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Bring Your Peace Corps Experience Home With

Speakers Match

Handbook for RPCVs


AMY AND GREG CLARK, RETURNED VOLUNTEERS FROM NEPAL
1 |  SPEAKERS MATCH HANDBOOK FOR RETURNED PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEERS

Welcome to Speakers Match

As a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (RPCV), sharing your story is at the heart of fulfilling
Peace Corps’ third goal: helping Americans develop a better understanding of other cultures. On
behalf of World Wise Schools, our participating teachers and their students, thank you for your
willingness to share your unique Peace Corps experience!

The purpose of this handbook is to help make your Speakers Match participation as smooth,
meaningful, and enjoyable as possible. It includes tips for communicating with the teacher prior
to your visit, a template for helping you structure your visit, and suggestions for age-appropriate
topics and classroom activities.

In addition to using these resources, we encourage you to visit the section of the Peace Corps
website entitled Third Goal at www.peacecorps.gov/thirdgoal. Here you can register your
Speakers Match event as an official third goal activity and receive a free kit of Peace Corps
materials to share with your student audience.

We hope these resources will be helpful in guiding you through your classroom visit, and that
your participation in Speakers Match will provide an enjoyable and rewarding way to share your
Peace Corps story.

Please make sure we have your most current address, phone number, and email so we can contact
you with speaker requests. To update your information, of if you have questions about Speakers
Match, please contact World Wise Schools at wwsinfo@peacecorps.gov.

Coverdell World Wise Schools website: www. peacecorps.gov/wws email: wwsinfo@peacecorps.gov


2 |  SPEAKERS MATCH HANDBOOK FOR RETURNED PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEERS

Table of Contents
Welcome to Speakers Match 1

Preparing for Your Classroom Visit 3

Planning Your Presentation 4

Activity Suggestions K–2nd grade 5

Activity Suggestions 3rd–5th grade 8

Activity Suggestions 6th–8th grade 12

Activity Suggestions 9th–12th grade 16

Activity Suggestions College Classrooms 19

Tips for a Successful Presentation 21

Learn From Other RPCV Speakers 22

Celebrating Your Success 23

Coverdell World Wise Schools website: www. peacecorps.gov/wws email: wwsinfo@peacecorps.gov


3 |  SPEAKERS MATCH HANDBOOK FOR RETURNED PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEERS

Preparing for Your Classroom Visit


About Today’s Classroom


Many of today’s effective classrooms share the following characteristics, which may be helpful to
keep in mind as you plan your presentation:

o Lessons are interactive and “hands-on.” Students are often seated in groups and
participate in their learning through discussions and group activities.
o Lessons are often interdisciplinary, pulling together essential ideas from several subject
areas. (Language arts, geography, and science, for example.)
o Teachers encourage creative thinking and problem-solving.
o Classes are diverse, containing a range of ability levels and cultural backgrounds. Lessons
reflect an active appreciation of students’ diverse talents, experiences, and heritage.

Communicate with the Teacher


Your classroom visit will be most successful if you and the teacher both have clear goals and
expectations and have communicated to develop a plan for your visit.

Contact the teacher to find out:


o What topics have the students been learning that your presentation might connect to?
o What is the age or grade level of the students?
o How many students will you be addressing? Where will the students be located
(classroom, auditorium, etc.)?
o How much time will you have?
o Are there any special needs or behavioral issues you should take into consideration?
o If necessary, what resources or technology are available?

Have the teacher fill out this guide to help in the planning and implementation of your
presentation.

Coverdell World Wise Schools website: www. peacecorps.gov/wws email: wwsinfo@peacecorps.gov


4 |  SPEAKERS MATCH HANDBOOK FOR RETURNED PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEERS

Planning Your Presentation

After communicating with the teacher, develop


a plan for your presentation. Choose a topic
that both you and the students will enjoy.

After developing your presentation, contact the


teacher again to share your plan and find out if
it seems appropriate for the audience you will
be addressing and the teacher’s goals for your
visit.

• Planning Your Classroom Visit


• Activity Suggestions for:
o Kindergarten–2nd grade
o 3rd–5th grade
o 6th–8th grade
o 9th–12th grade

Coverdell World Wise Schools website: www. peacecorps.gov/wws email: wwsinfo@peacecorps.gov


5 |  SPEAKERS MATCH HANDBOOK FOR RETURNED PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEERS

Activity Suggestions
K–2 grade nd

What should I know about this What could I bring with me?
audience? You may want to bring:
Students typically: • Items you brought back from your host
• Are between 5-8 years old country (especially things students can
• Learn new information best when it touch)
is connected to their own experiences • Clothing typical in your host country
(e.g., Can you think of a time when • A book or example of writing in the
you heard someone speaking another language of your host country
language?) • Photographs* showing your life in your
• Are eager to respond to questions and host country
will often do so by sharing personal • Music* from your host country
stories • Videos* you took in your host country
• Are interested in the ways they are
similar to, and different from, others *Be sure to ask the teacher about the
• Do best when instructions for activities availability of projectors, speakers, or any
are clear and concise technology you may need, or arrange to bring
• Enjoy opportunities to move, handle these items yourself
materials, and interact with peers

Coverdell World Wise Schools website: www. peacecorps.gov/wws email: wwsinfo@peacecorps.gov


6 |  SPEAKERS MATCH HANDBOOK FOR RETURNED PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEERS

What topics could I share? What types of activities could I do with


Topics related to your host country and its the students?
culture: Using objects and artifacts
• Lives of children in your host country Objects can be a great way to engage students.
(typical school day, work and play, They spark curiosity, and provide hands-on
families) learning opportunities. Select artifacts that
• A popular children’s song, story, or represent your Peace Corps experience. They
game from your host country might be things that you used in daily life, that
• Weather and climate; plant and animal were created by people in your country, or that
life in your host country have special significance to you. Think about
• Your home and neighbors in your host what would be most interesting to students about
country these objects. Why did you bring them home? Do
• Food and mealtimes; how people you still use them? What would you like students
obtain, prepare, and eat their food to understand about your experience that the
• A festival or celebration in your host objects can help them understand? Think about
country including modern objects from your country as
• Interesting facts about your country well as traditional ones.
such as the money, national anthem,
flag, and dances Suggested activity:
Peace Corps Backpack
Topics related to your service: Choose 5-8 objects to place in your backpack
• Your job or area of service; something that represent how you lived in your host
new you had to learn in order to country (e.g., bucket for fetching water; book
perform it for teaching school; candle for light at night;
• A way that you helped someone in your clothing from host country; soccer ball for
host country; a way someone helped playing games).
you
• Something important you learned from Ask students about what they pack in their
being a Peace Corps Volunteer backpacks to get ready for their day. Ask what
they think they would need to pack to get ready
for a trip to another country. Allow students to
remove one item at a time from your backpack.
Can they guess what it is? Why did you need
it? Allow opportunities for interaction with the
objects, such as letting a student try on a piece
of clothing. As you discuss the items, encourage
students to share ideas and ask questions.

Using photos
Photographs, videos, and visuals are also
a great way to engage students with your
story. They are an excellent starting point for

Coverdell World Wise Schools website: www. peacecorps.gov/wws email: wwsinfo@peacecorps.gov


7 |  SPEAKERS MATCH HANDBOOK FOR RETURNED PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEERS

children to begin learning about another place or story that takes place in your country.
and culture. Many students will have little Stories can tap into children’s imagination
knowledge about your country, so images and creativity, and allow them to make an
will help students understand what life is like emotional connection to people in a distant
there. You could select photographs that relate country. Stories can help students understand
to a certain theme – food, living conditions, and appreciate other cultures and regions, and
geography/climate, your project work, etc. see universal characteristics of humanity. You
You can put them in a slide show, or perhaps could discuss storytelling in your country: Who
ask the teacher to make copies so the students tells stories? When and where do people gather
can look at them more closely. Encourage to listen to stories? What stories are told over
children to make connections between and over?
themselves and the people in the picture.
Suggested approaches to storytelling:
Suggested activity: • Use a puppet to tell the story. Puppets
Photos Tell a Story can also be used to help create
As you tell your story and show your pictures discussion by asking questions either
to the students, ask them to imagine they are to you or the students.
in the photos, and to make observations using • Create an unusual story time by having
their senses. Pretend you are in this photo. the students sit around an imaginary
What do you hear? What do you smell? What camp fire to listen to your story. Try to
do you think is around you that is not in the create a memory for the students.
picture? What are you feeling? Students could • Have the class create an art piece
imagine a dialogue taking place in the picture, representing the story; this can be
write captions for the picture, or draw another based on the characters in the story,
picture that they think would fit in this set. such as creating life size drawings,
what they think happens next in the
You could use photographs to compare story, or even a book jacket design for
aspects of daily life in your host country the story.
with the students’ daily lives. What are the • Bring a box of props to accompany
similarities and differences in how we do your story and use them throughout
the daily activity? Why do you think those your reading.
differences exist? • Help students identify with the
story. Think of the emotions that
Using stories are illustrated by your story: fear,
Stories can provide an excellent learning confusion, happiness, etc. Ask the
opportunity for students. You could tell a students to think of a time when they
folktale or story that was frequently told felt this emotion–what caused it, and
in your community, or read a picture book how they responded to it.

Coverdell World Wise Schools website: www. peacecorps.gov/wws email: wwsinfo@peacecorps.gov


8 |  SPEAKERS MATCH HANDBOOK FOR RETURNED PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEERS

Activity Suggestions
3 –5 grade
rd th

What could I bring with me?


You may want to bring:
• Items you brought back from your host
country (especially things students can
touch)
• Clothing typical in your host country
• A book or example of writing in the
language of your host country
• Photographs* showing your life in your
host country
• Music* from your host country
• Videos* you took in your host country

*Be sure to ask the teacher about the


availability of projectors, speakers, or any
technology you may need, or arrange to bring
these items yourself

What topics could I share?


What should I know about this Topics related to your host country and its
audience? culture:
Students typically: • Lives of children in your host country
• Are between 7 -11 years old (typical school day, work and play,
• Learn new information best when it is families)
connected to their own experiences • A popular children’s song, story, or
• Enjoy hands-on activities, games, and game from your host country
opportunities to discuss ideas with • Weather and climate; plant and animal
peers life in your host country
• Are usually able to work well with • Ecology of your host country and local
peers in small groups environmental concerns
• Are interested in others and will likely • Family relationships; roles and views
be curious about you (your present life of children, teens, adults, elders;
as well as your Peace Corps experience) gender roles
• Enjoy opportunities to ask questions • Your home and neighbors in your host
in response to information shared by country
others • Food and mealtimes; how people

Coverdell World Wise Schools website: www. peacecorps.gov/wws email: wwsinfo@peacecorps.gov


9 |  SPEAKERS MATCH HANDBOOK FOR RETURNED PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEERS

obtain, prepare, and eat their food Suggested activities:


• A festival or celebration in your host
country Peace Corps Backpack
• Interesting facts about your country Choose 5-8 objects to place in your backpack
such as the money, national anthem, that represent how you lived in your host
flag, and dances country (e.g., bucket for fetching water; book
for teaching school; candle for light at night;
Topics related to your service: clothing from host country; soccer ball for
• Your job or area of service; something playing games).
new you had to learn in order to
perform it Ask students about what they pack in their
• A way that you helped someone in your backpacks to get ready for their day. Ask what
host country; a way someone helped they think they would need to pack to get ready
you for a trip to another country. Allow students to
• Something important you learned from remove one item at a time from your backpack.
being a Peace Corps Volunteer Can they guess what it is? Why did you need
• Your volunteer experience from it? Allow opportunities for interaction with the
when you were younger; how this objects, such as letting a student try on a piece
encouraged you to consider Peace of clothing. As you discuss the items, encourage
Corps students to share ideas and ask questions.
• A funny situation

What types of activities could I do with


the students?
Using objects and artifacts
Objects can be a great way to engage students.
They spark curiosity, and provide hands-on
learning opportunities. Select artifacts that
represent your Peace Corps experience. They
might be things that you used in daily life, that
were created by people in your country, or that
have special significance to you. Think about
what would be most interesting to students about
these objects. Why did you bring them home? Do
you still use them? What would you like students
to understand about your experience that the
objects can help them understand? Think about
including modern objects from your country as
well as traditional ones.

Coverdell World Wise Schools website: www. peacecorps.gov/wws email: wwsinfo@peacecorps.gov


10 |  SPEAKERS MATCH HANDBOOK FOR RETURNED PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEERS

Museum in the Classroom Suggested activities:


Place 8-10 objects or pictures from your host
country and your Peace Corps experience Photos Tell a Story
around the room (e.g. book in another As you tell your story and show your pictures
language, eating utensil, clothing, photo of your to the students, ask them to imagine they are
service site). Write a question to place next to in the photos, and to make observations using
each object (e.g. What do you think this is used their senses. Pretend you are in this photo.
for? What do you think this is made out of? What do you hear? What do you smell? What
Why do you think I needed this every day?) do you think is around you that is not in the
picture? What are you feeling? Students could
Split students into groups of 2-3. Allow groups imagine a dialogue taking place in the picture,
one minute to visit each object, and then rotate write captions for the picture, or draw another
clockwise to the next one. Groups should write picture that they think would fit in this set.
down responses to the questions you placed
next to the objects, then come back together You could use photographs to compare aspects
as a whole group to discuss the objects and of daily life in your host country with the
their significance. As you talk about the items, students’ daily lives. What are the similarities
incorporate stories about your life in your host and differences in how we do the daily
country and your service. activity? Why do you think those differences
exist?
Using photos
Photographs, videos, and visuals are also Peace Corps Photo Story
a great way to engage students with your Select several different photographs from
story. They are an excellent starting point your Peace Corps experience and group them
for children to begin learning about another together. Have students work in small groups,
place and culture. Many students will have and give each group a set of photos. Ask the
little knowledge about your country, so images students to study the photos carefully and
will help students understand what life is like make observations. What do you notice about
there. You could select photographs that relate the people? The geography? What else do you
to a certain theme: food, living conditions, see?
geography/climate, your project work, etc. You
can put them in a slide show, or perhaps ask Have students discuss the photos and create a
the teacher to make copies so the students can story. They should put the photos in the order
look at them more closely. Encourage children they think makes sense, and develop a story.
to make connections between themselves and They could include conversations that might be
the people in the picture. taking place in their story.

Coverdell World Wise Schools website: www. peacecorps.gov/wws email: wwsinfo@peacecorps.gov


11 |  SPEAKERS MATCH HANDBOOK FOR RETURNED PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEERS

Using stories students to think of a time when they


Stories can provide an excellent learning felt this emotion–what caused it, and
opportunity for students. You could tell a how they responded to it.
folktale or story that was frequently told • Does your story involve some kind of
in your community, or read a picture book conflict or problem? Stop mid-way
or story that takes place in your country. through the story and ask students to
Stories can tap into children’s imagination brainstorm solutions to the problem.
and creativity, and allow them to make an Then finish the story and discuss how
emotional connection to people in a distant the outcome compared to what they
country. Stories can help students understand were expecting.
and appreciate other cultures and regions, and • Think about themes. What themes or
see universal characteristics of humanity. You “morals” are told through this story?
could discuss storytelling in your country: Who What stories do we use in our culture
tells stories? When and where do people gather to teach that same theme? Once the
to listen to stories? What stories are told over themes have been identified, have
and over? students write their own stories that
teach the same lesson or moral.
Suggested approaches to storytelling: • Have the class create an art piece
• Bring a box of props to accompany representing the story; this can be
your story and use them throughout based on the characters in the story,
your reading. such as creating life size drawings,
• Help students identify with the what they think happens next in the
story: Think of the emotions that story, or even a book jacket design for
are illustrated by your story: fear, the story.
confusion, happiness, etc. Ask the

Coverdell World Wise Schools website: www. peacecorps.gov/wws email: wwsinfo@peacecorps.gov


12 |  SPEAKERS MATCH HANDBOOK FOR RETURNED PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEERS

Activity Suggestions
6 –8 grade
th th

What should I know about this


audience?
Students typically:
• Are between 10-14 years old
• Are curious, energetic, and idealistic
• Learn new information best when it is
connected to their own experiences
• Prefer active learning experiences and
opportunities to interact with peers
• Are moving from concrete to abstract
thinking
• Enjoy solving “real world” problems

What could I bring with me?


You may want to bring:
• Items you brought back from your host
country (especially things students can
touch)
• Clothing typical in your host country
• A book or example of writing in the
language of your host country
• Photographs* showing your life in your
host country
• Music* from your host country What topics could I share?
• Videos* you took in your host country Topics related to your host country and its
culture:
*Be sure to ask the teacher about the • Lives of children and adolescents in
availability of projectors, speakers, or any your host country (typical school day,
technology you may need, or arrange to bring work and play, families)
these items yourself • Your home and neighbors in your host
country
• Food and mealtimes; how people
obtain, prepare, and eat their food
• Ecology of your host country and local
environmental concerns
• Family relationships; roles and views

Coverdell World Wise Schools website: www. peacecorps.gov/wws email: wwsinfo@peacecorps.gov


13 |  SPEAKERS MATCH HANDBOOK FOR RETURNED PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEERS

of children, teens, adults, elders; you still use them? What would you like students
gender roles to understand about your experience that the
• A cultural difference to which you had objects can help them understand? Think about
to adjust including modern objects from your country as
• What school is like for children in your well as traditional ones.
host country
Museum in the Classroom
Topics related to your service: Place 8-10 objects or pictures from your host
• Your job or area of service; something country and your Peace Corps experience
new you had to learn in order to around the room (e.g. book in another
perform it language, eating utensil, clothing, photo of your
• Something important you learned from service site). Write a question to place next to
being a Peace Corps Volunteer each object (e.g. What do you think this is used
• When and why you became interested for? What do you think this is made out of?
in joining Peace Corps Why do you think I needed this every day?)
Split students into groups of 2-3. Allow groups
• Something that was especially one minute to visit each object, and then rotate
challenging but rewarding for you in clockwise to the next one. Groups should write
your work down responses to the questions you placed
• Your volunteer experience from next to the objects, then come back together
when you were younger; how this as a whole group to discuss the objects and
encouraged you to consider Peace their significance. As you talk about the items,
Corps incorporate stories about your life in your host
• How your service changed your country and your service.
perspective on something
• The role of your counterpart or other What I Took With Me;
host country nationals with whom you What I Brought Back
worked Prepare two backpacks, each containing 5-6
• A funny situation objects. The first backpack (What I Took)
should contain objects representing your
What types of activities could I do with preparations for living in your host country
the students? (e.g. language dictionary, map, pictures of
Using objects and artifacts family). The second should contain objects
Objects can be a great way to engage students. representing what you brought back or
They spark curiosity, and provide hands-on learned from your experience (e.g. cultural
learning opportunities. Select artifacts that expressions/artwork; a picture of a project
represent your Peace Corps experience. They site; a book you read in a new language; etc.)
might be things that you used in daily life, that Discuss how life in Peace Corps changed your
were created by people in your country, or that perspective. Relate to students’ lives by asking
have special significance to you. Think about them to consider times when they have been
what would be most interesting to students about in new places, situations, or cultures. How can
these objects. Why did you bring them home? Do challenges impact people in positive ways?

Coverdell World Wise Schools website: www. peacecorps.gov/wws email: wwsinfo@peacecorps.gov


14 |  SPEAKERS MATCH HANDBOOK FOR RETURNED PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEERS

Using Photos Peace Corps Photo Story


Photographs, videos, and visuals are also Select several different photographs from
a great way to engage students with your your Peace Corps experience and group them
story. They are an excellent starting point together. Have students work in small groups,
for children to begin learning about another and give each group a set of photos. Ask the
place and culture. Many students will have students to study the photos carefully and
little knowledge about your country, so images make observations. What do you notice about
will help students understand what life is like the people? The geography? What else do you
there. You could select photographs that relate see?
to a certain theme – food, living conditions,
geography/climate, your project work, etc. Have students discuss the photos and create a
You can put them in a slide show, or perhaps story. They should put the photos in the order
ask the teacher to make copies so the students they think makes sense, and develop a story.
can look at them more closely. Encourage They could include conversations that might be
the children to make connections between taking place in their story.
themselves and the people in the picture.

Coverdell World Wise Schools website: www. peacecorps.gov/wws email: wwsinfo@peacecorps.gov


15 |  SPEAKERS MATCH HANDBOOK FOR RETURNED PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEERS

Using Stories students to think of a time when they


Stories can provide an excellent learning felt this emotion–what caused it, and
opportunity for students. You could tell a how they responded to it.
folktale or story that was frequently told • What themes or “morals” are told
in your community, or read a picture book through this story? What stories do we
or story that takes place in your country. use in our culture to teach that same
Stories can tap into children’s imagination theme? Once the themes have been
and creativity, and allow them to make an identified, have students write their
emotional connection to people in a distant own stories that teach the same lesson
country. Stories can help students understand or moral.
and appreciate other cultures and regions, and • Does your story involve some kind of
see universal characteristics of humanity. You conflict or problem? Stop mid-way
could discuss storytelling in your country: Who through the story and ask students to
tells stories? When and where do people gather brainstorm solutions to the problem.
to listen to stories? What stories are told over Then finish the story and discuss how
and over? the outcome compared to what they
were expecting.
Suggested approaches to storytelling: • A story or folktale can be a great way to
• Have the class create an art piece prompt thinking about deeper issues.
representing the story. Have students think about the cultural
• Bring a box of props to accompany issues that motivated characters in
your story and use them throughout the story. What does the story tell us
your reading. about values, religion, gender roles,
• Help students identify with the and other aspects of culture? Could
story: Think of the emotions that this story take place in the students’
are illustrated by your story: fear, culture? Why or why not?
confusion, happiness, etc. Ask the

Coverdell World Wise Schools website: www. peacecorps.gov/wws email: wwsinfo@peacecorps.gov


16 |  SPEAKERS MATCH HANDBOOK FOR RETURNED PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEERS

Activity Suggestions
9 –12 grade
th th

What should I know about this What could I bring with me?
audience? You may want to bring:
Students typically: • Items you brought back from your host
• Are between 14-18 years old country (especially things students can
• Learn new information best when it is touch)
connected to their own experiences • Clothing typical in your host country
• Value social interactions and personal • A book or example of writing in the
relationships language of your host country
• Have developed abstract and relative • Photographs* showing your life in your
thinking and are able to see multiple host country
perspectives and gray areas • Music* from your host country
• Can understand complex cultural • Videos* you took in your host country
concepts
• Are beginning to think about the future *Be sure to ask the teacher about the
and their relationship to the world availability of projectors, speakers, or any
technology you may need, or arrange to bring
these items yourself

Coverdell World Wise Schools website: www. peacecorps.gov/wws email: wwsinfo@peacecorps.gov


17 |  SPEAKERS MATCH HANDBOOK FOR RETURNED PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEERS

What topics could I share? you still use them? What would you like students
Topics related to your host country and its to understand about your experience that the
culture: objects can help them understand? Think about
• Lives of adolescents in your host country including modern objects from your country as
• A festival or celebration in your host well as traditional ones.
country and its cultural significance; rites
of passage What I Took With Me; What I Brought
• Ecology of your host country and local Back
environmental concerns Prepare two backpacks, each containing 5-6
• Family relationships; roles and views of objects.
children, teens, adults, elders; gender roles
• Communication and conversational The first backpack (What I Took) should
customs in your host country contain objects representing your preparations
• A cultural difference to which you had to for living in your host country (e.g. language
adjust dictionary, map, pictures of family). The
second should contain objects representing
Topics related to your service: what you brought back or learned from your
• Your job or area of service; something new experience (e.g. cultural expressions/artwork;
you had to learn in order to perform it a picture of a project site; a book you read in a
• When and why you became interested in new language; etc.) Discuss how life in Peace
joining Peace Corps Corps changed your perspective. Relate to
• Something that was especially challenging students’ lives by asking them to consider times
but rewarding for you in your work when they have been in new places, situations,
• Your volunteer experience from when you or cultures. How can challenges impact people
were younger; how this encouraged you to in positive ways?
consider Peace Corps
• How your service changed your perspective Using Photos
on something Photographs, videos, and visuals are also
• A funny situation a great way to engage students with your
story. They are an excellent starting point
What types of activities could I do with for children to begin learning about another
the students? place and culture. Many students will have
Using objects and artifacts little knowledge about your country, so images
Objects can be a great way to engage students. will help students understand what life is like
They spark curiosity, and provide hands-on there. You could select photographs that relate
learning opportunities. Select artifacts that to a certain theme–food, living conditions,
represent your Peace Corps experience. They geography/climate, your project work, etc. You
might be things that you used in daily life, that can put them in a slide show, or perhaps ask
were created by people in your country, or that the teacher to make copies so the students can
have special significance to you. Think about look at them more closely. Encourage students
what would be most interesting to students about to make connections between themselves and
these objects. Why did you bring them home? Do the people in the picture.

Coverdell World Wise Schools website: www. peacecorps.gov/wws email: wwsinfo@peacecorps.gov


18 |  SPEAKERS MATCH HANDBOOK FOR RETURNED PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEERS

Peace Corps Photo Story country. Stories can help students understand
Select several different photographs from and appreciate other cultures and regions, and
your Peace Corps experience and group them see universal characteristics of humanity. You
together. Have students work in small groups, could discuss storytelling in your country: Who
and give each group a set of photos. Ask the tells stories? When and where do people gather
students to study the photos carefully and to listen to stories? What stories are told over
make observations. What do you notice about and over?
the people? The geography? What else do you
see? Suggested approaches to storytelling:
• Have the class create an art piece
Have students discuss the photos and create a representing the story.
story. They should put the photos in the order • Use images or props to add to your
they think makes sense, and develop a story. story.
They could include conversations that might be • Think of the emotions that are
taking place in their story. illustrated by your story: fear,
confusion, happiness, etc. Ask the
Drawing Conclusions from Photos students to think of a time when they
As you tell your story and show pictures, have felt this emotion–what caused it, and
students make a list of observations about the how they responded to it.
pictures and questions they might have. • What themes or “morals” are told
After the students have seen all the pictures, through this story? What stories do we
ask them, If you could only use one use in our culture to teach that same
photograph to tell this story, which one would theme? Once the themes have been
you choose? Allow a few students to share their identified, have students write their
choice and their reasoning. own stories that teach the same lesson
or moral.
Have students think about what would be • Does your story involve some kind of
left out of the story if they were to only see conflict or problem? Stop mid-way
this one picture. Have students think about through the story and ask students to
how photographs that we see in newspapers, brainstorm solutions to the problem.
magazines, or on websites, shape our view of Then finish the story and discuss how
the world and other people and cultures. the outcome compared to what they
were expecting.
Using Stories • A story or folktale can be a great way to
Stories can provide an excellent learning prompt thinking about deeper issues.
opportunity for students. You could tell a Have students think about the cultural
folktale or story that was frequently told issues that motivated characters in
in your community, or read a picture book the story. What does the story tell us
or story that takes place in your country. about values, religion, gender roles,
Stories can tap into children’s imagination and other aspects of culture? Could
and creativity, and allow them to make an this story take place in the students’
emotional connection to people in a distant culture? Why or why not?

Coverdell World Wise Schools website: www. peacecorps.gov/wws email: wwsinfo@peacecorps.gov


19 |  SPEAKERS MATCH HANDBOOK FOR RETURNED PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEERS

Activity Suggestions
College
Classrooms
Speaking about your Peace Corps
experience for a college classroom or
adult audience can be intimidating, but the
important thing to remember is that the basic
tenets of teaching and learning apply to all age
groups. Presenting to adults simply provides
you the opportunity to include more details
from your service and integrate some of the
complex issues that can be difficult to share
with younger audiences. With this audience,
you may also want to be prepared for some
questions about the Peace Corps in general.

What should I know about this


audience?

Students typically:
• Are thinking about the future and their
relationship to the world
• Have developed abstract and relative • Communication and conversational
thinking – are able to see multiple customs in your host country
perspectives and gray areas • A cultural difference to which you had to
• Can understand complex cultural concepts adjust
• Rites of passage
What topics could I share?
Topics related to your service:
When speaking to a college classroom, be sure • Your job or area of service; something new
to work with the professor to determine what you had to learn in order to perform it
topics are most applicable to the event. • Something that was especially challenging
but rewarding for you in your work
Topics related to your host country and • Your volunteer experience from when you
its culture: were younger; how this encouraged you to
• Lives of host country nationals consider Peace Corps
• Ecology of your host country and local • How your service changed your perspective
environmental concerns on something
• Family relationships; roles and views of • A funny situation or lesson learned from a
children, teens, adults, elders; gender roles linguistic or cultural misunderstanding

Coverdell World Wise Schools website: www. peacecorps.gov/wws email: wwsinfo@peacecorps.gov


20 |  SPEAKERS MATCH HANDBOOK FOR RETURNED PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEERS

Topics related to Peace Corps in general: like people to understand about your experience
that the objects can help them understand?
• General information about the Peace Think about including modern objects from
Corps: your country as well as traditional ones.
• Downloadable resources including
PowerPoint presentations and fact Using Photos
sheets can be found on the Peace Corps Photographs, videos, and visuals are also a
website great way to connect. They are an excellent
• When and why you became interested in starting point for learning about another
joining Peace Corps place and culture. Many people will have little
knowledge about your country of service, so
What could I bring with me? images will help them understand what life
is like there. You could select photographs
You may want to bring: that relate to a certain theme – food, living
• Items you brought back from your host conditions, geography/climate, your project
country Clothing typical in your host work, etc. You can put the photos into a
country slide show and encourage the group to make
• A book or example of writing in the connections between themselves and the
language of your host country people in the pictures.
• Photographs* showing your life in your
host country Using Stories
• Music* from your host country Stories can provide an excellent learning
• Videos* you took in your host country opportunity. You could tell a folktale or story
that was frequently told in your community,
*Be sure to ask the professor about the or read a picture book or story that takes
availability of any technology you may need, or place in your country. Stories can tap into
arrange to bring these items yourself imagination and creativity, and allow for an
emotional connection to people in a distant
What types of activities could I do? country. Stories can help people understand
and appreciate other cultures and regions, and
Using objects and artifacts see universal characteristics of humanity. You
Objects can be a great way to engage people. could discuss storytelling in your country: Who
They spark curiosity, and provide hands-on tells stories? When and where do people gather
learning opportunities. Select artifacts that to listen to stories? What stories are told over
represent your Peace Corps experience. They and over?
might be things that you used in daily life, that
were created by people in your country, or that
have special significance to you.

Think about what would be most interesting


about these objects. Why did you bring them
home? Do you still use them? What would you

Coverdell World Wise Schools website: www. peacecorps.gov/wws email: wwsinfo@peacecorps.gov


21 |  SPEAKERS MATCH HANDBOOK FOR RETURNED PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEERS

Tips for a Successful Presentation


1. Be prepared. Organize your ideas and make sure you have all necessary equipment and
resources. Arrive early. Allow extra time to check in at the front office, find the classroom,
and set up for your presentation.

2. Communicate with the host. Every classroom is unique and the teacher may wish
to focus on specific aspects of your Peace Corps experience based upon their curriculum
goals.

3. Promote participation. Speak clearly and make sure students can hear you. Be
conscious of your vocabulary level. Engage learners with humor and brief anecdotes, and
share objects and pictures. Ask questions, and be open to the questions and interests of
the class.

4. Encourage students to think and make connections. Your presentation should


do more than provide facts. Discussions should encourage students to make connections
between culture, geography, and experiences that are both similar to, and different from,
their own.

5. Respect cultural differences and provide balance. Remind students that you
are presenting just one perspective about your host country and Peace Corps, and many
others exist. Try not to reinforce cultural stereotypes. Keep in mind that there may be
students from your host country in the class, or that you might be the only connection
students have to the country.

6. Inform and transform. Think about the broader aims of your presentation beyond
just giving information about your host country. An effective presentation will help
students develop an appreciation for diversity, and embrace the values of volunteerism
and service.

7. Share your experience. Help the Peace Corps to document RPCV participation in
third goal activities by registering any Speakers Match speaking event online with Peace
Corps Third Goal.

Coverdell World Wise Schools website: www. peacecorps.gov/wws email: wwsinfo@peacecorps.gov


22 |  SPEAKERS MATCH HANDBOOK FOR RETURNED PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEERS

Learn From Other RPCV Speakers

The resources below provide insight from Returned Peace Corps Volunteers on strategies for
sharing your Peace Corps story with students.

o Podcast. Telling Your Peace Corps Story: Interview with Jody Olsen
Enjoy this interview with former Peace Corps Deputy Director Jody Olsen (RPCV Tunisia,
1966-1968) as she discusses how to tell a great story. Essential components of storytelling,
tips for speaking in classrooms, and using a variety of media for storytelling are included.
o Video. Volunteer Testimonial, featuring Alyssa Bittenbender
Join Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Alyssa Bittenbender (Zambia, 2004-2006) as she
visits a preschool class and discusses the importance of sharing your Peace Corps story with
students.
o Article. Crafting Your Peace Corps Story for Third Goal Activities, by Robert Revere.
In this article from Hotline, Peace Corps’ newsletter for Returned Volunteers, RPCV Robert
Revere (Morocco, 2006-2008) provides suggestions for developing and communicating your
Peace Corps story.
o Story. A Straw Fence the Height of a Man, by Michael Varga
Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Michael Varga (Chad, 1977-1979) shares a story about his
Peace Corps experience, as told during his visit to a 6th grade classroom.
o Additional suggestions from RPCVs: Addressing Students and Youth Groups, Community
Outreach Ideas, and Downloadable Resources provided by Peace Corps Third Goal.

Coverdell World Wise Schools website: www. peacecorps.gov/wws email: wwsinfo@peacecorps.gov


23 |  SPEAKERS MATCH HANDBOOK FOR RETURNED PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEERS

Celebrating Your Success

Please help the Peace Corps to document RPCV participation in third goal activities by registering
any Speakers Match speaking event online with Peace Corps Third Goal.

Additionally, tell World Wise Schools about your Speakers Match experience. We use this
feedback to develop suggestions for other RPCVs, to create useful materials in support of the
program, and as testimonials to encourage more RPCVs to join Speakers Match. Email us at
wwsinfo@peacecorps.gov to tell us all about the event.

Finally, if you move, change your phone number or email address, or can no longer
participate in Speakers Match, please be sure to contact us at wwsinfo@peacecorps.gov with
your updated information.

Coverdell World Wise Schools website: www. peacecorps.gov/wws email: wwsinfo@peacecorps.gov


Bringing the World Home

Peace Corps Coverdell World Wise Schools 1111 20th Street N.W. Washington, DC 20526
Tel: 800.424.8580, ext. 1450 Fax: 202.692.1421 Email: wwsinfo@peacecorps.gov