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IMGALTTAG Volume III: Multicultural Literature: French African and Creole Writers


Négritude: A Theme for Improving Self-Image in the French Classroom for Black History Month

David Ghogomu

The aim of this curriculum, therefore, is to expose students at Taylor Allderdice and other schools with comparative student population, racial make-up and curricula content to Négritude, which provides for self-esteem and self-image improvement. Introducing the student to this theme will bring several positive learning experiences.

The primary goal is for the student to experience reading in a foreign language, viz, French. But the intent is to immerse the student in African literature of positive meaning, which is written in French. In fact, reading will be extended to include Afro-American literature that has been translated into French and falls within the context of Négritude.


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Global Concepts in Clothing – Part 1 Creating Costumes from Folktales
Patricia Gordon

We encounter myriad cultures through the diversity of our student body and the content of the productions that are staged. But we often find that pertinent information, which would add to the authenticity of the dress, is missing. Because of this, a vehicle is needed that will generate a broader awareness and understanding of how others function within their societies. This should also enlighten us on what affects their choice of clothing. Research for these facts must be done prior to each production. A specific curriculum, that addresses the issue of our diversity and its many facets, can be the instrument that will enable us to tread through a profusion of cultures.

This unit will contain a variety of topics that can be used by those who teach art, drama, history, literature and costume. Although the focus of this unit will be countries with a French-African heritage, it will be generic enough to transfer the teaching strategies to any country one wishes to research.


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African and Creole Literature for Kindergarten
Evelyn Houser

My curriculum unit will provide some experience with African and French African customs and stories through the lively medium of storytelling. The two week curriculum will immerse the class of kindergartners in the African and Creole culture by offering five stories per week for two weeks. During the weeks of hearing the various stories the students will begin to feel the enchantment with storytelling that I felt after my reading. Patrick Chamoiseau described the power of the storyteller in his introduction to Creole Folktales, where he says that to tell a story is: “To form and inform through the hypnotic power of the voice, the mystery of the spoken word.”

These stories deserve to be “told” not just read. The teacher will need to be thoroughly familiar with each story before reading it to the class. The animation that can be used if one does not totally rely on reading from the book will reap many rewards such as the students’ rapt attention and even participation as the story unfolds. When the lesson plans say “read the story” in the procedure section, it is understood that the story is read with liveliness, with gestures, and with much expression in a storytelling fashion.


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Learning about Africa through African Literature
Lynn Marsico

Seven narrative selections from African writers are presented in This curriculum, "Learning About Africa Through African Literature," seeks to broaden the scope of literature presented to middle school students. Although the literature anthologies currently used in most middle schools include a representation of dominant cultural groups in the United States, including Asian American, African American, and Hispanic, there is almost no literature from other continents. Few middle school students are introduced to the voices of African writers, living or dead. The stories and novels chosen for this unit are appropriate to middle school children in regard to language and content. They have been especially chosen to present a reality that sixth, seventh and eighth graders can relate to. The themes cover family, adolescence, friendship, women's roles, and customs. In addition, the chosen literature represents a variety of African cultures, including the West African nations of Nigeria, Guinea, Congo, and Senegal, and the Eastern African nation of Kenya.


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Speaking of Haiti
Christine O’Konski

The use of folklore in the foreign language classroom provides a vital link between linguistic proficiency and a cultural understanding of those who speak the language of study. The word folklore has its etymology in the words folk, meaning people, and lore, meaning knowledge. Folklore refers, then, to the knowledge of the people and is generally considered to be collective knowledge particular to a group of people. Generally, folklore focuses on the oral tradition and, throughout the course of history, this collective knowledge was transferred from generation to generation by the spoken word. This curricular unit will provide a means of exploring the folklore of Haiti in the foreign language classroom with an emphasis on the oral/ aural skills needed to become a proficient speaker of French. A Haitian folktale written in French has been selected. Likewise, language and culture activities have been designed to enhance the novice level language learner’s curriculum (exploratory level or first year) but the activities certainly can be adapted to suit other levels of language study.

The lessons differentiate between exploratory French and academic French. The distinction is necessary because of the amount of time I spend with each class. I intend to use this unit with all levels understanding that I will need to modify the activities somewhat. Classes at Arsenal are approximately 45 minutes long. Throughout the course of a week, I see 6th graders twice, 7th and 8th grade exploratory classes three times and my academic class five times. My emphasis in 6th grade is on word-level language use, in 7th and 8th grade exploratory on sentence-level discourse and 8th grade academic emphasizes paragraph-level discourse. As a general rule, most of my time in the exploratory setting is preparing students to comprehend the story while in the academic setting, I spend less time priming students to listen and more time engaging them in using the language of the story. Broadly speaking, the difference is between receptive and productive skill building.


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The Influence on the Arts and Culture of Latin America
Tawayne Weems

If we envisioned a Hispanic person, how would we describe that person? Can we name some famous Hispanics? These are some questions I ask my students at the beginning of every year. Most students envision a “traditional Hispanic.” They name people like Gloria Estefan, Jon Secada, Jennifer Lopez, and Rosie Parez. I then ask the students if they know who Carlton (Alfonso Ribiero) is. Most students know he is an actor/dancer. I inform my students that he is also Hispanic. We then discuss other famous Afro-Hispanics. The fact that there are Afro-Hispanics is very surprising to my students; therefore it is an issue that I feel I must address in class.

In this unit my students and I will study the African Culture in the Spanish-Speaking World. I will first introduce the African component of Latin Culture to my class. I have chosen to first look at Afro-Latina literature. We will read poetry and prose from several latino authors. The next component of this unit will be music. We will listen to music comparing the Afro-Caribbean beat to other types of Latin and African music. Dance and music go together hand in hand, so I will discuss dance next. We will look at videos with Latin dances like Salsa, Meringue, and others. I will then teach the students these dances. Finally we will look at movies pertaining to the presence of Hispanics of African descent.


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Chatham University
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IMGALTTAG Pittsburgh Teachers Institute
Jointly sponsored by Carnegie Mellon University, Chatham University and the Pittsburgh Public Schools.
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