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CultureGrams: Faces of the World Interviews

Gabon Interview via ProQuest CultureGrams

Our Faces of the World Interviews are one of the most popular features in CultureGrams. Users enjoy learning about how ordinary individuals–both adults and children–within a particular country see the world, what they do each day, what they worry about, what matters to them, etc. The interviews provide an intimate glimpse into what daily life is like for these people. Occasionally, however, users have questions about some of the content in the interviews. So we would like to clarify our editorial policy as it relates to the Faces of the World Interviews.

  1. The interviews represent the views of native inhabitants of various countries around the world. They are a reflection of how those individuals see their lives and the countries and cultures they live in. We don’t edit the interviews for content unless there is something that is incomprehensible or unless they say something that would be inappropriate for our users. As much as possible, we try to preserve the original voice and thoughts of the interviewees, only editing for clarity’s sake, as needed.
  2. Although our collection of interviews is growing, the total number is still relatively small (400+), so we make no claims that the small number of interviews we offer per country are necessarily representative of majority views within a particular country. These people speak for themselves. We expect that there will be greater variety as we add more interviews, but there is no way that a small number of interviews can adequately represent the whole or capture the diversity of opinion and experience within an entire country.
  3. In a few rare instances, users have suggested that some of the opinions represented in the interviews are overly negative. However,  as noted above, the goal of these interviews is to have real people tell us what their daily lives are like and what matters to them. It is their opinions that count when it comes to the interviews, not ours. Also, our goal with CultureGrams more broadly isn’t about promoting any particular country.  Instead, we aim to capture some of the diversity of human experience and to do so honestly. And we attempt to present this information as fairly and objectively as we can.

New Micronesia Interviews on CultureGrams

Images by: Karyn Sorenson [via CultureGrams Gallery]

Here at CultureGrams, we are continuously adding a variety of new and interesting content to our product. We most recently added two new interviews from The Federated States of Micronesia.

CultureGrams features a collection of over 400 interviews that reflect the experiences and perspectives of people from around the world. Be sure to keep an eye out for more new interviews coming this year!

Here are two excerpts from our newest CultureGrams interviews:

Wilika, age 17 from Chuuk, Micronesia

“Since I grew up here on my island, I love to eat local food made from what we grow on my island. One of my favorites is mashed taro, which looks like mashed potatoes except it is more reddish in color. Mashed taro is one of the main common dishes for people on my island, especially the older people. These are still the favorite for many people from my island who live in Guam, Hawaii, and the United States mainland. They always ask their family to bring these when they travel.”

 

Henry, age 50 from Weno, Micronesia

“There is a great difference for me as opposed to how my parents grew up on this island. The ways of life are completely different. The culture is slowly changing and there is greater mobility, as many people leave their homes and relocate to the city center, where they can find better employment opportunities, education, and health care. The way of life has slowly evolved, and some cultural traditions are breaking down. For example, the extended family, which was once highly regarded, is drifting apart as immediate families adopt more Western living styles. There is also more cultural integration as we pick up elements from the cultures we come into contact with.”

 

Find more interviews from countries all over the world in the CultureGrams Interviews gallery!

Don’t have CultureGrams? Request a free trial.

CultureGrams States Edition Scavenger Hunt

This is the third in a series of fun scavenger hunts that our editorial staff has created to help students learn more about the resources available to them in CultureGrams. The first hunt was designed to familiarize users with the World Edition. Then we created one for the Kids Edition. Now this newest scavenger hunt is for the States Edition. By working through these eighteen questions, either in groups or individually, students will learn about the state reports in the database, what categories of information are available, what supplemental features there are, how to cite CultureGrams as a source, and much more. And when students have completed the scavenger hunt, they will be much better prepared to do their own research in CultureGrams to prepare a presentation, create a poster, or write an essay because they will know what information the product has to offer them to do their work.

States Edition Scavenger Hunt

*The information in parentheses after each item indicates where the answer can be found.

  1. List four of the rivers shown on the USA physical map (States Edition landing page – USA Maps)
  2. What are runza or bierocks? (Nebraska Recipes)
  3. What are the states that have the five highest populations of American Indians & Alaska Natives as a percentage of their total population? (Build-Your-Own Comparison Tables)
  4. What animal is at the center of the Wyoming flag? (Flag Gallery)
  5. What two famous astronauts came from Ohio. (Ohio – Famous People)
  6. What happened in 1853 in California? (California – Time Line)
  7. What is the state bird of Rhode Island and where in CultureGrams can you hear its song? (Rhode Island – State Symbols)
  8. What are the average high and low summer temperatures in Mississippi? (Mississippi – Climate)
  9. On what holiday did Nevada become a state in 1864? (Nevada landing page)
  10. Who was “the Wizard of Menlo Park” and what is he famous for? (New Jersey – The Wizard of Menlo Park)
  11. How many counties does South Dakota have? (South Dakota Government)
  12. What were the first four states to be added to the Union? (Graphs and Tables – Statehood)
  13. Where would you find a printable outline map of Illinois to label? (Illinois landing page – Map)
  14. How far is it from Seattle, Washington to Miami, Florida? (Washington – Distance Calculator)
  15. Hawaii is the only U.S. state where _________ are the largest racial group and __________ are a minority. (Hawaii – Population)
  16. What made Model T cars more popular than previous cars? (Michigan – The Model T and Motor City)
  17. If you were compiling a bibliography of sources for your report on Vermont, and you needed to create a correct MLA citation for the information on Vermont’s maple syrup, what would it look like? (Vermont – Maple Syrup)
  18. Which U.S. state would you most like to visit on vacation and why?

To find the correct answers, check in the comments area. And be sure to let us know how the scavenger hunt works for your classes.

Let’s Debate…Federal Funding of the Arts

Federal funding of the arts–which encompasses visual art, performing arts, cultural events and programming, public television, public radio, and more–has been a politically debated issue for decades. Want to learn more about both sides? Check out the infographic below. Then explore more by visiting SIRS Researcher‘s new Leading Issue Public Funding of the Arts.

 

SIRS Issues Researcher is a pro/con database that helps students understand today’s controversial political issues with editorially selected analysis and opinions that cover the entire spectrum of viewpoints.

Don’t have SIRS Issues Researcher? Free trials are available.

SIRS Discoverer: Pro/Con Leading Issues

It is important for elementary and middle school students to develop critical thinking and research skills. Often students are tasked with a research project on a controversial or difficult topic. To fulfill this need, SIRS Discoverer offers a Pro/Con Leading Issues feature that will help young researchers navigate through 60 debated social issues. Each topic lists several viewpoint articles where students can click through to full-text content. These articles provide context that help kids understand the viewpoints on these issues. In addition to articles, editorially-selected photos and political cartoons provide a visual perspective. Since editors create and maintain the topics, educators can be confident that the content will be reliable.

SIRS Discoverer Pro/Con Leading Issues

Each issue contains:

Topic Overview
Terms to Know
Essential Question
More Viewpoints
Visual Literacy
Critical Thinking Questions

As mentioned in an earlier blog post, Pro/Con Leading Issues is also one of the most popular features in the SIRS Discoverer product. We have heard from several media specialists and librarians that when a student is undecided on a subject to research, browsing through the topics often sparks an idea.

We realize the value of keeping the topics updated and so we have added 5 new topics to our Pro/Con Leading Issues feature at the start of the new school year:

Electoral College
Gender Identity
Health Care
Refugees
Vaccines

Educators, do your students use the Pro/Con Leading Issues feature?
Tweet #ProQuest #SIRSDiscoverer

Don’t have SIRS Discoverer? Request a free trial.

 

Teaching Activity: Regional Food Tour

A spread of Moroccan appetizers, which include dishes made from tomatoes and squash to potatoes and beans. (Fes, Morocco, October 2006) Image Source: Aaron Thompson

Did you know that CultureGrams features country-specific recipes for each of its 209 country reports? The following activity explores cuisines from around the world. This activity comes from the CultureGrams Teaching Activities PDF, which features more than 70 activities to help teachers make the most of our country, state, and province reports.

Grade level

9–12

Objective:

In this teaching activity, students compare foods from different continents and write about what they’ve learned. See the Teaching Activites PDF for Common Core and other national curriculum standards met by this activity.

Time requirement

Preparation: 30 minutes

In-class: 1 hour and 30 minutes, two different days

Materials

CultureGrams World Edition

CultureGrams Online Edition—Recipe Collection CultureGrams Online Edition—Interviews

Instructions

  1. Ask each student to select four countries, each from a different continent, for which there are corresponding interviews. To save time, you may wish to select these yourself. (For an index of all available interviews, access the main Interviews page.)
  2. Using the CultureGrams World Edition, have the students read the Diet section for each of their selected countries. They may also access the Recipe Collection to learn more about typical
  3. Ask each student to read one interview for each of the four countries he or she has What has each interviewee identified as a favorite food or foods?
  4. Have the students write a one-paragraph response essay identifying which of the four countries’ cuisine seems most appetizing to them. Of all the dishes described—in the World Edition Diet sections, Recipes, or Interviews—which would they most like to try?
  5. In a second short response essay, have the students compare the cuisine from the different continents. How did they differ? What staple foods, dishes, or popular ingredients were unique to one continent?

Extension activity

Have the students select a recipe from the Recipe Collection to make at home and bring to class. You may wish to select a limited number of options beforehand that have simple instructions and readily available ingredients.

Below are some photos of meals from the CultureGrams photo gallery.

This meal in Barbados includes curried chicken and lamb with okra and chickpeas. Bajan food is, for the most part, a unique combination of African and English traditions. (Bridgetown, Barbados, December 2015) Image Source: Joshua Ligairi

Fresh avocado, limes, crispy tortillas, soupy black beans, and a variety of sauces—all of these elements accompany the main focus of a classic Mexican meal: the taco. (Mexico City, Mexico, September 2008) Image Source: Peter Stone

This pub meal consists of pork sausages, peas, and Yorkshire pudding—a traditional English food made primarily of flour, eggs, and milk. (Newcastle, England, United Kingdom, October 2006) Image Source: Adam Blackwell

Mohinga is a soup that is eaten for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It is made of rice noodles, catfish, and spices and garnished with lime, cilantro, and peanuts. (Mae Sot, Thailand, June 2010) Image Source: CultureGrams

A simple dinner of rice, fish, and fried plantain is served in a Brazilian restaurant. (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, March 2007) Image Source: CultureGrams

 

Let’s Debate…Education Reform

Education reform, particularly federal spending on public education, has been a political hot-button issue since the 1960s. Questions that were asked then are the same that are debated now: Do the funds provided by the Department of Education improve students’ learning environments and opportunities, or do they simply allow states to decrease money allocated to education? Does federal funding advance education in public schools, or does it stifle public schools with regulations and oversight?

Check out Let’s Debate…Education Reform below for an overview of the topic. Also visit the SKS Spotlight of the Month, which explores the 2017-2018 National High School Debate Topic: The United States federal government should substantially increase its funding and/or regulation of elementary and/or secondary education in the United States.

 

CultureGrams: The Importance of Maps

World Map via CultureGrams

Have you ever thought about why maps are so important? Maps can help orient us. They can tell us where we are and where we want to go. Maps can help us find things. They offer a visual way to comprehend the world we live in and even worlds beyond ours. They provide perspective from high up or at a micro level.  They can be valuable in providing context, making comparisons, identifying connections or patterns, and even in predicting what lies ahead. Whether in the classroom or outside it, maps are valuable tools for teaching and learning. No wonder that developing map skills is a part of Common Core and other national and state curriculum standards.

Gabon Detail Map via CultureGrams

 

In CultureGrams you’ll find a wide variety of maps to help users learn. There are simple maps, physical maps, political maps, regional maps, detail maps, and county maps. And there are outline maps that are not only useful in their own right, but that students can use to create their own maps to reflect what they find interesting about a particular region, country, state,or province.

Denmark Outline Map via CultureGrams

To add further value to the wide variety of CultureGrams maps, our editorial staff has created a number of map-related learning activities that teachers can use for in-class projects or homework assignments. Students can use maps to understand the worldwide popularity of soccer in The World Game, as part of a “Geography Bee.” Or they can learn more about the impact of colonialism in Africa and elsewhere through such activities as “Colonization of Africa” or “Cricket and Colonization.”

SIRS Discoverer Spotlight of the Month: Celebrate Canada

This July marks the 150th anniversary of the formation of the Canadian Confederation. Canada was just four provinces in 1867 and has now grown into ten provinces and three territories that reach from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans and go north to Arctic region. Canada is the second-largest country in the world. While the British monarch is head of state, the crown has no real power. Canada has two official languages: English and French. Students can learn all about Canada with the resources available on SIRS Discoverer.

Our Canada Facts offer snapshots of each Canadian province and territory. Canada Facts contain maps, flags, general statistics and links for further information.

Being such a beautiful and diverse country Canada has many points of geography worth exploring.

Located in northeastern Canada, Hudson Bay is home to polar bears that are believed to be impacted by global warming.

Polar Bears in Hudson Bay
Image from Pixabay

Spotted Lake in Canada’s Okanagan Valley is an unusual body of water with mineral “dots” in its basin.

Spotted Lake
Photo by anthropodermic via flickr is licensed under CCA-SA 2.0 Generic

The St. Lawrence River is an important trade route between the United States and Canada.

St. Lawrence River
By Abxbay (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Educators, how will you spotlight Canada with your students? Tweet us at #ProQuest.

Don’t have SIRS Discoverer? Request a free trial.

New Burkina Faso Photos and Slideshows Added!

We’ve recently added new media to our Burkina Faso country report, including more than 35 gallery photos and 5 new slideshows. Come have a look! CultureGrams has over 20,000 photos across its 209 country reports, in addition to hundreds of slideshows.

Burkinabè children stand next to a reservoir in Djibo. Image credit: Salym Fayad

A young boy poses for a picture in the northern town of Djibo. He wears a protective amulet around his neck known locally as a gris-gris. Image credit: Salym Fayad

Women pose at their street-food stall at a Sunday afternoon market in central Ouagadougou. Image credit: Salym Fayad

A Burkinabè girl stands for a portrait. Image credit: Salym Fayad

Young boys hold up a board with verses from the Qurʾan written on it. Young Islamic students memorize the Arabic verses by copying the sentences onto their boards. Image credit: Salym Fayad