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Published by Stefanie Fleenor

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Published by: Stefanie Fleenor on Feb 24, 2012
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02/24/2012

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Stefanie Fleenor Seminar: Spring 2012February 1, 2012
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For my Term IV assignment I have chosen to focus on the topic of Africa. Thiswas the choice for my assignment because Sam Powel Elementary School has a thematicunit for the entire school each year. This year’s thematic unit is Africa. Africa is anextremely board topic; therefore, I felt the need to scale it down. After having adiscussion with my mentor teachers and Rosa, we decided on teaching about a specifictribe in Africa. This was our final decision because our students never receive any formalSocial Studies lessons. We feel that in order for our students to be well rounded, and prepared to move to fifth grade, they need proper Social Studies lessons taught to them.After looking through books, we decided upon the Ashanti tribe of Ghana.Thereismuch literature and history onthis tribe. Our fourth graders at Powel will be able to utilize this literature to do research on their own. Another reason that we decided tochoose the Ashanti is because of their location in Ghana. One of the students in the fourthgrade has a grandmother from Ghana. After having several conversations with him, andafter reading his journal, I learned that this child has been to Ghana several times. He isone of the more quiet students in the class. In addition to be being less vocal, he has been placed in lower reading groups and math groups. I felt that choosing a tribe in a location
 
he has been can give him the opportunity to become a huge asset in the class. Hisexperiences will be beneficial to both the teachers and the students.While Rosa and I were not forced to stick with the thematic unit, we did so because our childrenhavenever seen Social Studies. This was previously stated in acultural context; however, geographically speaking, many of our students cannot evenlocate Africa on a map. If they cannot locate one of the only seven continents they willever have to know, it is crucial that their learning of geography start somewhere. Fourthgrade at Powel School is a great place to start. Rosa and I plan to teach the geography of  both Africa and Ghana. We plan to teach the terrain of Ghana. We plan to teach thecultural traditions of the Ashanti people. And we plan to teach the history of the Ashanti peoples. Almost every aspect of Social Studies is touched upon in this curriculum.Furthermore, this curriculum is embedded in math, science, and literacy too.A final reason why we felt it important to teach the Ashanti tribe to our students is because they are lacking in cultural awareness. While reading a story about a Vietnamesefamily, a photograph was discussed in which the family was sitting on pillows on thefloor. Instead of recognizing that this was a cultural difference, the students automaticallyassumed the family was poor and could not afford chairs. With this curriculum, we hopeto open the minds of the children to all cultures Furthermore, we hope to decrease judgments and biases by exposing children to the idea that there are cultures outside of the one the children are living in. These cultures have their own unique qualities, muchlike the cultures within Philadelphia.

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