Africa Day

25 May
Image source: Geographicus Rare Antique Maps

Africa Day is a holiday in Zambia and some other African nations every 25 May. The day celebrates the founding of what is today called the African Union, but originally was called the Organisation for African Unity, which was founded on 25 May 1963.

The Danger of a Single Story (TedTalks)

22 May
“Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice — and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.” This TedTalks video is an excellent one that I recently heard about through a webinar. It’s excellent and I strongly encourage you to watch it. It has been viewed by millions.

Where is Home?

21 May

Paul Salopek (Out of Eden Walk) and other presenters will be talking about the concept of home with a focus on Chicago. This webinar will be on May 26 at 3:00pm (Central Time – US/Canada). Sign up using this link. This talk makes me think about one of my favorite Ted Talks by Pico Iyer, “Where is home?” If you are a long term expatriate (expat) or Third Child Kid (TCK), you will really enjoy this talk. Here is a link to the Ted Talk.

President Obama’s Message to the Class of 2020

19 May

Greetings students!

I hope this blog post finds you well. I have enjoyed hearing from current and formers students from around the world. These are hard times, and I am striving to improve my communication with friends and family. Teachers love to hear from former students. I would love to hear from you and to know how you are doing. I have enjoyed watching social media updates about my former students who preparing to graduate at my former school in Chennai, India. I am very proud of you and wish you all the best. I really enjoyed hearing President Obama’s message to students graduating this year. Whether or not you are graduating this year, watch this excerpt from this speech and reflect on his words of encouragement and hope. I hope to hear from you. Please stay safe.

All the best,

Rob Martin (martin.robert.lee@gmail.com)

CNN 10: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Playlist

1 Apr

CNN 10 shares a growing playlist of short videos that explain the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Check out these short videos that give bite-sized chunks of information for students. Wash your hands, and be well.

Below is a TED-Ed featured video that is also quite well done.

Wide Open School: Distance Learning Resources

1 Apr
Image source: Wide Open Scholl

Wide Open School is a free collection of the best online learning experiences for kids curated by the editors at Common Sense. There is so much good happening, and we are here to gather great stuff and organize it so teachers and families can easily find it and plan each day. Click HERE to find resources – for teachers, parents and students.

Just for Students: Coronavirus (COVID-19)

10 Mar
The New Yorker – Cartoon by William Haefeli
The New Yorker – Cartoon by Pat Achilles

Just For Kids: A Comic Exploring The New Coronavirus (National Public Radio/NPR). Students, this comic is for you. “It’s based on a radio story that NPR education reporter Cory Turner did. He asked some experts what kids might want to know about the new coronavirus discovered in China.” Here is a link in English and a version is Chinese.

Wash Your Lyrics

10 Mar

Wash Your Lyrics

Generate hand washing infographics based on your favourite song lyrics 🎶 Check out this LINK and create your own posters.

Created by William @neoncloth

Out of Eden Walk Coalition (NEW Video)

1 Mar

“The Out of Eden Walk is not one person’s journey. It is a unifying voyage that belongs to humanity.” – Out of Eden Walk Coalition (LINK).

Watch Paul’s newest video which gives an excellent overview of his journey and it’s many connections. If you enjoy storytelling, travel, and photography, as well as topics that focus on global connections, the environment, mass migration, climate change, and people to people connections, then you will find Paul’s journey amazing. In a time when news seems worse then ever, check out Paul’s journey and join his coalition of followers through his blog, National Geographic articles, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter feed. I have enjoyed doing the Out of Eden Learn project with students in Chennai and Lusaka.

Valentine’s Day

13 Feb

The history of Valentine’s Day from the History Channel.

Is there a place for love and romance — or, at least, reading, writing and research about academic aspects of it — in your classroom? Check out these amazing links from the New York Times from across many subject areas for teachers.

Coronavirus Fears

29 Jan

This video was re-shared by The Atlantic with this article. I have a lot of friends teaching in China and I am closely following the news about this virus and how communication and treatment are being managed. Wishing everyone there the best as they try to control the spread of this deadly virus. Here are some articles that I have enjoyed reading (I will add more as I see them):

The Deceptively Simple Number Sparking Coronavirus Fears – The Atlantic – LINK

China’s latest virus outbreak exposes perils of exotic wildlife trade – Reuters – LINK

Leaving Shanghai as the Coronavirus Extended Its Reach – New York Times – LINK

Straw Man: Making Bamboo Straws (Out of Eden Walk)

26 Jan

A new eco-friendly industry is taking root in Assam. With India joining a global environmental movement to restrict single-use plastics, and with Indian restaurants increasingly purging their inventories of plastic straws—the villain of disposable, plastic trash that is washing, at a rate of some eight million tons a year, into the world’s rivers and oceans—the search is on for less polluting alternatives. Enter wild bamboo: The versatile grass that grows abundantly across much of the country and is both organic and sustainable. Click HERE to read Paul Salopek’s latest story, Straw Man.

Incredible India – Director’s Cut (2018)

15 Dec

I only recently saw this ad and it’s nearly two years old. I remember seeing the original ad on CNN about eight years ago when I lived in Kuwait. What a magical place, and I am grateful that my family got to spend six years there. We certainly need to return some day to explore places we did not see.

What Americans Get Wrong About Africa (The Atlantic)

15 Dec

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is the author of books like Americanah and Half of a Yellow Sun. In this animated interview, the Nigerian-born author describes coming to America for college and being floored by how little her classmates knew about Africa. “I don’t think stereotypes are problematic because they’re false. That’s too simple,” she says. “Stereotypes are problematic because they’re incomplete.”

2019 in Pictures

12 Dec

What do you think were the most memorable moments of the year? If you were to make a “Year in Pictures” of your own life, which moments would you include? The New York Times has selected the best photos from 2019 (LINK). A great activity for students could be having them choose 12 photos that represent their year. They could make a slideshow using Google Slides and write a short caption for each photo. The New York Times Learning Network featured this activity (Picture Prompts). I believe it would be an engaging one for all students. I am going to do this activity with my English language learners.

Yakawlang, Afghanistan, May 19
 Students walked home over the mountains from Rustam school, seen behind them. Ninety percent of the school’s graduates get into college. Most are girls. Jim Huylebroek for The New York Times

Time Magazine Person of the Year – Greta Thunberg (2019)

12 Dec

Greta Thunberg, the teen activist from Sweden who has urged immediate action to address a global climate crisis, was named Time magazine’s person of the year for 2019 this week. She is the youngest to receive this award. Thunberg, 16, was lauded by Time for starting an environmental campaign in August 2018 which became a global movement, initially skipping school and camping out in front of the Swedish parliament to demand action.

“In the 16 months since, she has addressed heads of state at the UN, met with the pope, sparred with the president of the United States and inspired 4 million people to join the global climate strike on September 20, 2019, in what was the largest climate demonstration in human history,” the magazine said. Click HERE to read the article in Time magazine.

Climate activist Greta Thunberg photographed on the shore in Lisbon, Portugal December 4, 2019Photograph by Evgenia Arbugaeva for TIME

Vox Atlas: Why Iraq’s Great Rivers are Dying

27 Nov

Iraq gets almost all of its water from two rivers: The Tigris and the Euphrates. Both begin in Turkey and make their way down the entire length of the country, before emptying into the Persian Gulf. The problem is – they are drying up. Watch this excellent video from Vox Atlas to learn more about why the history of the great rivers in this region and the problems that their citizens are currently facing as their rivers dry up.

Vox Atlas: China’s Belt and Road Initiative

27 Nov

China’s Belt and Road Initiative is the most ambitious infrastructure project in modern history. It spans over 60 countries and will cost over a trillion dollars. The plan is to make it easier for the world to trade with China, by funding roads, railways, pipelines, and other infrastructure projects in Asia and Africa. China is loaning trillions of dollars to any country that’s willing to participate and it’s been a big hit with the less democratic countries in the region. This makes the BRI a risky plan as well. But China is pushing forward because its goals are not strictly economic, they’re also geopolitical. This video is a fascinating one and a nice connection to lessons related to trade and globalization.

What is Movember?

20 Nov

“Men’s health is in crisis. Men are dying on average 6 years earlier than women, and for largely preventable reasons. Unchecked, prostate cancer rates will double over the next 15 years. Testicular cancer rates have already doubled in the last 50. And across the world, one man dies by suicide every minute of every day, with males accounting for 75% of all suicides.” – Movember

A group teachers, administrators, and parents at the American International School of Lusaka (Zambia) are growing moustaches and raising money and awareness for men’s health issues. Please see my profile page and story on this LINK. I am seeking support this month and have nine days left to raise money for our fundraiser. Our team, the Lusaka League of Extraordinary Moustaches appreciates your support. Check out these links to learn more about Movember.

Movember Instagram

Movember website

Movember Facebook

Vox Borders Series – Check it out!

18 Nov

Governments draw borders. Governments manage borders. But humans live inside them. From the North Pole to the northern shore of Africa to the Himalayas of Nepal, the lines we’ve used to apportion the planet play a decisive role in the past, present, and future of billions.” – Vox Borders series.

A friend and former colleagued shared a video by Johnny Harris, who is the creator for Vox Borders. I was not familiar with his work or this video series on the human impact of lines on a map. It’s terrific!!! Migration, maps, and borders are topics I am very passionate about, and I think that you will like these videos and photos. I have selected a few to show you here. I will share more on my website.

Johnny Harris – Instagram & Facebook

Vox Borders Series – FacebookYoutube ChannelWebsite

Taking Neighborhood Walks

17 Nov
Image source: GuommyBear@23
Image source: GuommyBear@23
Image source: Rob Martin
Image source: SourPatch9876
Image source: Bumble_Bee_1420
Image source: m_n_m71
Image source: Swedish-IKEA12
Image source: @purple_enderman
Image source: A_Random_Person
Image source: NoobM@ster69
Image source: SunspotLF1
Image source: Rob Martin
Year two for the Out of Eden Walk at the American International School of Lusaka (Zambia) produced some nice photos. Here are some that resonated with me, along with two photos I took. For many students, walking around their neighborhood is not something they are accustomed to. These students are grade 6 students in a Middle Years Programme (MYP) in Alta Conte’s classroom. I provided support and gave students tips on how to take a good photo. I also showed them exemplars from my former students at the American International School Chennai (India). The instructions from Out of Eden Learn for this footstep (activity) are below:
As you walk in your neighborhood or local area, take photos of things that catch your attention. What do you see, feel, hear, taste, or smell? Try to look at the place and the people who live or work there with fresh eyes. Here are some ideas for different kinds of photos you can take:
  • Photos that capture a whole neighborhood scene, and photos that zoom in on a detail you find interesting.
  • Photos where you’re pointing the camera up and photos where you’re pointing the camera towards the ground.
  • Photos of things that are common or familiar in your neighborhood, and photos of things that might be unexpected or surprising.
  • Something special that you’d like to share.

Paul Arrives in Myanmar (Burma)!

13 Nov
Video source: Out of Eden Walk

“Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist and National Geographic Fellow Paul Salopek is inching into the seventh year of a 24,000-mile walk across the globe that is retracing the pathways of our species’ Stone Age journey out of Africa to South America. Along the way, through a steady stream of multi-media reportage, professional media workshops, classroom interactions, and one-on-one mentoring, Paul and our small team of educators are building an enduring community of fellow storytellers of all ages, who will carry on the project’s philosophy of slowing down to tell complex stories of our time by delving beneath the usual shallow headlines, and sharing the human experience with wonder and empathy.”

Support Paul’s journey through a donation. If you enjoyed Out of Eden Learn, continue to follow Paul’s walk across the world. Please see this LINK for how you can support the Out of Eden Walk.

Out of Eden Learn – A New Year!

7 Oct

Jacaranda Trees in Zambia

26 Sep

Here are some photos I took today on our campus at the American International School of Lusaka (Zambia). I love this time of year when the Jacaranda trees are in bloom. According to Wikipedia, these trees are native to tropical and subtropical regions of Latin America and the Caribbean. They have been planted widely in Asia, especially in Nepal, southern California, Florida, Argentina, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Zambia.

The Bilingual Brain (Ted-Ed Tuesday)

24 Sep

It’s obvious that knowing more than one language can make certain things easier — like traveling or watching movies without subtitles. But are there other advantages to having a bilingual (or multilingual) brain? In this Ted-Ed Talk, Mia Nacamulli details the three types of bilingual brains and shows how knowing more than one language keeps your brain healthy, complex and actively engaged.

In the New York Times last week, The Beauty of Being Bilingual was featured in the opinion section. Natalia Sylvester wrote: “I used to think that being bilingual is what made me a writer, but more and more I see it’s deeper than that. It’s the constant act of interpreting. The journeying back and forth. The discovery that language, and the stories it carries, is not a straight path. Those of us who’ve served as interpreters in everyday life know it’s a bittersweet privilege.” Here is a LINK to the article.

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