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 expression.

ESL Learners     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.

Learners 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.

J. Links to Related Subjects       You may wish to coordinate lessons with other subjects and/or with teachers of other disciplines.

     Create backdrops and props for the folk tale based plays.  Use researched information for authenticity.
2     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.)
3     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 interests.
5     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.)
6     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.

    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.
8     The students have read many African folk tales.  Have them create their own original folk tales with authentic details added from their research.
9    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.
10     From issues generated in research, write articles for newsletters or newspapers, radio and TV scripts.

Home Economics
    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.

12   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.
14    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)
15    Oral presentations (debates / games / interviews / panel discussions / plays or skits / simulations)

  Have the students write rap songs dealing with the issues they studied.

  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.

Search 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)

Bushmask2j.jpg (2229 bytes) Objectives
Bushmask2j.jpg (2229 bytes)Activity One
Bushmask2j.jpg (2229 bytes)Standards