Reflecting on Your Practice
- What are some skills that you integrate when teaching geography and culture? How do you decide which skills to include?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of teaching an integrated curriculum?
- How do you make sure the requisite skill and content standards are addressed when integrating curriculum from other disciplines? Or is the integrated work considered "add on" to the primary subject matter?
- What topics and skills in your curriculum lend themselves to hands-on learning? What activities have you found successful at teaching abstract concepts?
- Give an example of a lesson in which you integrate other areas of the curriculum with social studies. How do you plan for such lessons?
Taking It Back to Your Classroom
- Choose hands-on activities related to the study of China, and link them to other areas of the curriculum. For example, ask students to make a replica of the Great Wall of China while learning about its history. Students could also study the Chinese New Year, make silk-screen prints, practice drawing Chinese characters, and create a display or presentation to teach other children or adults about China.
- Visit a museum with your students to study the art and relics of China. Have your students make a classroom exhibit displaying reproductions of cultural and historical Chinese artifacts.
- Use papier-mâché to make topographical maps of a region of the world. Encourage students and parents to work together on this geography/art project.
- As you study different countries, ask students to keep the products of their activities (such as maps) and put them in a scrapbook. Students will also enjoy comparing information about different countries (for example, form of government, major religions, official language, and statistics such as area, population, average education, average life span, and so on). Have students enter information from two or three countries into a spreadsheet and convert the data into a graph.
- After studying a particular region, ask students to create promotional materials about the place. Then have students write to the tourist bureau, government information agency, or chamber of commerce to get brochures, maps, and other information about the place they are studying. Ask students to examine the materials to determine what factors the host country, city, or town believes are important, and to compare these materials with the ones they created.
- Invite students to exchange letters or e-mails with students from a school in China or another distant region they are studying. Have students begin to explore the similarities and differences between themselves and their new pen pals.
For related print materials and Web sites, see Resources.