Mind the Gap: Planting the Seeds of Cultural Awareness

byMolly Myers
"We see things not as they are but as we are." -Talmud 1

Unit Essential Questions: Who am I? How do I see things? Why does it matter?


I grew up in Wyoming which is not exactly a state brimming with diversity. There were ranchers and townies, a few people of color (African Americans and Latinos mostly) who lived in apartments across town, and a handful of American Indians who left the reservations to find jobs in the 50,000+ "metropolitan" center that was my hometown, Casper. For the better part of my early childhood, I largely knew only one race and one culture. In the late 1970s, a group of Vietnamese families moved to Casper to escape persecution following America's withdrawal from the Vietnam War. They were sponsored by area churches who organized to help them find furniture and clothing to begin life anew. It was only later that I began to think about what that experience might have been like for those families leaving the dense greenery of Southeast Asia and coming to the barren landscape, both physically and culturally, of Wyoming. I remember one event from that time distinctly. My church organized a "night of learning" where the Vietnamese families came to church and showed us how to cook Vietnamese meals, how to greet people in their language, and taught us songs and traditions from their culture. While I am not sure what that night meant to those families who were so far away from their cultural hearth, I can say that it meant a lot to me. I began to see that there were other ways of seeing. From that night on I began to see the value of listening and learning about a culture as a way to understand, and then bridge, differences.

So often in adolescence it is the differences that divide us. Who is cooler or "lamer" than me? Who is smarter? Prettier? More popular? The list goes on and the Darwinian struggle to come out on top is often brutal. You can see it in the hallways of my high school. Students, intoxicated by insecurity and the fear that comes with it, finding a place for themselves through the act of picking on those who, for whatever reason, fall below them on the hierarchy of the acceptable. Hallways are defining spaces in a high school. They often serve as a gauntlet through which students daily walk trying to find their place in the world. Lockers, stairways, lunchroom tables are all places where these moments of truth are found. As humans we often believe our way of seeing the world is the only way. Particularly when we rarely, if ever, have to confront difference.

Like me, most of my students have grown up knowing only one race and one culture. Chicago is a city of ethnic/racial pockets isolated from each other by barriers both real and imagined. My school is a place of cultural confusion where last year was the first year our Mandarin teacher was not asked if she ate dog, where all Latino students are categorized as Mexican, where skin color is measured in shades, and Arab-American students face criticism for wearing the hijab. Our growing diversity is our strength and it serves as an opportunity for learning how to build bridges between cultures without sacrificing our own identities in the process.

Rationale for Unit

Culture as an intangible has been a big part of the seminar on the Big Easy. Originally, I was interested in the idea of having students become ethnographers and enter the unfamiliar through the cultural nodes existing in the city of Chicago–Chinatown, Little Italy, Pilsen, etc. Using the cultural milieu of New Orleans as my model, I would help students understand the geographic ideas of migration, distribution, concentration, diffusion, etc. I still plan to do that unit but, as is always the case with the amazing intellectual carnival that is the Yale seminar experience, I began to realize that I was missing a critical first step. Students, or all of us for that matter, need to understand their own acculturation, their own "cultural lenses" through which they see the world before entering another culture as a responsible ethnographer. In short, they need to first become auto-ethnographers. For this unit students will begin the work of personal archeology digging through the layers of their own experientially developed culture.

This is no small task. Drunk off the heady hormonal cocktail that is adolescence, ninth graders are known for their hyperbolized solipsism. Right or wrong, always or never, beautiful or nasty–these dichotomies serve in many ways as protection against seeing the complexity of the world without a fully developed frontal lobe. As Deborah Tannen writes in You Just Don't Understand: "We all know we are unique individuals, but we tend to see others as representatives of groups. It's a natural tendency, since we must see the world in patterns in order to make sense of it; we wouldn't be able to deal with the daily onslaught of people and objects if we couldn't predict a lot about them and feel that we know who and what they are. But this natural and useful ability to see patterns of similarity has unfortunate consequences. It is offensive to reduce an individual to a category, and it is also misleading." 2 The hallways of America's high schools offer great examples of categorization leading to unfortunate consequences.

Such reductionism and misinterpretation is the motivation for this unit. Yet, it is the adolescent's unfinished brain which makes room for the transformative. It is in adolescence when the shell of our own insecurities thickens. Most of the time, insecurity serves as a blunt instrument to oversimplify the world and make rigid judgments that preserve our sense of self. Yet insecurity within a safe space allows for a soft heart to seek compassion and to find the courage to look within oneself first to see the choices we are making and work to change ourselves.

Viktor Frankl, author of Man's Search for Meaning, introduced the idea of logotherapy following his experience in a concentration camp during World War II. At its core, logotherapy is the idea that our choices represent our agency. "Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom." 3 The space must be created through purposeful reflection. My unit aims to maintain the tension between information and reflection.

Metacognitive reflection is the cornerstone of cultural awareness. The ability to know what you know and to reflect on that knowledge before responding to stimuli is the essence of self-improvement. The sum of our experience, whether it be 15 years or 40 years, shapes the way we see the world. For much of this time, we were unaware of what we were learning. This indoctrination created layers upon layers of lenses that alter our perspective and, therefore, our reactions. With disciplined reflection, these layers can begin to be made visible and selected or deselected as a matter of purposeful choice. "True intercultural competence requires (atleast) a heightened sense of self-awareness, an ability to self-assess, enhanced perceptiveabilities, and a proclivity to reflect on experience. In other words, intercultural development requires metacognitive maturity." 4 While I don't anticipate my ninth graders to arrive at full metacognitive maturity, I believe that this unit is the first of hopefully many opportunities to create an ever-extending gap between their perceptions and their actions. It is this space, this gap between perception and judgment, that lies at the heart of my unit.

Context and Relevance

I teach children. In essence that is the only context needed for this unit to apply, in some way, to you. As humans we all have cultural lenses that we need to dissect, understand, and re-form following reflection. I teach high school, a group both more and less capable than younger students to evaluate their lenses and begin the work of "personal archeology," or the digging through the layers of what has been learned. I teach on the South side of Chicago at a school that is growing in size and shifting in demographics. It is this shifting demographic from 85% African American and 15% Latino for the senior class to a near even split of these two populations for this year's entering freshman class that makes this unit more urgently needed.

This unit is designed for a ninth grade Human Geography course. It aligns with my unit on culture, religion, and "identity" (which includes race/ethnicity, gender and sexuality) and is meant as a supplemental enrichment to the unit content itself. This unit also works with any teacher who is aligning with other courses thematically. As an entire ninth grade team, we begin the year with the theme of identity. For this reason we have chosen the chapters referenced above in the human geography text and I have chosen the readings, videos, and imagery to correspond with issues of identity that relate to these three areas. This unit could also work well with a humanities, psychology, or sociology course as well as a course on leadership through self-awareness.


An important unit objective is to help students understand that cultures can exist together and enrich our lives without threatening our sense of self. Together, we will explore our own cultural substance as a series of choices and experiences rather than as an innate fact.

Students and teacher in the class will explain how identity and culture are socially constructed. Through readings, film clips, images, and our own reflective analysis, students will see how culture is defined by location and time and is constantly changing. They will also be able to explain how their worldview is one perspective of many.

Students and teacher in the class will define the ways that they have constructed an identity and culture. We will identify what we have learned as individuals that shapes our perspective.

Students and teacher in the class will evaluate the process of understanding their cultural lenses. Through guided self-reflection using interactive journals, we will gauge our progress in unearthing the layers of cultural understandings and assumptions that have developed and assess our ability to remove ourselves from these assumptions in order to open up and consider the ideas of others.

Unit Readings


This first section of the unit focuses on culture. Culture as defined by geographers is "a group of belief systems, norms, and values practiced by a people." 5 The content for this section defines the difference between folk culture and popular culture as well as identifies how culture diffuses or is appropriated and, often, commodified or destroyed through globalization.

The first interactive journal assignment (see strategies section for a detailed description of all strategies mentioned in this section) will create their own "Life Road Map" which asks students to map out the significant experiences of their life up to the present as well as their future hopes. By creating their map, we will discuss how our experiences have shaped the person we are today and what we believe about the world. Students will create a T-chart with identity terms (i.e. American, white, female, gay, etc) on the left side and what I believe based on this identity (i.e. democracy is the best form of government) on the right side. I will model this with my own life to help them understand.

The first reading for this section will be "The Bear that Wasn't" this excerpt comes from the text entitled Holocaust and Human Behaviorfrom the Facing History and Ourselves program. This story, told like a children's story, is about a bear who goes into hibernation, and while he sleeps, a factory is built around him. When he awakens he is confused, as are the factory workers who assume he is a factory worker and insist he get to work. The bear argues that he is a bear but no one throughout the bureaucratic chain will believe him.

"You can't be a Bear. Bears are only in a zoo or a circus. They're never inside a factory and that's where you are; inside a factory. So how can you be a Bear?" 6

Eventually, the bear gives in and becomes what everyone else believes he is and gets to work in the factory. When the factory closes, he once again feels the pull of his true nature and returns to hibernation. The message of the story is that identity is as much shaped by who we are as who others believe we are.

The second reading, entitled, "What tints your cultural lens on racial issues?"from the Christian Science Monitor, is meant to play off the first and introduce the idea of the "cultural lens." This reading defines the concept of the cultural lens and explains how it works on the subconscious level. It also defines the importance of understanding our lenses. According to the article, the danger of cultural lenses is that we believe we are seeing things clearly–we are seeing them as they are. Here a quote from the Talmud proves useful–"We see things not as they are but as we are." This is more than a question of how we see–it is really a question of who we are. The article ends with the line "It's the things we don't know about each other that hurt us." 7 Our ninth grade team is working on helping students understand main idea and supporting detail. I will use this article to practice that skill using a model created by the team.

To delve further into the idea of culture as a construct, we will look at a concept most students would believe is agreed upon throughout cultures: time. The first reading, "Living on Tokyo Time," is written by an American living in Japan trying to navigate the Japanese understanding of time as belonging to society. The author argues "the Japanese grow up with a sense of time as a communal resource." 8 The other reading is an excerpt from the essay "The Muse is always half-dressed in New Orleans" from Andrei Codrescu's New Orleans, Mon Amour where he describes a very different concept of time from the Japanese. "New Orleans time is approximate: No one gets to parties for at least one hour after the official hour....Everyone is extremely well-mannered, and manners take time." 9 Through this analysis of time, my goal is for students to understand how culture affects every aspect of life.

Moving from the seemingly simple idea of time to the more complex understanding of needs and wants. Here I will use the book Material Worldto help students get an understanding ofthe world's family. The interactive journal will ask students to name their most valued possession and explain the choice. My room is organized into tables with four students at each table. Each student will get one family's story and will have to complete a "like me/not like me" T-chart. Through this activity, students will see that, like time, what we value depends on when and where we live.


The second section of the identity unit focuses on religion. The purpose of this section is to provide an overview of religions in terms of their origin, sacred spaces and traditions, how they have diffused (or remained local) and led to conflicts in regions of overlap. Robert Stoddard and Carolyn Prorak define religion in their book Geography in America as "a system of beliefs and practices that attempts to order life in terms of culturally perceived ultimate priorities." 10 Because of the enormous role religion plays in the lives of many of my students, this is often tricky ground for a teacher. To represent religion as a cultural choice will cause many of my students to shut down. Yet, it is this response that I believe makes it even more necessary to find a way to get them to acknowledge that others are as dogmatic in their position and belief of rightness as they are and to posit the question: What happens when my truth is in conflict with another person's truth? How do we live together?

The first reading for this section, "The Effects of Religious Stereotyping" is from the Facing History and Ourselves text Holocaust and Human Behavior. Providing three examples of cultural lenses, this reading is a great introduction to the new section while also providing an opportunity for looping back to review the essential ideas of the unit.

Cultural lenses also play a significant role in political conflict. Students, in pairs, will next read two perspectives on the building of the Islamic cultural center (known by some as the "ground zero mosque") two blocks away from the 9/11 memorial. This provides another opportunity for close reading as students tease out the cultural assumptions made by each side in the debate. Additionally, through dialogue about the arguments on both sides, students are asked again to evaluate the origin of their beliefs.

Polygamy and sati, both practices that have been outlawed by their respective religions but continue still today will press students who were reluctant to take a stand on previous issues. When faced with cultural practices that directly conflict with our own morality, we must grapple with the tension between judgment and cultural relativism. Here our cultural lenses often provide the rhetorical argument for our position–If we feel it, it must be true. This section of the unit corresponds to the standards of research identified by the freshman team. Students will search for articles on both topics through the databases in the library. They will identify the origins of the practices and why they continue despite a shift in the laws. The interactive journal question will ask them to explain their thoughts and emotions about the practices.

Identity: Race, Ethnicity, Gender and Sexuality

Race/ethnicity, gender, and sexuality encompass the final section of the identity unit. This section introduces students to the notion of cultural constructs of race and gender as well as the real impact of those constructs on groups within society. It also examines identity and space–how spaces are gendered or sexualized. For my students race and ethnicity is a significant part of their identity. The personal archeology for them to examine what they have learned about their own race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality and that of others. How would they define their own identity within these terms? What assumptions do they make of others?

The first reading, another from the excellent resource Holocaust and Human Behavior from the Facing History and Ourselves program, is entitled "Little Boxes" and tells the story of one person's struggle to identify herself by the limiting definitions of society. He begins the reading with the act of checking ethnicity boxes on a form but expands into identification as a whole. After a long internal search, he settles on the argument that it is the external that is limiting but if we can remove ourselves from those limitations, our power of self-creation and recreation is endless. It ends with seeing the struggle for identity as a source of strength. "I am not objective. I am subjective with more than one bias, so I can see both sides of an argument between a black militant and white conservative, a tenant and a landlord or a Protestant and a Catholic. I will usually side with the underdog, but it is necessary to understand opposing viewpoints in order to take a position." 11

The second reading for this day, "Stereotyping" is from the same text and tells two stories of the power of ethnic identity. The first story is about a Native American who entered the Marines and lost his identity to the nicknames and stereotypes that the other men put on him. The second story is from the perspective of an Asian high school student who initially valued the positive stereotypes that he received but eventually those stereotypes proved hard to live up to. The messages of both readings call for a return to "The Bear That Wasn't" story to help the class understand that while society works to simplify and categorize, it is essential that we see others and see ourselves as the multi-layered beings that we are.

Another opportunity to examine lenses and reflect on the meaning of our own responses, arises through the use of two conflicting interpretations of the government response to Hurricane Katrina and her aftermath in New Orleans. Using an excerpt from Spike Lee's When the Levees Broke that argues the government response was slow and inadequate juxtaposed with a National Review article that praises the response by the federal government.

An excerpt from Dave Eggers' Zeitoun provides students with another opportunity for close reading of cultural lenses. Here the book's namesake has been arbitrarily arrested and taken to a makeshift jail at the Greyhound station. The cultural lenses of the guard is glaringly obvious as they fed them pork despite knowledge of their religion (Muslim) and when Zeitoun asked why they were there, the response from a guard was "You guys are al Qaeda." 12 Not only does this offer an opportunity for close reading and conversation but it is also a place to reflect on our own experiences of being both the guard and the prisoner.

Finally, students will examine the presentation of gender and sexuality in magazine and television advertisements. Deconstructing the gendered arguments presented in ads and reflecting on their own response to these images. I have collected these advertisements over time for the Women's Studies course that I teach every other year. The ads vary in their complexity and will serve as a way for students to find images that challenge them.

Classroom Strategies

Interactive journals

Interactive journals offer multiple points of entry for students to navigate the content and make their own connections with the larger ideas of the unit. I was first introduced to interactive journals through the History Alive! curriculum and have been using them in some form ever since. The basic idea of interactive journals is to have students write notes on one side of a notebook and the other side is left for the student to genuinely interact with the information from the notes. For this side, students are given options for expressing their ideas. Students can write in prose or poetry, draw images, cut images out and make connections with the material, or come up with other ways to present their connections to what they are learning. (See appendix for larger explanation and example of interactive journals and journal prompts used for this unit)

Anticipation Guides

These guides will serve as an introduction to each of the three sections of the unit. Anticipation guides vary with purpose but for this unit they will be used to introduce ideas through aspects of culture. Such guides serve as jumping off points to help get students discussing the larger concepts by taking positions or identifying norms without the fear of being wrong.

Life Road Map 13

This pre-learning strategy asks students to take positions on issues or to answer questions of content to assess their prior knowledge. In this case the students will draw a time-line map of their life thus far including map-like items such as mountains, four-way stops, short cuts, etc that represent events in their life that were difficult or meaningful. The point of this exercise is to encourage students to think about their lives with a long lens and to mark the events that may have contributed to the development of their cultural lens. Baptism is one example of such an event. By choosing that path, many students may have adopted beliefs that shape the way they see the world. Instance of racism is another example that could contribute to the beliefs about a group of people.

Main Idea and Supporting Detail

As part of our freshman team, all teachers are working to help students better understand main idea and supporting details. We are working to create worksheets that help students break down the skills and practice seeing how a text works.

Schoology (on-line discussion forum)

Throughout the course students will use the on-line private forum of schoology for discussions and reflections. Schoology is essentially a Facebook for your classroom. A place where the teacher and students can post links, images, resources, etc to start or respond to a conversation.

Human Sculptures

I first learned this strategy in a class called "Improv for Teachers" offered at Second City Improv 1 4 in Chicago but it is also listed in the Facing History and Ourselves teaching strategies page (see bibliography). Essentially, the idea is to get students moving and thinking about how to physically represent an idea. For this unit, I will use the terms "masculine" and "feminine" as the characteristic to be represented. Prior to the activity, students will journal what they believe the terms "masculine" and "feminine" mean. Students will choose one person in the pair to be sculptor and another student to be the clay to be molded into the image of the characteristic. This not only gets students moving but it also creates a moment where many will let down their awareness of their cultural lenses for the sake of the "game."

Bringing the Image to Life

Project an image on the screen for students to examine. For this unit the image should contain four or more people that shows cultural lenses at work. One example from history is the famous image of the Little Rock Nine student, Elizabeth Eckford, walking to school alone and being followed by a jeering crowd (see appendix). Here students step in the shoes of the people in the image and provide their thoughts. This allows students to both explore their own interpretations of perspectives but, within these interpretations, lie our own beliefs and assumptions. This activity offers an opening for dialogue.

Media Literacy

This strategy will be used to evaluate female advertisements, another strategy from the Facing History and Ourselves website (see appendix for link). 15 The basic idea of this strategy is to use the "describe-identify-interpret-evaluate-reflect" process. For example, students will be given (or bring in) a magazine advertisement where they will describe in detail what is happening in the image. From there, they identify "basic information about the image" and generate questions that they would need to answer to help them better understand. Step three is to answer the question, "Given what you see and what you know about the image, what do you think it means?" followed by an evaluation of purpose and audience. Finally, the students reflect on the impact of this image.

Sample Daily Lessons

Getting Started

The homework assignment prior to the first day of the unit is the life road map. Students will bring this to class to share (if they so choose) with their classmates and to begin to see their lives as a series of events and choices. I will ask students to choose three events on their road map and answer the following journal questions–What did you learn from this event? How did you change following this event?

Following the journal writing, students will follow the images as I read "The Bear that Wasn't Aloud." I will prepare them for the story with the quote from the Talmud, "We do not see things as they are; we see them as we are." After reading the story, we will return to the quote in pairs first to discuss how they are similar. Students are always ready to explain how they have been misunderstood or misrepresented. This story opens the pathway for such statements and encourages class participation.

The final reading for the class period is Linda Wallace article on cultural lenses. It is a short article and directly relevant to my students. I will ask students to consider how the bear story and the lens article are similar. What are the dangers of cultural lenses? How do cultural lenses develop? How can we begin to deconstruct our lenses and open our minds? From this article and these questions, students will begin to posit ideas for how to define cultural lenses and how to help understand them? This strategy is meant to build momentum and student interest for the rest of the unit.

Making the Unfamiliar Familiar

In an effort to challenge my students, who are often budding relativists, I am going to use the National Geographic series called Taboo to examine three different cultural perspectives on handling the dead. The episode highlights very different cultural traditions from digging up the dead only to rebury them to the small Hindu sect that eats the deceased. The stories will force students to confront their own beliefs and provide an opportunity to practice reserving judgment to gather the facts and make a reasoned argument. Students watching the video will take notes with a T-chart divided by practices and beliefs (similar to what they did on the first day of the unit). Using this chart as our guide, students will discuss first how they feel about the practices present and try to explain what in their past has made them feel that way.

Following that students will journal from the perspective of one of the people interviewed in the film defending their religion and practice. Students will have five minutes to brainstorm and ten minutes to write. The final exercise will ask students to read another students journal entry in defense of the practice and look for ways it would be similar if you were defending your own religion or beliefs.

Seeing with New Eyes

Through "reading" magazine and television advertisements that send gendered messages, I aim to help students understand that all advertisements sell more than a product; it is selling culture. Using a collection of images, I have gathered over the years student pairs examine them by using the media literacy strategy described above (we will do one advertisement together to model the detail and deliberation required). Following the description, student pairs explain the argument that the advertisement is making and what that argument may tell use about how our society views gender. Since gender will have already been defined along with student ideas about what makes someone masculine and feminine (see Human Sculptures in strategies section), the question students will discuss is: How do we learn gender norms? When did you know what masculine and feminine meant?


The assessment for this portion of the unit's information will be a portfolio of the interactive journals from each day. Unlike the limited understanding that educators get from multiple choice exams, interactive journals serve as growing conversation between student and teacher and offer an individual look at what students are learning. The entries will be curated by the students themselves to demonstrate their growing understanding of the objectives. Students will explain their choices and through reflecting on the rubric and making an argument for the grade they should receive. Additionally, a reflective essay answering the essential question using information from class as well as the student's past and present experiences will serve as the final formal writing assessment for the unit and quarter.


Culture Section Anticipation Guide:

Students will answer True, False, or N/A to the following statements beginning with "In my culture..."

-it is okay to eat pork.

-it is acceptable to have more than one wife.

-we respect our elders.

-soccer is more popular than basketball.

-money is important.

-we bury our dead.

-strangers are welcomed into homes and cared for if they are lost.

-parents choose who their children will marry.

-the individual is more important than the group.

-men are valued more than women.

NCSS Standards 16

Learners will understand:

-"Culture" refers to the socially transmitted behaviors, beliefs, values, traditions, institutions, and ways of living together of a group of people.

-That individuals learn the elements of their culture through interpersonal and collective experience

-How people from different cultures develop diverse cultural perspectives and frames of reference

National Geography Standard 17

Standard Six: How culture and experience influence people's perception of places and regions.

Culture and experience shape belief systems, which in turn influence people's perceptions of places and regions throughout their lives. So it is essential that students understand the factors that influence their own perceptions of places and regions, paying special attention to the effects that personal and group points of view can have on their understanding of other groups and cultures. Accordingly, it may be possible for students to avoid the dangers of egocentric and ethnocentric stereotyping, to appreciate the diverse values of others in a multicultural world, and to engage in accurate and sensitive analysis of people, places, and environments

Annotated Bibliography (organized by sections referenced above)


Blij, Harm J., Erin Hogan Fouberg, Charles Fuller, and Alexander B. Murphy. Human Geography: People, Place, and Culture.. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2010.

I highly recommend the identity chapter in this book. It focuses on race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality from a geographer's perspective that asks why are people where they are?

"Facing History and Ourselves." Facing History and Ourselves. www.facinghistory.org (accessed July 18, 2011).

This website is a wealth of materials related to identity as it relates to religion, race/ethnicity, and culture. The units created by Facing History are organized to move students from connecting to self to taking action in the world. I highly recommend their materials and professional development programs.

Frankl, Viktor E.. Man's Search for Meaning: An Introduction to Logotherapy. 3rd ed New York: Simon & Schuster, 1984

This book was given to me in college by my mentor and coach. It isn't directly related to the content of the unit but tangentially it applies in terms of the human ability to make choices. As we grow older and begin to dig into the misconceptions (accidental and purposeful) that we adopted in our childhood, it is important to understand our responsibility and our efficacy in choosing what we continue to believe.

Lane, H. Chad. Metacognition and the Development of Cultural Competence. Workshop on Metacognition and SRL. AIED 2007 http://www.andrew.cmu.edu/user/iroll/aied07-metacognition/Metacognition%20and%20SRL%3A%20Program%20and%20Proceedings.html (Accessed on July 16, 2011)

Culture Readings/Video Clips

Butler, Lynnika. "Living on Tokyo Time." In Short Takes Model Essays for Composition. New York: Longman, 2010. 133-135.

This essay works really well in connection with the chapter from Codrescu's book. The book is organized by types of writing to better help students understand through model essays.

Codrescu, Andrei. "The Muse is Always Half-dressed in New Orleans" New Orleans, Mon Amour: Twenty Years of Writings from the City. Chapel Hill, N.C.: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2006.

Menzel, Peter, and Charles C. Mann. Material World: A Global Family Portrait. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1994.

This is book is really cool.

Strom, Margot Stern, and William S. Parsons. "The Bear that Wasn't" Facing History and Ourselves: Holocaust and Human Behavior. Watertown, Mass. (51 Spring St., Watertown 02172): Intentional Educations, Inc., 1982.

I have used this story in class for many years. High school students enjoy the momentary slide into grammar school that such a story affords but they also refer to the story again and again throughout the unit and year. There is something powerful about the simplicity of it.

Wallace, Linda. "What tints your cultural lens on racial issues?" Christian Science Monitor. September 16, 2005

In looking for articles or essays on cultural lenses, I found this piece by Linda Wallace. It is clearly written and concisely explains the idea of cultural lenses and the impact of them on our society. It serves as a great discussion starter as well as a way to begin the examination of our own cultural lenses.

Religion Readings

Elliott, Justin. "How the "ground zero mosque" fear mongering began - War Room" Salon Magazine Salon.com. http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2010/08/16/ground_zero_mosque_origins (accessed August 1, 2011).

Pew Research Center. "Religion in the New: 2010 - Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life." Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. http://pewforum.org/Politics-and-Elections/Religion-in-the-News—Islam-Was-No—1-Topic-in-2010.aspx (accessed July 20, 2011).

Strom, Margot Stern, and William S. Parsons. "Effects of Religious Stereotyping" Facing History and Ourselves: Holocaust and Human Behavior. Watertown, Mass. (51 Spring St., Watertown 02172): Intentional Educations, Inc., 1982.

"After Death." Taboo - The Complete First Season (National Geographic). DVD. Directed by Morris Abraham. U.S. and Canada: National Geographic Video, 2005.

Identity: Race, Ethnicity, Gender, and Sexuality Readings

Strom, Margot Stern, and William S. Parsons. "Little Boxes" Facing History and Ourselves: Holocaust and Human Behavior. Watertown, Mass. (51 Spring St., Watertown 02172): Intentional Educations, Inc., 1982.

Strom, Margot Stern, and William S. Parsons. "Stereotyping" Facing History and Ourselves: Holocaust and Human Behavior. Watertown, Mass. (51 Spring St., Watertown 02172): Intentional Educations, Inc., 1982.

When the Levees Broke: A Requiem In Four Acts (Documentary). DVD. Directed by Spike Lee. null: HBO Home Video, 2006.

Lowry, Rich. "Rich Lowry on Hurricane Katrina on National Review Online." National Review Calls Home - National Review Online. http://old.nationalreview.com/lowry/lowry200509021258.asp (accessed July 18, 2011).

ARC. "Youth Say Race Still Matters So What Are They Doing About It?" COLORLINES. http://colorlines.com/archives/2011/06/youth_say_race_still_matters—so_what_are_they_doing_about_it.html (accessed July 20, 2011).

American Anthropological Association. "RACE - A Girl Like Me." RACE - Are We So Different?" A Project of the American Anthropological Association. http://www.understandingrace.org/lived/video/index.html (accessed August 5, 2011).

Eggers, Dave. Zeitoun. New York: Vintage Books, 2009.

Prentice Hall. "Gender Stereotypes in Advertising." Gender Stereotypes in Advertising. cwx.prenhall.com/bookbind/pubbooks/morris2/chapter15/medialib/demo/4.html (accessed July 30, 2011).

End Notes

  1. This quote is an internet favorite and various sources are claimed. I have known it for many years as a Talmudic quote but other sources credit Anais Nin.
  2. Deborah Tannen. You Just Don't Understand: Women and Men in Conversations. New York: Ballantine Books, 1991, p. 16.
  3. Viktor E. Frankl. Man's search for meaning: an introduction to logotherapy. 3rd ed New York: Simon & Schuster, 1984, p.
  4. H. Chad Lane. Metacognition and the Development of Cultural Competence. Workshop on Metacognition and SRL. AIED 2007 http://www.andrew.cmu.edu/user/iroll/aied07-metacognition/Metacognition%20and%20SRL%3A%20Program%20and%20Proceedings.html (Accessed on July 16, 2011), p. 1.
  5. Harm J. Blij, Erin Hogan Fouberg, Charles Fuller, and Alexander B. Murphy. Human geography: people, place, and culture.. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2010, p. 112.
  6. Margot Stern Strom and William S. Parsons. Facing history and ourselves: holocaust and human behavior. Watertown, Mass. (51 Spring St., Watertown 02172): Intentional Educations, Inc., 1982. pp. 2-7.
  7. Linda Wallace. "What tints your cultural lens on racial issues?" Christian Science Monitor. September 16, 2005
  8. Lynnika Butler. "Living on Tokyo Time." Short Takes: Model Essays for Composition. Longman: New York, p. 13
  9. Andrei Codrescu. "The Muse Is Always Half-Dressed in New Orleans" New Orleans, Mon Amour: Twenty Years of Writings from the City. Algonquin: Chapel Hill, NC, p. 483 (Kindle version)
  10. Quoted in Harm J. Blij, Erin Hogan Fouberg, Charles Fuller, and Alexander B. Murphy. Human geography: people, place, and culture.. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2010, p. 195.
  11. Strom, p. 12.
  12. Dave Eggers. Zeitoun. New York: Vintage Books, 2009, p. 212.
  13. "Teaching Strategies" Facing History and Ourselves http://www.facinghistory.org/resources (Accessed July 18, 2011)
  14. The Second City. "Training Center - Chicago - Improvisation for Creative Pedagogy - The Second City - 50 Years of Funny ." The Second City. http://www.secondcity.com/training/chicago/coursecatalog/112/ (accessed August 5, 2011).
  15. "Teaching Strategies" Facing History and Ourselves http://www.facinghistory.org/resources (Accessed July 18, 2011)
  16. NCSS. National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies: A Framework for Teaching, Learning, and Assessment. NCSS 2010
  17. National Geographic Society. "Standard Six: How Culture and Experience Influence People's Perceptions of Places and Regions." National Geography Standards. Washington D.C. 1994 http://www.nationalgeographic.com/xpeditions/standards/06/index.html (Accessed August 2, 2011)

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