This fall our program sent several international speakers out to two main schools: Tallmadge Middle School in Tallmadge and to SCOPE Academy in southern Summit County.
At Tallmadge Middle School (TMS) we started the year with an introductory session with the incoming 6th graders on Sept. 11. We shared stories of previous speakers and handed out our new addition to the program, our Passport.
The Passport was developed to go hand-in-hand with the KYCKYW program. It looks like a real passport and asks all the students details they would need to fill out, but that is where the similarities end. This passport is for investigating both other countries and cultures around the world and countries and cultures right in our own backyard.
We encourage the students to go out and try a new international restaurant, go to a culture fair, to see what is inside an ethnic grocery store and see what the same is and what is different.
Then we encourage them to explore a new language and learn at least some basic phrases in another language.
The rest of the book is filled with pages so they can reflect on the different speakers, countries or cultures that they get to see and hear throughout our program.
We also have an opportunity for eight lucky students at Tallmadge Middle School to be “student reporters.” The students applied for the position through their homeroom teacher. Those selected (two from every homeroom) get to learn what it is like to be a citizen journalist through the KYCKYW partnership with the Akronist.com. Chris Miller, editor of the Akronist, trained the students on things all budding reporters should know, such as how to be unbiased in telling your story and the importance of fact-checking.
After the reporters were trained and ready to go about their jobs, rotating their positions of reporter, editor, photographer, and recorder, we scheduled their first two visits from international speakers in November: one from Afghanistan, and a group visiting the area through Akron International Friendship and Open World Programs from the Ukraine. I will save the details of the visits for the student reporters who are hard at work on their two stories.
We closed out the Fall 2013 program at Tallmadge Middle School with an event in December entitled “Holidays Around the World,” where the students were introduced to different holiday celebrations through culture and religion.
SCOPE Academy was our first pilot program for the younger children (kindergarten through 4th grade) and we started the fall off with a unique visit to the 3rd and 4th grade classes, from Bhutanese refugee and a family of citizen diplomats who have worked at helping Bhutanese refugees resettle in the Summit County area, as well as taking part in a program called Woven In Exile. During the visit the children learned about weaving, including a type of weaving called “back-strap weaving.”
At the time the 3rd grade class was working on their own weaving projects and they really enjoyed sharing their weavings with the visitors.
Shortly after that visit, the 3rd and 4th grades were visited by the same Open World group from the Ukraine. The students learned songs and were able to see comparisons between the Ukraine and the United States. It was a fun experience that everyone enjoyed.
SCOPE closed out with a visit from Michelle Wilson on the 1000 Cranes for Peace Project and our local project to spread peace to children in areas that most need some hope for peace.
The first country we are working to send 1000 cranes to is Syria. The students learned about the story of Sadako, a Japanese girl, who through her simple act of kindness for others became a worldwide prayer for peace. In addition the students were introduced to Syria and the children who now live in refugee camps because the war there has caused them to flee.
SCOPE together with Tallmadge Middle School is putting together 1000 Cranes of Peace for Syria. They will be delivered to the Syrian Embassy in Washing DC at the end of January 2014.
If you would like to know more about Know Your community – Know Your World or any of the projects mentioned or if you want to help with the 1000 Cranes of Peace; please visit our website at http://know-your-world.org or email [email protected] for more information.