Social Studies Connection: This section of the poem revisits the theme of being different and the same at the same time, this time at school. Go through the section one time, reading the poem and looking at the photos, then go through again reading the corresponding 'Tell Me About It' pages. Use the themes and information in each 'Tell Me About It' as a starting point for a brief class discussion. Below is a list of 'Tell Me About It' pages and related topics of discussion:
Photo #1 - Professions/lifestyles children aspire to. School uniforms/dress codes/accepted dress.
Photo #2 - Physical structure of school building. How physical structure of school fits local climate.
Photo #3 - Subjects studied by students at school. Overall purpose/objectives of schooling.
Photo #4 - Daily school schedule.
Photo #5 - Homework and chores at home.
Photo #6 - Play at school and at home.
Writing Idea: Of course, these discussions can lead to writing. Have students imagine that they are describing things about their school to African children. Explain that their descriptions have to be detailed and accurate so the African children can get a clear picture of what it is like at your school. Assign topics and have students write one or two descriptive paragraphs each. When they've finished writing, have them read their descriptions to the rest of the class. Allow classmates to decide if the descriptions are accurate and to suggest details that could be added, subtracted or altered to make the description clearer. By allowing a class critique of each essay, you are reinforcing the writing process, since rereading, rethinking, and clarifying/editing are important steps in reaching a quality final product.
Geography/Social Studies/Writing/Math Connection: 'Tell Me About It' pages 10-12 look at the geography and people of Africa as a whole. In #10, students read that Africa has as many countries (including some island countries) as the U.S. has states. To illustrate the incredible geographical, natural and human diversity of Africa - and of the U.S. - assign each student (or a group of students) one African country (include an island country or two) and one U.S. state. Using the Internet, have students research their country and state and prepare compare/contrast reports with respect to geography, climate, animals and people. To tie in math, require students to make bar graphs and charts for use in their reports, using statistics they discover in their research.