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Cultural Snapshots: Reflections and Illuminations of Francophone Cultures

by
Crecia Cipriano


Contents of Curriculum Unit 03.01.04:

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Rationale and Initiation

Everybody knows that French is spoken in France, even if some well-meaning but confused students mistake the adjective for the proper noun (as in, "Have you ever been to French?") Views of France, especially of Paris, are readily available. I don't expect to see the Olsen twins exploring Burkina Faso anytime soon (although one never can tell!) With this unit, I want to give my students a sense of familiarity with the unfamiliar, to push beyond France to those French-speaking countries that often get little more than a surface treatment during middle school French language classes.

This unit will serve as an invitation for cultural exploration, as we will use authentic films from French-speaking countries as the foundation for our shared cultural knowledge. Initiated by basic information about each country, and augmented by samples of popular music, works of art, selections of poetry, and traditional recipes showcasing dominant crops, these films will illustrate key characteristics of each culture. Our goal is to acknowledge the qualities of each culture as distinguished from each other, as well as from what we know of our own culture. While students are recognizing the differences between cultures, it is my hope that they will also attain an understanding of universal human needs and emotions.

I teach French at Betsy Ross Arts Magnet School, a New Haven middle school driven by a curriculum of "Artademics," a program that develops and enriches both artistic and academic strength. The goal is for students to learn to use all of their faculties to solve problems and make decisions, as they progress through life. Although created with the Artademics theme in mind, the lessons and strategies included in this unit can be used successful in a distinct array of classroom environments.

Using authentic films as teaching tools is attractive, as it teaches children to appreciate the artistic merits of a good film, at the same time as that film's format appeals to this generation's fascination with moving images on lit up screens. Film is a familiar mechanism for reflecting and disseminating popular culture, and by using it to provide information about that which is unfamiliar, I believe that the foreign cultures and geographies showcased in this unit will be better received, better understood, and better appreciated, by students. In addition, initiating a conversation about culture by way of cultural and artistic mediums, will guide the student in demonstrating understanding through similar-type mediums. Inviting the interaction of Gardner's Multiple Intelligences, the path to ultimate synthesis is cleared; having students experience and recreate ideas through authentic mediums, it is paved.

This unit is intended for upper-middle school students, grades 7 and 8. The student population at Betsy Ross is very diverse, and I hope to both celebrate and enlighten that diversity by showing films that may reflect parts of that population, while illuminating others. The unit should be broken down into 4 sub-units, 1 per marking period, for the entire school year. Each sub-unit can cover as little or as much as the teacher (and time) sees fit. A unit such as this will never be complete; there is something for everyone, and teachers should permit themselves to focus on what rings true for them and their students. I have tried to provide a variety of resources that will lead each teacher in more directions towards more resources. With this in mind, please read the Resources section, as it contains several useful resources not cited in the body of the unit.

Sub-units are designed so that what the class addresses explicitly one semester will be implicitly present the next, so that students may have Aha! moments of familiarity and cleverness while exploring new territories. Students should be led to the role of Fact Finder (Enquíteur, Enquíteuse); in this way, the sum is much greater than the parts.

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Films and Cultures to be Explored

- Marking Period 1 - Keita, l'héritage du griot, directed by Dani Kouyaté, 1994(94 min.) Burkina Faso, West Africa
- Marking Period 2 - La mystérieuse mademoiselle C, directed by Richard Ciupka, 2002 (108 min.) Québec, Canada
- Marking Period 3 - La rue cases-nègres, directed by Euzhan Palcy, 1983 (103 min.) Martinique, Lesser Antilles, Caribbean Islands
- Marking Period 4 - Quand les étoiles rencontrent la mer, directed by Santiago Amigorena & Raymond Rajaonarivelo, 1996 (86 minutes) Madagascar, Africa

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Opportunities for student identification

Since there is a large African-American population at BRAMS, I think it is important to show relevant images as well as captivating examples of black people speaking French. It is still widely misconceived that French is a "white" language; you can explain that to students all you want, but until they see it and hear it for themselves, they will not truly believe you. Different shades of dark skin are represented in both African films as well as in the film from Martinique; French is portrayed as a multicultural language, while the films simply reflect the presence of different skin tones everyday, everywhere.

For my students of Puerto Rican descent, La rue cases-nègres will provide a look at another Caribbean island, as it introduces the geography of the Antilles. The Malagasy film Quand les étoiles rencontrent la mer will speak to the small but consistent Laotian presence at BRAMS, as it introduces the strong presence of Malayo-Indonesian ancestry in Madagascar and its influence on the Malagasy language.

La mystérieuse mademoiselle C should provide my Caucasian students with some familiarity. Too often, Caucasian cultures get shortchanged in a project of this nature, in a well-meaning effort to make up for the lack of strong black representation in the past. Clearly, our goal is to alienate no child. In any case, neglecting the light-skinned faces speaking the French language would make for an irresponsible discussion of francophony, and would fail to address the vital presence of the French language on the North American continent.

It is important that we teach our students to see the sameness and different-ness in all cultures, those that do and do not look like ourselves. All students should be able to identify in some way with the struggles of human nature that each film portrays.

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Core Components of Sub-units

Student File Folders

At the beginning of each sub-unit, students should either purchase or be provided with a pocket folder. This folder will serve as the student's portfolio of experience with each country, holding written work, notes, handouts, journal entries, assignments, questions, etc. The folder itself will be altered to represent the country according to each student's understanding of it. The teacher should create one as well, to provide an example for the students and to share in the experience with them. Encourage students verbally and by example to decorate the folder with intention; in other words, we are looking for demonstrations of cultural understanding on a personal level, not pointless doodling.

You can have the students choose their own colors, I prefer to make the choices for them, in the name of unity. I have selected the following color combinations with the colors of each country's flag in mind; the choice does not always represent the dominant color of the flag, so that student's must find creative ways to duplicate the flag on the folder. Burkina Faso - Yellow; Canada - Red; Martinique - Blue; Madagascar - Green.

Duplicating the flag on the folder should be the first homework assignment. I let students choose whether they put this on the front or back, since the front of anything I own is important in terms of what it says about me, and I'd like to respect and foster that reality. Students should be encouraged to make thoughtful choices and to explore options, like collage, using bits of the appropriate colors found in different mediums and hues. They can present their flags by explaining what they used and why. You may wish to have students vote in categories like Best Overall Flag Artwork, Best Concept, Best Use of Materials, etc. Especially at the middle school level, students need to be encouraged to enter into the learning process. Also, pride in a job well done and using your strengths to accomplish that job well done are concepts and skills that many of our children are still learning, or have yet to learn. Anything we can do to guide them is crucial. That leads us to the next topic, concerning incentives.

Incentives

Incentives are somewhat controversial amongst teaching professionals. While some assert that the acquisition of knowledge should be its own incentive, others believe young people should be led through the learning process with bits of bait. Regardless of where you fall, little treats and recognitions do improve levels of engagement and enthusiasm. The key is to keep prizes cheap and educationally meaningful, individualized towards each country. Don't forget the value of humor, as well as how your presentation of the reward will affect how it is received. For instance, a little sack of rice presented tongue-in-cheek, as a reward for an accomplishment during the Burkina Faso sub-unit, would be a humorous prize that would reinforce the learning process. A boring bag of rice passed out seriously would make for a lackluster prize! Exotic or rare items make a student feel special and smart, since he or she is now in the know about such things. Imagine awarding a piece of sugarcane during the segment on Martinique - what a cool, quirky thing for a student to bring home! Don't forget to scan department stores and discount warehouses with an eye towards cheap and creative ideas for rewards; you may be surprised at what comes to you! Your incentives really are only as limited as your own creativity! Here are some more ideas:

- Award certificates designed and printed with country images
- A photo printed from the internet, that the student might use in a project
- A dubbed cassette of the country's popular music
- A toy lion to recall Disney's The Lion King and, in turn, Keita's Sundiata myth

Homework & Do Nows!

Students should be encouraged to think about what they have learned about the country and the thematic concepts introduced by each film. Everyday there should be a fairly short (though not skimpy) writing assignment, to foster that interaction with the culture; it can be structured as a guided (or prompted) homework assignment. Each group of students encountering the new cultures will invite different focal points for these daily prompts, as will each teacher. Within each country/film spotlight in this unit, there are some selected themes and concepts that make easy prompts. I strongly encourage every teacher to look at student comments, questions, and reactions for inspiration on meaningful thought paths to learning. (Hey, another student reward could be the honor of creating tomorrow's homework prompt!)

I advise beginning each class with a Do Now! or Bellwork prompt that is shorter than the homework assignment. Some days you may choose a different homework assignment; the next day you would probably want to choose a meatier writing prompt as the Do Now! Some more suggestions for Do Now! prompts are:

- Make 3 predictions about what will happen in the film today, and why
- Match the following language vocabulary from yesterday's lesson
- Write an explanation of what is happening in a selected film still
- Create a series of personal preference sentences using the target vocabulary
Ex. (Martinique): J'aime le sucre. / Je n'aime pas les bananas. / J'adore les îles.

Culminating Projects

Each sub-unit will culminate in a final project to showcase what the student learned factually as well as culturally; the student must demonstrate both knowledge of and interaction with the country and culture explored. I am a proponent of creating a set of required components within which a student can make choices. Components may be presented separately or in one unified project. The best way to assure that all criteria are met is to create separate rubrics for each component. By showing examples of projects, you can detail how and where each component requirement is met, offering guidance on how to accomplish the task creatively. Bear in mind that although suggestions are given by component area, the same project is often suited to more than one component.

As with the incentive suggestions, the options for final projects are endless. It is vital to consider the capabilities and focal points of each student grouping when determining the exact parameters of the project. Students should be continually reminded that accurate and thorough completion of Do Now!, homework, and classroom assignments will be invaluable to them when it comes time to produce a final project. Assignments should be geared to that end. The following are recommendations, suggestions, and considerations that should prove constructive in the creation of those parameters. Each project should consist of 4 components: Fact, Thought, Language, and "Creationivity."

Fact

Students should be responsible for a predetermined amount of the country information facts introduced at the outset of the sub-unit, as well as for factual information presented and discussed throughout that sub-unit. This unit is about encouraging curiosity and synthesizing cultures, not memorizing facts; as such, during the course of the sub-unit I advocate learning games based around country information rather than standard fact tests.1 The fact rubric for the culminating project should contain either A) a list of specific country facts to include, or B) a specified quantity of country facts necessary. Students need only look to their (well-kept!) file folder for this information. I prefer a graphic and/or oral presentation of this information in favor of a written essay, which is often little more than a transposition of facts from notes to paper. Some suggestions for interesting and creative demonstrations of this factual component are for the student to:

- Create a PowerPoint presentation - one sub-unit might require a PowerPoint from all students; whole class periods could be spent in the media center so students could benefit from media guidance while exercising their educational autonomy
- Design tourist brochures and/or posters - local tourist brochures could be examined and assessed so that the techniques could be applied to our brochures.
- Write and illustrate a children's book about the country
- Create a trivia game about the country, with questions, game board, rules
- Teach the facts to 5th graders in our school, or to a local daycare facility, using created visuals. This could be an individual, group, or class project.
- Write a magazine article, complete with graphics, such as painted "photographs"
- Perform an original rap or song about the country

Thought

For this component, students will refer to previous thought assignments to answer a question that gets them to expand on ideas, express themselves critically, establish and support personal opinions. They should be led to recognize the difference between fact, critical analysis (or objective opinion), and personal (or subjective) opinion. Partnership with the Language Arts teacher would no doubt be fruitful in this endeavor.2 The thought component may take the form of a separate essay, although that is not the only way to address it. I have included some examples of prompts; note the span of complexity:

- What were the 3 most striking thoughts or observations you noted in your writings? Please explain.
- What are the pros and cons to tourist travel articles about foreign countries? Please explain with examples.
- What is the relationship between place and identity in the film viewed as well as in your own life?
- Would you like to visit this country? Why or why not? (Be specific.)
- Extract, compile, and augment thought assignments into a student "travelogue."

Language

For each sub-unit, there will be certain French vocabulary that the teacher will have chosen to extract and explore. The language component depends on the priorities of the teacher. Vocabulary should be provided with 3 goals:

1)To help the student describe the landscape and cultural aspects seen in the film
2) To equip the student with phrases needed to converse about the film
3) To enable the student to re-create selected conversations in the film

Students could demonstrate their language learning through any of the suggestions for Fact Demonstration, by completing the project in French. Other ideas are to:

- String together phrases into a language cartoon, with cultural references
- Design a series of postcards using the phrases
- Script an original mini-play, or act out a scene from the film
- Write a poem
- Translate a story, myth, or story segment.

"Creationivity"

"Creationivity" is the name I have created to creatively express the spirit I hope to promote in my students. It encompasses creation, the act of putting together a project, as well as the idea of birthing a project, and creativity, to do it uniquely, in a manner that expresses each creator and approaches each project with a fresh eye. Focusing on creationivity provides for a synthesized, complete, and encompassing project; it also gives students a kind of permission to enjoy learning - because it is part of the assignment to be thorough and personal, students are free to express more than they might otherwise. Since creationivity is the vehicle by which the other components of the project are expressed, there are no additional suggestions here. In terms of rubric headings, think in terms of what you are looking for in the end, what would show you that sufficient production time and effort was expended, and that minds were churning appropriately.3

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Objectives and Standards

In viewing, studying, and discussing these films, students will be able to do the following, as each correlates with the National Standards for Foreign Language Learning:

1. To use authentic materials to obtain a greater understanding of the language and culture 1.2, 2.2, 3.2
2. To identify salient aspects of each culture's practices and products 2.1, 2.2
3. To compare and contrast the depicted practices and products of each culture represented with his own, as well as with the others 4.2
4. To describe the geography of each film, placing it within a larger socio-historic context (to place cities within countries, next to other countries, and to understand how French came to be a primary language in each location.) 2.2, 3.1, 4.1
5. To produce a final project for each sub-unit that demonstrates cultural comprehension. 2.1, 2.2, 3.2, 4.2
6. To present that product to the class, in the target language. 1.1, 1.3

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Keita, l'héritage du griot - Burkina Faso, West Africa

Synopsis

Keita is a film about how a young boy from an educated family in Burkina Faso (Mabo Keita) learns about the tradition of oral storytelling. He is visited by Djeliba, the family griot (or storyteller) who has come to tell Mabo the story of his name, in something of a right of passage. Not only had Mabo never heard of a man named Djeliba, but he did not even know of the tradition of the griot. Conflict arises between Mabo's parents; Mabo's father believes in maintaining tradition (if only for tradition's sake) while his mother and schoolteacher protest, arguing that these "silly stories" are detrimentally affecting his study habits. The element of traditional African mysticism can lend an unbelievable air to this interesting story, but it opens up lots of doors to discussion about cultural comparisons. The film addresses the concept of traditional versus modern education, an education rooted in the past versus one that reaches toward the future.4 Although the film is primarily in Djula/Jula, with some French, it fits well with this curriculum unit because A) it shows the tension between local languages and the language of colonization (the language of education, government, bureaucracy) and B) it demonstrates the way French coexists in the world with other languages, providing a complex schematic of the world.

Country Information

The people of Burkina Faso are called Burkinabe (pronounced burkinAHBEE).5 There are 63 ethnic groups within the country, including the Mossi (who comprise almost half of the total population) and the Mande, Manding, Mandinka or Malinke, whose glorious past we will learn of from the griot Djeliba in this film.6 The Mande people are spread out across at least 5 West African countries, in addition to Burkina Faso: Mali, Guinea, Gambia, Senegal, C“te D'Ivoire, and Guinea Bissau.7 A full 40% of inhabitants practice traditional religious beliefs, equal to those practicing Muslim traditions; 20% practice Christianity. Burkina Faso is about the size of Colorado. It is land-locked, located in the Sahel, the agricultural region between the Sahara Desert and the coastal rain forests. The word "sahel" stands for the "shore" or "coast" at the southern boundary of the Sahara desert.8 Most of the country is located on a savanna plateau, with fields, brush, and scattered trees. The official language is French, although local languages abound.

The French began colonization in 1896, but it was not until the capture of the capital city, Ougadougou, in 1901, that the reigning Mossi Empire truly gave up. In 1919 the colony of Upper Volta was established, and was governed by the French indirectly, through Mossi authorities. Upper Volta achieved independence in 1960, and in 1984, it changed its name to Burkina Faso. According to most conventional sources, Burkina Faso means "the country/land of upright/honorable people." Interestingly, according to Senegalese filmmaker and cultural icon Djibril Diop Mambety, Burkina means tiger and Faso means lamb.9 This can be discussed in terms of the value of knowing and understanding a language, and how it affects one's knowledge of a place.

Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in the world, according to the U.S. State Department. More than 80% of the population relies on subsistence agriculture. Staple crops are millet, sorghum, maize, and rice. Cash crops are cotton, peanuts, karite (shea nuts), and sesame. Livestock used to be a major export; there is a slight mining industry, as there are limited quantities of manganese, gold, limestone, marble, and phosphate.

Storytelling, Concept of Griot

A griot (pronounced GREE-oh) is a troubadour, a traditional West African storyteller, historian, musician, and praise-singer. 10 Traditionally, each family had its own griot who, although well-versed in the history of the entire village and country, was a veritable expert on the history of his family of employ, maintaining a complete family genealogy. He would narrate the family's story and historical glory, and it was a momentous occasion in a young boy's development when he was invited to begin the storytelling process with the griot, like a rite of passage into adulthood. Kingdoms and heroes, obstacles and surmounting them, ancestors and namesakes, this is the stuff of the griot's tale. Some people think the griot a beggar, trading songs of praise for gifts; although it is true that griots receive gifts, it is because when a griot sings a man's praises, that man is seen as worthy of the praise by other people and, out of gratitude for that respect, he may choose to bestow a material gift on the griot for the spiritual gift given him.11

Introducing the concept of the griot will segue into a conversation about the importance of words and the craft of words, as well as the importance of leaving a legacy. Here it is worth noting that the father of writer and director Dani Kouyaté is griot Sotigui Kouyaté. A glance at his filmography on IMDb.com provides evidence of a prolific acting career; inquiry proves that he is highly respected as well. A web search on griots will turn up some interesting entries, which can be discussed in class.

In terms of the craft of words, we can discuss proverbs, why they stick, what makes up a good proverb, and what role they play in the society shown in the film, as well as in our own society. I will invite discussion of this quote from Chinua Achebe's novel Things Fall Apart: "…Proverbs are the palm-oil with which words are eaten."12 The class can discuss the importance of a legacy by looking at personal family histories, what each student knows and does not know about his or her own personal history, who did or did not tell the story or ask about it, and how oral histories compare and contrast with written histories, in fact and perception.

The history that Djeliba tells Mabo is from the real, ancient Sundiata epic. Depending on grade level, capabilities, interest, and time, you may choose to spend more or less time on this.13 The Disney film The Lion King is an adaptation of the Sundiata myth that could prove useful as a point of reference for some students, as of course is the Broadway production of the same name.

Although most sources generally refer to only male griots, female griottes do exist. A discussion of gender can be incorporated into the lesson, with the goal of the exploration of gender roles in different countries as compared to the United States. Additionally, I think it will be worthwhile to develop a conversation concerning the difference between a woman's voice and a man's voice, the way a woman might tell a story versus the way a man might tell the same story. It will certainly need to be stressed that while we can discuss generalizations and the reasons behind them, we do not want to fall into the trap of stereotype. Acknowledging the difference between stereotype and generalization will provide the class with a solid basis from which to view these films throughout the year.14

See also Lesson 1 - Mariam et la papaye & Passez la papaye!

Education, Modern versus Traditional

The websites listed for synopsis information also delve into the concept of modern versus traditional education, as it is portrayed in the film. Students should be encouraged to determine how they feel about traditional versus modern education, both in the film and in their own lives. A discussion on the importance of both will keep this from being a gripe session! (This facet of the lesson would lend itself wonderfully to the project suggestion of teaching a younger child about what we are learning; ambitious students should be encouraged to consider that option.)

Traditions, the Kola Nut

Although we are not introduced to the kola nut in this film, I believe that now is an appropriate time to introduce it to the class. The aspect of tradition that the offering of the kola nut carries with it is quite fitting in the context of the content of Keita, as well as it reflects an aspect of Burkinabe culture. I will show selections from another film that takes place in Burkina Faso, and does show kola nut; Gaston Kaboré's Wend Kuuni.

The kola nut is the seedpod of indigenous African evergreen trees.15 The kola nut tree is most prevalent in Western Africa, as well as on the Atlantic coast of Central Africa. It contains caffeine, and students may not realize that the cola in Coca-cola is derived from this same African nut; the spelling change was for aesthetic reasons (Coca-kola just doesn't look as nice!) It may be fruitful to explore the pros and cons of the Coca-Cola Corporation's presence in Africa. The following website will provide a look at what Coca-Cola perceives as its benefits to the country: http://www.africa.coca-cola.com/.

In many African cultures, sharing a kola nut conveys friendship and hospitality at a guest's arrival. The easy connection here is to the American Indian peace pipe, but let's reach further, to the modern American custom of proper hosting, as conveyed through the offer of food and drink. There is an air of ceremony about this gesture in Africa that is lacking in the United States, although in both places not to offer is seen as rude. Also notable, in some African cultures a groom will offer a bride's family a sack of kola nuts before the wedding, in an expression of respect.

The kola nut is enjoyed by breaking it open and chewing pieces, as you would chewing gum. Some say it tastes bitter, especially at first. It can be compared to coffee for the purpose of class discussion. The caffeine in kola nuts is believed to act as a stimulant and anti-depressant, as well as to aid digestion and reduce fatigue and hunger.

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La mystérieuse mademoiselle C - Québec, Canada

Synopsis

This light-hearted children's film takes us to a "low-functioning" 6th grade classroom in Québec. Miss Charlotte (Miss C) is assigned as a substitute teacher to the class after their lack of cooperation drives their last teacher comically screaming out of the school. From the beginning, Miss C is seen as an oddball; she talks to a rock named Gertrude, and her joie de vivre is unheard of here. Although the students in 6D are resistant at first, she inspires them to be active, to study lessons every morning so that they can have fun doing what each of them wants to do in the afternoon. This plan produces wonderful results, but does not endear her to the selfish, self-promoting principal with a personal agenda contrary to that of student education.

Miss C has an odd 'problem.' She loves to read, and when she does, she gets transported into the story, falling into a coma-like sleep. Confused at first, the students learn to accept Miss C because she really seems to "get" them. Her love of books fosters one in them, and as a class they create their own, kid-friendly library. When the principal's scheming threatens their library and their teacher, we see how much these "delinquents" in 6D have grown, as they devise a plan to save the day. The character of Miss C has been likened to "Amélie" in the classroom, and her zaniness is contagious. At times, however, she comes off as more inconsiderate than effervescent (when she wrings her soaking skirt out inside the school foyer, for example!) This actually gives Miss C more depth, and the film, oddly, more believability, as the "hero" has real flaws.

In the end, Miss C must leave. During final exams the next day, we see a pan shot of the students asking various inanimate objects for help and strength, and this class of students who always used to fail tests received B's and C's, and even one A+.16

NOTE: DVD is available in French and English, but without subtitles. I recommend showing some parts in French (those that rely more on imagery and less on heavy dialogue, like the opening scene) and the rest in English. Some of those parts could then be replayed in French. There are many ways to approach this, as the DVD comes with a copy of Dominique Demers' French language youth book La Nouvelle Maîtresse, which is part of the basis for the film storyline. Vocabulary can be extracted from the novel, studied, practiced, and then identified by watching the film in French; students can watch in French, guess what's happening, and then watch in English to see if they were correct, etc. Thought prompts can explore the concepts of using books and films as vehicles for exploration and as tools for coping.

Country Information

Canada is the second largest country in the world (next to Russia), not much larger than the United States. Its capital city is Ottawa, although Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver are notable, highly-populated cities. Approximately 85% of Canada's population resides within 300 kilometers (186.5 miles) of the U.S./Canada border. It is comprised of 10 provinces: Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Saskatchewan; and 3 territories: Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Yukon Territory.17 The government is a constitutional monarchy with a federal system, a parliamentary government with heavy democratic tendencies. Although the phraseology is quite different, it functions fairly similarly to the U.S. system.

Québec is fairly close to New England in its climate, although the northern territories are artic, like Alaska. This harsher landscape is characterized by tundra, which can be seen as a layer of muck and moss covering the frozen soil beneath it, and boreal forest, which is a preponderance of pine trees and evergreen shrubs.

Canada has 2 official languages, English and French.18 About 60% of Canadians use English primarily, about 23 % French (17% use another language primarily.) As of January 2002, the population of Canada was broken down as follows: British Isles origin 28%, French origin 23%, other European 15%, Amerindian 2%, other, mostly Asian, African, Arab 6%, mixed background 26%.

Canada shadows the U.S. in terms of commercialism, technological advancement, economical growth, and high standards of living. Past trade agreements between the U.S. and Canada were integral to this growth. In 2001, 86% of Canadian exports went to the U.S., in the form of motor vehicles and spare parts, lumber, newsprint, metals, natural gas, crude petroleum, and wheat. 76% of Canadian imports came from the U.S. The United States exports to Canada more than to any other country. Because of this economic interdependence, when the U.S. suffers economic change, either through hardship or prosperity, that trend carries over into Canada. Additionally, it is worthwhile to explore the way Canada loses skilled workforce to the U.S., because the U.S. will offer higher pay, lower taxes, and a more comprehensive high-tech working environment. The exchange rate is about 1.5 Canadian Dollars (CAD) to 1 U.S. Dollar. Over the last several years, that rate has been going up, in the U.S.' favor.

The province of Québec struggles with its identity. In the last 15 years, Québec has attempted and failed at 2 constitutional initiatives for sovereignty, or independence. France's first colony in Canada was Québec. When, in 1759, "New France" fell to Britain, Québec felt it worst, and continues to feel it this day.19

What Makes a Good Teacher? A Good Student?

The opening scene of a low-functioning classroom is a striking example of poor students and a poor teacher. Prod students to point out what the teacher and the students would have done differently if they were being good examples of a teacher and students. Address reasons why each person does not behave in a better manner. When Miss C arrives, discuss her unconventional methods, debate on whether they are methods or just quirks, explore different students' initial reaction to her, and how each student grows. Ask students what they think of the Principal, and of Mrs. Lafferty (Mme. Lamerlotte.) Have students create a class list of qualities of good students and teachers. Provide that vocabulary in French for class posters. See also Lesson 2 - Mini-book Starter.

Non-Verbal Language, Regional Accents, and Slang

Guide students to recall the experience of watching the beginning of the film in French. Invite discussion of how the images, music and camera angles help tell the story. Show sections in French that the students will not understand verbally, but choose ones with expressive faces and gestures. Have students guess what is happening, with explanations. Point out differences between the way kids and adults talk; include word choice, rate, clarity, accent. Does Miss C resemble the kids or the administrators more in the way she speaks? Address the difference between Québecois and Parisian French accents, likening it to the degree of difference between the accents of Massachusetts and Connecticut. Use Demers' book to pull out slang that the kids will enjoy. Have students act sections out.

U.S.-Canadian Relations

Use the facts set forth in the "Country Information" section as a springboard for analysis of U.S.-Canadian Relations. Prompt students to think about what "reasons" Canadians might think they have to like or dislike America, and how such economic reliance might surface as a power struggle. Send for Canadian tourist brochures of the U.S., and U.S. tourist brochures for Canada. Compare, contrast, and discuss. Students could devise plans of partnership between the 2 countries to further strengthen the existing relationship. Using the bilingual Canadian websites in the Resources, students could prepare presentations on data not provided in the unit, in French or English.

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La rue cases-nègres - Martinique, Lesser Antilles, Caribbean Islands

Synopsis

José is a young boy who lives with his grandmother, Ma Tine, in Rivière Salée, Martinique, in the 1930's. He is a good-natured child although, still a child, he gets into his fair share of trouble. One day, he and the other children of his neighborhood sneak some rum and, in an innocent's first encounter with this mind-altering substance, they inadvertently destroy a mean neighbor's little farm and property. As punishment, all the children are put to work in the sugarcane field that employs the adults. All the children except José, that is. Ma Tine is determined to keep José out of the cane fields and in a classroom. He is very bright, and soon earns a scholarship to study in Fort-de-France, the city across the river. Unfortunately, his scholarship turned out to be only a quarter-scholarship, and Ma Tine can't afford to send him. Not one to be defeated, Ma moves from her country home to the ungracious city to save commuting costs. She becomes a laundress to make ends meet, yet still barely manages. Although José ends up earning a full scholarship, the toll was so tough on Ma that, on a solo trip back to Rivière Salée to buy José a new suit, she falls ill, and dies. José goes back to Fort-de-France to study, as he knows Ma would want, but he never forgets his Black Shack/Sugar Cane Alley.20

Country Information

France colonized Martinique in 1635; the name of its capital, Fort-de-France, declares that ownership. Martinique is a Caribbean island, part of what is referred to as the French West Indies. Be sure to teach and clarify the different terms associated with the region. Martinique is one of the Windward Islands of the Lesser Antilles, which, along with the Greater Antilles (including Puerto Rico) comprise the West Indies or Caribbean Islands.21 Each student could be assigned an island and find out what language is spoken there; the class could then compile a comprehensive map of languages spoken throughout the area.

In the film sugar was a precious commodity in the village, while rum seemed less scarce, as seen in both the night scene where adults are dancing around the fire with rum, as well as the scene where the little girl Ondine is allowed to buy rum for her father. Although sugarcane is still a main crop, it is now used almost exclusively for the production of rum.22 If possible, bring in stalks of sugar cane to show students where their table sugar comes from.

Bananas have become a main export of Martinique. The "Martinique Banana" web site is a great resource for language practice and cultural knowledge, since the site exists in both French and English. During a day in the media center, students could explore the site, trying to translate the French into English, checking their work against the English site. More advanced students could do the reverse, translating English into French.23

Tourism has now surpassed agriculture as primary source of economic growth. As a class, look at tourist brochures and compare them to what is shown in the film. Discuss the pros and cons of tourism and the concept of responsible tourism.24

Most of the island's meat, vegetable, and grain products are imported, which results in a yearly increase in the national deficit and continued need for financial aid from France. Class can address the cycle that ensues when you need to rely on others for basic needs.

Topics and Possibilities

Call and Response Storytelling is shown when old man Medouze, the storyteller, says "Hé cric?" and José, the audience, responds "Hé crac!" The storyteller can add variations, like Hé misticric, and the audience must match it.25 Students can create their own cric/crac combo and practice call and response storytelling in English, then French.

In telling stories of Martinique's past to José, Medouze introduces the concept of slavery to an employer as opposed to an owner. Students should discuss this and develop opinions on it, including the role of education as it relates to this other slavery.

Introduce students to the filmmaker Euzhan Palcy. There are several periodical articles about her that can be used to showcase her as a strong female role model.26

See also Lesson 3 - Art & Poetry.

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Quand les étoiles rencontrent la mer - Madagascar, Africa

Synopsis

The film begins with the birth of a child, doomed by the indigenous belief that a child born during an eclipse is cursed with extraordinary destructive powers. The only way to handle this situation, according to the belief, is to let the baby be trampled by a stampede of cattle. This is what the baby's father does, but the child is rescued by a young, sterile woman who raises him as her own child. She names him Kapila, "the lame one," because his foot was badly damaged in the stampede. Haunted by nightmares, Kapila grows up. Seeking explanation to his dreams, he learns vague truths of his birth. He embarks on a journey for answers, without his mother's blessing. Along the way he falls in love with another "other," a mixed-race girl named Fara; finds his father who, racked by guilt at "murdering" his child and losing his wife in the childbirth, becomes the village idiot called "Bird Man;" and encounters much opposition, as he tries to resolve the issue of his fate. The film is rife with African mysticism that will need to be addressed.27

Country Information

Madagascar, also known as "The Great Red Island," is officially known as the Malagasy Republic (pronounced mahl-GASH). It is the fourth largest island in the world and has a very diverse ecology, with six different micro-climates.28 The capital of Madagascar is Tananarive (Antananarivo), or Tana, for short. The first people of Madagascar came there from Indonesia and Malaysia. It is uncertain why they were traveling so far West (that's 4,000 miles, in canoes!) Then Arab traders in the 600s; Portugese sailors in the 1500s, and the French in the 1700s. The French ruled until 1960. People from Madagascar/Malagasy Republic are called the Malagasy. There are 18 different Malagasy ethnic groups. The Merina and Betsileo (both Malayo-Indonesian in descent) are the most prevalent; the coast is largely populated with ethnic groups of African and Arab descent. Despite the variety of ethnic groups, there is one Malagasy language, which is the official language. French is the country's second language, and it remains a language of the educated.

The film takes place in the central highlands, or high plateau region, and shows mostly Merinas. The traditional religions of this area focus on the relationship between the living and the dead; in the film we see Kapila's mother making death shrouds.

National products include mangoes, grapes, peaches, pears, pineapples, avocadoes, lichee nuts, orchids, violets, mimosas. Rice is a staple in the Malagasy diet. It is eaten at every meal, even at breakfast. Ranonapango is a beverage made by burning rice and adding water; it is an important part of the Malagasy meal.29 The class should sample some as a treat; if possible it should be made in class.

Topics and Possibilities

The Merina people of this film adhere to belief in destiny, or vintana. Many Americans view destiny as superstition; the point must be made that people have different beliefs, and that many differences rise out of those beliefs. Brainstorm examples in class.

The schoolhouse scene makes a beautiful statement on the difference between education and knowledge. During a lesson on the sea, the teacher figures out that the students have never seen the sea. Now, they do live inland, but for none of them to ever have seen it is striking. Foster discussion of this; take a poll of who has been to different places at varying distances from your school. Do we travel more or less? Why? How does geography affect our experiences?

In the film, freedom is embodied in the stars and the sea, and people are living somewhere in between the two. Ask students what embodies freedom for them? Where do they position themselves in relation to freedom? What is freedom, anyway?

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Lesson Plan - 1 - Mariam et la papaye & Passez la papaye!

Duration: One 40-minute class period, plus an optional lunch period.

Objectives: Students will be able to identify key words in French, deliver key phrases with appropriate tone and stress, put story parts in order, apply that knowledge in an expedient manner through game participation, discuss what they would do in Mariam's position, recognize and state the moral of the tale.

Materials: Vocabulary, enough copies of the conte (or tale), enough index cards so that everyone has one (before class write one of the following names on each card, in equal numbers: Le papayer, Mariam, Maman, Koffi, Papa); tape, overhead transparency of game phrases, a papaya, a baggie, props for storytelling (like clothing to demonstrate doing laundry), poster cards depicting actions from story.

Materials for Optional Lunch: Pre-made spaghetti with sauce, homemade ginger beer, already-made African-style fruit salad, tablecloths, napkins, paper plates, plastic cups, several finger bowls with water, student smocks/old t-shirts, African music CD, paring knife, ginger root, mortar and pestle, bowl, water, paper towel, recipe for ginger beer.

Do Now! / Faites Maintenant!: Supply the English meaning of the following French words/phrases.30 Here is a sample of the vocabulary I would select; each class has different vocabulary knowledge and ways of learning it. I do suggest the addition of antonyms and other supplemental words whenever possible, and to focus on language practicality, or how the words are generally heard or used - in phrases or individual words. For instance, laver le linge-to wash laundry, sur le chemin-on the way, elle aperçut-she saw/caught site of, un papayer/une papaye-a papaya salesman/a papaya, m—r(e)-ripe, vert(e)-unripe, etc.

Initiation and Activities: Simply begin reading the tale, in French, slowly, dramatically, using body language/TPR techniques, facial expression. Be sure to stress words they know and should recognize, accompanying them with movements and gestures.31 Use props! After the first 2 paragraphs, recommence the story; check for understanding by having students select story poster cards to depict words, as you pause after each sentence. Next use choral repetition, sentence by sentence, holding up appropriate story cards. After, ask "easy" questions like Qui aperçut un papayer? (Mariam aperçut un papayer), to get the students speaking about the story. Ask questions that require students to give negative responses, like Est-ce que le papayer porte un orange? (Non, le papayer ne porte pas d'orange; il porte une papaye.) Go over sequence of papaya-giving (Le papayer, Mariam, Maman, Koffi, Papa, Mariam). Next, initiate the following game; I call it Passez la papaye! Take an index card that says Le papayer; give one card to each student to tape on his or her shirtfront. Show overhead transparency of model sentences and sequence: Le papayer donne la papaye à Mariam./Mariam donne la papaye à Maman./Maman donne la papaye à Koffi./Koffi donne la papaye à Papa./Papa donne la papaye à Mariam./Mariam recommence (and passes to le papayer.) Get in as close a circle as possible. Put papaya in a sandwich bag, as, despite trying, it will inevitably be dropped, and get mushy. Model game play. Students must pass to someone with the correct name card, and may not pass to anyone more than once. When the papaya gets back to Mariam, she will say that she begins again, and will pass it to the papaya salesman. Begin. Pass the papaya, focusing on proper diction and sequence. Students should focus on quality and accurate tosses, NOT on speed. The goal is to speak well and keep the papaya from smooshing! Have students sit after they are chosen; the remaining students may move in to recreate their circle as it dwindles. Play as time permits.

Closure: Ask students to discuss the idea of generosity portrayed, to tell whether they would or would not have made the same choices as Mariam, and why.

Optional Activity: At the end of the conte, everyone gets a little bit of the papaya. In this spirit, it would be nice to plan a special lunch of sapakti, homemade ginger drink, and African- style fruit salad.32 Although everything will be made ahead of time, the basics of how to make the ginger drink should be demonstrated, including an introduction to the mortar and pestle; do this before eating. Everyone should eat their sapakti the way Djeliba eats his, with his hands! Be sure to go over the process of using the finger bowl (but have them wash with soap and water immediately before anyway, when students change into smocks), and practice the shovel-shape of the hand. Focus on efficiently getting food from plate to mouth, using the hand as a tool, not on making a mess (although that will happen too!) During the meal, listen to an African music CD and engage in discussion. Contrast the experience of eating different foods with hands.

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Lesson Plan - 2 - Mini-book Starter

Duration: One 40-minute class period. [Students may choose to use this information to create a final project mini-book.]

Objectives: Students will be able to make decisions about what they value in a kooky, real-person hero, conceive a personality for that figure, practice and develop dictionary skills, take responsibility for partner success.

Materials: Quantity of French/English dictionaries

Do Now! / Faites Maintenant!: Brainstorm a fantasy everyday hero, like Miss C. What qualities would your Miss C have? Where would she/he come from? What place would she/he occupy in society? What would she/he wear? Smell like? Eat? Enjoy? Detest? Write answers in concise English.

Initiation: Select students to share one quality they have chosen, and why.

Activities: In pairs, have students swap lists. Each student must locate the best French word for his/her partner's word choices. Stress that students should treat the partner's list as his/her own, and pursue it with vigor and care. Keep in mind, most middle school students do not understand the concepts behind looking up phrases and words with multiple meanings. Teacher must be circulating to guide and encourage, but NOT to "give the answer!" Lead the student as blatantly as you like, but do not deliver the information. Quick workers can help guide other students, brainstorm more words to look up, or attempt sentences.

Closure: Have each person quickly share a partner's word/phrase that was striking (unusual, very cool, tough to look up, etc.) Collect work, check for misinformation.

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Lesson Plan - 3 - Art & Poetry

Duration: One 40-minute class period.

Objectives: Students will be able to draw conclusions from artwork and poetry, interpret tone, and make connections across artistic mediums.

Materials: Slides of The Cane Harvest, 1874, Victor Patricio de Landaluze, and Fruit Gatherers, 1887, Paul Gauguin, copies of poem Debout! Joseph! by Gilbert Gratiant.33

Do Now! / Faites Maintenant!: Read the poem, using vocabulary notes. Write 2-3 sentences of your first reaction to the poem.

Initiation: Listen to some of the reactions. Read poem dramatically for students.

Activities: Without discussion, project the slides, side by side. In silence, write this prompt: What do you feel as you look at these 2 paintings, after having heard the poem? Allow wait time; begin discussion. This may stump students, but stick with it, prodding towards engagement with the pieces. Guide students to compare and contrast paintings in terms of color, hue, mood, technique; how the poem does or does not fit in with one or both paintings. Call up assigned students to introduce each creator and work.34 Make sure notes are taken. Does it matter that Landaluze is Cuban, that Gauguin is French?

Closure: Read poem, line by line, one per person, with prompts to keep in proper tone.

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Notes

1 One such game has students create questions in ascending degree of difficulty, worth appropriate point values. They must provide answers and sources for each question; in class, the game is played using these student-created questions. See Jones for details.

2 Partnership with any subject teacher, for that matter, will be advantageous, as the culture can be addressed from more angles, in a more cross-curricular fashion.

3 Issues of language correctness should be included in the language rubric, and issues of factual correctness should be included in the fact rubric. The creationivity rubric can deal with issues of overall composition, aesthetics, ingenuity, but not right or wrong answers.

4 For more information on the film, plot, and meaning, these 3 sites are most useful:

The IMDb site for the film: http://us.imdb.com/Title?0110252; The California Newsreel official film site: http://www.newsreel.org/films/keita.htm; Film Sequence/Scene Notes by Prof. Agatucci: http://www.cocc.edu/cagatucci/classes/hum211/coursepack/keita.htm

5 Unless otherwise noted, all country information for this curriculum unit was derived and synthesized from the following 3 websites: The U.S. Department of State Background Notes site: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/; The CIA World Factbook 2002 site at http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/; Infoplease Website country search at: http://www.infoplease.com (Good for map and flag.)

6 All synonyms for Mande derived from Prof. Cora Agatucci, HUM211, http://www.cocc.edu/cagatucci/classes/hum211/timelines/htimeline2.htm.

7 Information from Prof. Cora Agatucci, HUM211: http://www.cocc.edu/cagatucci/classes/hum211/coursepack/maligriot.htm.

8 Information from Prof. Cora Agatucci, HUM211:

http://www.cocc.edu/cagatucci/classes/hum211/timelines/htimeline2.htm.

9 N. Frank Ukadike, "The Hyena's Last Laugh [interview with Djibril Diop Mambety], Posted with Permission on: http://www.newsreel.org/articles/mambety.htm

10 Information on the griot is from these 3 sources: Hale, Thomas. "Griottes: Female Voices from West Africa (Women as Oral Artists);" Prof. Cora Agatucci's HUM211 website: http://www.cocc.edu/cagatucci/classes/hum211/coursepack/maligriot.htm; and Various Artists. Bonya/Respect: Griot Music from Mali #2 (Liner Notes).

11 For more information on griots and griottes, including a great breakdown of griot instruments, see Various Artists, Bonya (Liner Notes.)

12 Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. New York: Fawcett Crest, 1959. P.10.

13 An excellent resource for information on the epic, with a retelling of the myth fit for 7th/8th graders, is found at the UC Berkeley Monomyth website: http://ias.berkeley.edu/orias/hero/sunjata/index.html.

14 There are many resources available for lessons on diversity, stereotypes, and generalizations. I like Unit 7 from the Yale University PEACE BY PEACE 2002-2003 Curriculum because it discusses the difference between generalization and stereotype in a thoughtful manner, with great activity ideas. See: www.yale.edu/peace/2002unit7.htm.

15 Unless noted, all kola nut information is from: www.congocookbook.com/c0177.html.

16 Additional plot information and discussion questions can be found at the British Film Institute site: www.bfi.org.uk/education/events/festival/pdf/lff/mysterious_miss_c.pdf. See also: http://us.imdb.com/Title?0312990.

17 For a kid-friendly explanation of the difference between a province and a territory, and for a detailed governmental history to inform class discussion of the Constitution of 1982, visit the following site: www.kidzone.ws/geography/constitution.htm.

18 A great map that shows the degree of French spoken in Canada can be found at http://geodepot.statcan.ca/Diss/Maps/ThematicMaps/language/national/Cda_LangMigrate_Ec_f4.pdf.

19 For a map of New France, see the Natural Resources Canada website at: http://atlas.gc.ca/site/english/maps/historical/preconfederation/newfrance1740.

20 For more film information, see: http://us.imdb.com/Title?0086213.

21 A well-defined breakdown of islands and terms can be located at the following websites: http://geography.about.com/library/faq/blqzantilles.htm; http://geography.about.com/library/faq/blqzwindward.htm

22 A concise description of the sugar planting and harvesting process can be found at: www.gafrance.com/kaniche/fields.html. The last 1/3 of article is on the process of making rum, but if you stop before that point, the information is useful.

23 http://www.banane-martinique.com; http://www.banane-martinique.com/en.

24 The "Overview of Martinique" from Frommer's Caribbean 2003, as seen at: www.frommers.com/destinations/martinique/0180010001.html, is FANTASTIC for this.

25 The English short stories by Edwige Danticat, Krik? Krak! may be excerpted here.

26 See: Lacher, Irene and Kelley, Jack. "Screen: Euzhan Palcy has a face the camera loves but finds the view better behind the lens;" Cain, Joy Duckett. "The source of our magic: 10 artists at the height of their creative powers talk about their work, their inspiration and why they do what they do."

27 For more film information, see: http://us.imdb.com/Title?0117416; www.newsreel.org/films/quandles.htm.

28 Visit www.air-mad.com/about_regions.html for information on the micro-climates.

29 See www.sas.upenn.edu/African_Studies/Cookbook/Madagascar.html.

30 Students should be trained to do so from memory, as last night's homework would have been to copy this vocabulary. Students may go to notes if stuck, but the climate of the class should prevent students from relying on them.

31 Whenever possible, teach vocabulary with gestures and actions, so that a simple movement from you will trigger the meaning for students.

32 In Keita!, when Djeliba visits the Keita household, his first meal is spaghetti, with which he is unfamiliar. He calls it sapakti, and eats it with his hands, as is his custom.

33 Paintings in: Poupeye, Veerle. Caribbean Art. New York: Thanes & Hudson, 1998, p.41,42; poem in: Senghor, Léopold Sedar. Anthologie de la nouvelle poésie nègre et malgache, de langue français. Paris: Presse Universitaires de France, 1948, p. 44-47.

34 Have one student introduce an artist and another, his artwork, for more participation.

35 Thank you Dudley Andrew!

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Resources

Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. New York: Fawcett Crest, 1959. World-reknowned novel concerning an African Ibo village in Nigeria. I have used it for a single quote; I will encourage collaborating Language Arts teachers to use selections.

Allers, Roger and Minkoff, Rob. The Lion King, (89 minutes) 1994. Disney film based upon the same Sundiata myth upon which Keita! is also based. In October 2003 a DVD version will be available, with both French and English audio and subtitle options.

Andrew, Dudley. Communication during the seminar Geography Through Film & Literature. 2003. Mr. Andrew was an endless source of information and inspiration while writing this unit.

Bacquart, Jean-Baptiste. The Tribal Arts of Africa: Surveying Africa's Artistic Geography. New York: Thames & Hudson, 1998. A great source of information and photographs of African art forms, in both color and black and white.

Cain, Joy Duckett. "The source of our magic: 10 artists at the height of their creative powers talk about their work, their inspiration and why they do what they do." Essence, vol.26, 59(6). Information on filmmaker Euzhan Palcy for Martinique sub-unit.

Danticat, Edwige. Krik? Krak! New York: Vintage Books, 1991. Short stories about Haiti; may be used in the Martinique call and response storytelling section.

Demers, Dominique. La Nouvelle Maîtresse. Québec: Québec Amérique Jeunesse, 1994. French language youth book that, along with the same authors' La Mystérieuse Bibliothécaire, informed the storyline for La mystérieuse mademoiselle C.

Hale, Thomas. "Griottes: Female Voices from West Africa (Women as Oral Artists)." Research in African Literatures, Vol. 25 (1994): 71(21). Expansion of the griot topic, with a focus on female voices.

Jones, Fredric. Tools for Teaching. Santa Cruz: Fredric H. Jones and Assocs., 2000. Excellent book for classroom management; includes ideas for motivational games.

Jutra, Claude & Perron, Clément. Mon Oncle Antoine (110 minutes) 1971. A coming of age film set in the asbestos mining region of Quebec. A bit racy, but landscape shots and the scene of a shopkeeper preparing a window for Christmas crèche can be shown in clip.

Kaboré, Gaston. Wend Kuuni/ God's Gift. (75 minutes) 1982. Wonderful film from Burkina Faso about an abandoned mute boy. Shows traditional offering of the kola nut.

Lacher, Irene and Kelley, Jack. "Screen: Euzhan Palcy has a face the camera loves but finds the view better behind the lens." People, 10/16/1989, 71. Information on Palcy.

Luce, Louise Fiber. The French-Speaking World: An Anthology of Cross-Cultural Perspectives. Chicago: National Textbook Company, 1995. Academic text, not suitable in itself for middle schoolers, but concepts can be culled and adapted for in-class use.

Poupeye, Veerle. Caribbean Art. New York: Thanes & Hudson, 1998. Informative book on Caribbean art, with many quality illustrations.

Racevskis, Maija. "Applications of African Cinema in the high school curriculum: a secondary teacher's views of Three Tales From Senegal, Ca twiste a Poponguine, Udju Azul di Yonta, Hyenas,and Keita." Research in African Literature, Vol. 27 (1996): 98 (12). Helpful article on Keita. Includes list of proverbs to discuss with students.

Reader, John. Africa: A Biography of the Continent. New York: Vintage Books, 1997. Too dense for classroom use. Good read for a deeper understanding of the continent.

Sarr, A. Dieng, Tall, C., and Diop, F. Le conte:mode d'emploi (Expolitation du conte à l'école maternelle et dans les petites classes de l'école élémentaire. Versailles Cedex: Les classiques africains, 1996. French pedagogical book of traditional African tales to use in children's classes. There are ideas for use that are good starting points for lessons.

Senghor, Léopold Sedar. Anthologie de la nouvelle poésie nègre et malgache, de langue français. Paris: Presse Universitaires de France, 1948. French language poetry from Africa and the Caribbean.

Ukadike, N. Frank. "The Hyena's Last Laugh, an interview with Djibril Diop Mambety." Transition 78, Vol.8, No.2 (1999): 136-53. Posted with Permission on: http://www.newsreel.org/articles/mambety.htm. Good background article; Mambety gives another meaning to the name Burkina Faso.

Various Artists. Au Bal Antillais: Creole Biguines from Martinique. Arhoolie Folklyric, 1992. Music and Liner Notes. Background music for class.

Various Artists. Bonya/Respect: Griot Music from Mali #2. PAN Records, 1997. Music and Liner Notes. Background music for class.

Zobel, Joseph. La Rue Cases-Nègres. Paris: Présence Africaine, 1974. French language version to excerpt for language practice.

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Websites

http://www.africa.coca-cola.com. Coca-cola Company's Africa-based website. For use with lesson on kola nut and to inform debate on the presence of Coca-cola in Africa.

http://africafocus.library.wisc.edu. University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries - AfricaFocus. A well-assembled collection of color photographs of life in Africa.

www.air-mad.com/about_regions.html. Print map of the 6 climactic regions of Madagascar, with explanations of each.

http://atlas.gc.ca/site/index.html. Natural Recources Canada/Ressources Naturelles Canada. Very informative bilingual site to use for facts, maps, or in-class translation.

www.bfi.org.uk/education/events/festival/pdf/lff/mysterious_miss_c.pdf. British Film Institute. Class resource for Miss C, with plot breakdown, and discussion questions.

www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook. CIA World Factbook 2002 Website. Thorough, detailed information on countries.

www.cocc.edu/cagatucci/classes/hum211/index.htm. Professor Cora Agatucci's Humanities 211, Cultures and Literatures of Africa, course site. The site is invaluable for information on Keita! L'héritage du griot, Africa in general, lineage of different ethnic groups, and myth. Each section referenced in Notes will include the specific location within this foundation site. This site is detailed and very useable.

www.congocookbook.com/c0177.html. Wonderful resource for African recipes, information on indigenous ingredients, and customs.

www.frommers.com/destinations. Good for tourist-ified overviews of countries.

http://geography.about.com/library/faq/blqzantilles.htm (& faq/blqzwindward.htm). About.com. Explanation of the Leeward and Windward Islands of the Antilles.

http://ias.berkeley.edu/orias/hero/sunjata/index.html. Informative site on Sundiata myth.

www.imdb.com. The Internet Movie Database. Invaluable site for locating and learning about films to use in the classroom. By conducting a Power Search,35 you can search for films by country, language, keyword, etc. Explore the options for great information.

www.infoplease.com. Excellent source of country information, maps and flags.

www.kidzone.ws/geography/constitution.htm. Kid-friendly website on Canadian government and political divisions.

www.newsreel.org. California Newsreel. A website devoted to African and African American film, culture, and society. Good for information on films and current events.

www.sas.upenn.edu/African_Studies. Encompassing site on African Studies, with links to K-12 Resources. Malagasy recipes and information on cuisine found here.

www.statcan.ca/start.html. Statistics Canada/Statistique Canada. Bilingual, comprehensive website. Includes a separate portal for students to navigate. Each section referenced in Notes will include the specific location within this foundation site.

www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn. U.S. State Department Background Notes Website. Thorough, detailed information on countries.

http://users.cwnet.com/zaikabe/merina/manusa.htm. Academic, thorough site to define terms and connections amongst Malayo-Indonesian (Nusantarian) family of cultures.

http://web.uflib.ufl.edu/cm/africana/poets.htm - Overview of Francophone African poets.

www.yale.edu/peace/2002unit7.htm. Yale University PEACE BY PEACE 2002-2003 Curriculum, Unit 7 - De-escalation 3: Overcoming Stereotypes. Helps explore the relationship between generalization and stereotype, and the hurtfulness of stereotype.

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