Jambo! (Scroll Down for 'A Letter to You from the Author')

Background Information: Throughout The Culture Connection the pronunciation of vowel sounds in the non-English words is as follows: a=ah, e=ay, i=ee, o=oh, u=ooh.  That is, Spanish, Swahili, Luo, Quichua and Latin (languages referred to in this and future issues) all only have 5 vowel sounds and they're basically the same in all of those languages.  Have students compare this with English.  Make a list of different sounds for each vowel in English.  Discuss how this would make learning English as a second/foreign language particularly challenging.

In general, these languages also place stress on the second to last (penultimate) syllable of a word. When pronunciation is indicated in parentheses after a word, the bolded text is the stressed syllable.

Lesson/Activity Ideas: This section could also lead to discussion/exercises about recognizing patterns, similarities and differences.  Try brainstorming with the class about similarities and differences between car brands, houses, dogs, birds, cats, mammals, etc...  Even better, go out in the field to investigate and produce statistics, reports and/or diagrams/charts. Math tie-ins could include addition, percentages, averages, graphing, and predicting results. Tie this back in to The Culture Connection's central theme - that human similarities connect us while differences make us incredibly varied on the whole and unique as individuals.

Creative Writing Idea: If you have your class do the suggested poetry writing activity (see 'Interactive Page'), brainstorm as a group before writing to come up with a long list of descriptive and positive adjectives that students can choose from.

Art Connection: To reinforce the theme further, make a large poster with the following verse:

All of us our unique in our special way
But since we're of one family, we're still all the same
Thanks to all our differences, there's variety
But together we are unified by similarity!

Then have students draw and paint or color smaller posters which illustrate the verse.
Post the results on your classroom wall or bulletin board.

A Letter to You from the Author

I wrote The Culture Connection (formerly The Culture Connection Newsletter, in hard copy form) while I was living and teaching elementary school in Amazon rain forest region of Ecuador. I wrote from the field, but did most of the editing/finalizing in the U.S. I have been back in the United States for three years now but just returned to my former rain forest village this past summer for a one month visit.




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