Tuesday, January 19, 2010

TOTTV - Get "Cultured"

It's Tuesday and Time to Turn off the T.V. (TOTTV) and spend some quality time together! (To see why we're doing this, go here.)

Todays Topic: CULTURE

Culture: the customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group; also : the characteristic features of everyday existence (as diversions or a way of life} shared by people in a place or time (Definition by Merriam Webster courtesy of Merriam-Webster.com)

One thing I really want my children to develop is an appreciation (and open-mindedess) for people of other "cultures" and backgrounds! Because we currently live in state/city in which the citizens are predominantly-White Americans, I was initially very disappointed that my children wouldn't have opportunities to get to know people of other races and nationalities. But then I realized that, with just a bit of research, I could bring different "culture" to them!

To do this, we instituted "Culture Day" at our house. (For now, we've opted to do this monthly, but this could easily adapt to weekly, bi-monthly, etc.) It's also very fun to coordinate certain cultures with applicable holidays. For example, have Irish Culture Day the week of St. Patrick's Day, Spanish Culture Day the week of Cinco de Mayo, etc.

On Culture Day, we spend the day studying, discussing and participating in activities of a specific culture, including:

  • Reading Books about the culture (Your Local Library is an excellent resource for this...you could also research the culture on the computer, but since we are turning off our screens today, be sure to do this ahead of time and print out the information so you can read it on paper on TOTTV day!
Here are some great book ideas for a start: (taken from here)
  • Children from Australia to Zimbabwe: A Photographic Journey Around the World
    by Maya Ajmera, Anna Rhesa Versola, Marian Wright Edelman
  • Houses and Homes (Around the World Series)
    by Ann Morris, Ken Heyman (Illustrator), Ken Hayman (Photographer)
  • Children Just Like Me
    by Susan Elizabeth Copsey, Barnabas Kindersley, Anabel Kindersley, Harry Belafonte
  • Hands Around the World: 365 Creative Ways to Encourage Cultural Awareness and Global Respect (Williamson Kids Can! Series)
    by Susan Milord
  • Celebrations Around the World: A Multicultural Handbook
    by Carole S. Angell
  • Children Just Like Me: Celebrations!
    by Anabel Kindersley (Contributor), Barnabas Kindersley (Photographer)
  • Creating crafts representing items made by or relating to the culture (e.g. - the country's flag, some great examples here or your own, simplified versions of crafts found here.)
  • Listen to Music of the Culture (again, download on the computer ahead of time or check out CDs from your local library)
  • Learning the Language of the culture (this can be done learning individual words, phrases, songs, finger plays, rhymes, etc.) (Some words and phrases can be found here.)
  • Making and eating foods of the culture (an index of great recipes, listed by country, here and here) (It is fun to try a whole meal of recipes - or, for the less adventurous, start with a dessert; they are almost always yummy!)
  • Speaking with people who are members of or have experience with the culture (e.g. someone who has lived in a particular country, someone who was born and raised in a certain culture, someone who has a family member from a certain culture, etc.)
  • When Possible, Field Trips to places relating to the culture (e.g. Museum exhibit about the culture, Play or Show relating to the culture, etc)

*For Great Ideas about Teaching about Different Cultures, go here.

***To do this, get creative; Expand your definition of "culture" to simply the foods people eat and languages they speak: Learn about other Religions, Homes, Dress Styles, Hobbies and Past-times, Marriage Ceremonies, "Coming of Age" Traditions (ie Mexican Quincinera), Hygeine and Grooming Methods, etc.



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