06 April 2011

Annotated Pathfinder--World Cultures, Grades K-2

***Note: This is an assignment for my Reference class.  I am pursuing my Master's Degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Southern Mississippi.  We were asked to put together a pathfinder on a topic of our choosing and publish it online.  Publishing on my public blog qualified and that is why it is here.  I hope that someone out there may find it useful.  It was a fun and interesting assignment.  The topic I chose was World Cultures with the target audience being Kindergarten through 2nd Grade. Why I chose the topic is touched on below.  

Annotated Bibliography Pathfinder--World Cultures

Part 1: Basics

a.   Target audience is Kindergarten through 2nd grade, or 5 to 8 year olds.  The environment is an Expeditionary Learning Academy (http://elschools.org/) and Venture Academy (www.venturelearning.org) specifically, located in Marriott-Slaterville, UT.  The school is a public charter school.  In this case, the compilation is for a specific expedition being undertaken by the K-2 pod.  That expedition is entitled: Around the World.

b.   There expedition covers a wide range of cultures and traditions, pulling from multiple topics in the hope of beginning to understand the people and environments of other countries.  The intended purpose of this expedition is, in learning about other countries and other peoples; we can better understand ourselves and our own world.  The purpose of this pathfinder is to compile a list, to touch on all or most parts of the world discussed during the expedition, and to focus those resources, as ones that would be fun and easy to use with those just learning to read and avid readers alike.  It is vital to note, that although due diligence is placed in finding resources that can be used by those who cannot read, those that are just beginning to read, and those that are grade level or above readers, this grouping of abilities covers a vast range.  As such, the online resources may be more suitable for the younger grades, since some resources will actually read to the kids or provide videos and provide for interactive learning games.  The print materials, will be more suitable for those that can read (1-2 grade), but the pictures could provide some focus for the younger group.  It is also vital to note, that during the process of finding these resources, most of them were rated for ages 7-12, while that is on the upper end of the range desired, after looking through the resources themselves, they can easily be adapted to younger students.  Also, at this particular school—Venture Academy—many of the children in 1-2 grade read at or above their reading level, and therefore, many of them can handle pieces that are slightly more challenging. It is the teacher’s responsibility to assist the students in becoming familiar with the resources and to initiate their use within the classroom itself; hopefully, with the help of the librarian. Some of the resources found contained teacher resources embedded within them.  Others, like the CIA World Factbook, would be more useful in this situation for the teacher than the students.

Part 2: Written Resources

  1. Reference Books

1.    A Life Like Mine

DK/UNICEF. (2002). A life like mine. New York: DK Pub.

Written and published by DK publishing in association with UNICEF.  “A Life Like Mine” is arranged encyclopedia style and discusses the world in terms of what we all need to lead a healthy and happy life.  These needs were set out by The Convention on the Rights of the child. This resource explores the lives of children around the world to discover how the convention and world governments are striving to provide those things for children around the world, like food, water, and somewhere to live. The book is divided into four major sections: Survival, Development, Protection, and Participation.  Within each section more general categories are discussed along with highlights of individuals and their lives and family. It is a diverse resource that could be cultivated for specific topics or read front to back. With many photographs, this resource is ideal for those who have yet to learn how to read as well as those who do. It is 127 pages long and includes both a table of contents and an index.

2.    People Around the World

Mason, A. (2002). People around the world. New York: Kingfisher.

“People Around the World” takes you on an exciting journey through every continent on this earth. One gets to meet people, especially children from the familiar to the mysterious.  The book is written encyclopedia style with a table of contents and an index. You begin your journey in the Artic and Subarctic moving on to Europe, North America, South America, Africa, Asia, and Australia and the Pacific. Special sections are devoted to clothing, traditions, ceremonies, religions, languages, education, food, and employment. Bright, colored photographs dot every page, and as such will help with the younger audience.  The text is more suitable for a little older audience however, and so would be ideal for those reading above grade level. There is something for every subject as well, geography, science, social studies, and language arts. There are pages with maps and basic statistics for the areas covered, making this an ideal reference source. It is 256 pages long.

3.    Children’s Illustrated Encyclopedia

DK. (2010). DK children's illustrated encyclopedia. New York, NY: DK Pub.

The DK Children’s Illustrated Encyclopedia is a general encyclopedia for children.  It does not only cover world cultures, although countries and contents are included.  It holds over 1,000 internet links to homework or schoolwork help web sites, which is a tremendous addition.  There are more than 3,000 photographs, maps, and illustrations throughout the encyclopedia.  The way images break up the words makes the encyclopedia vibrant, exciting, and easy to read.  It covers both the past and the present.  The encyclopedia contains a table of contents and indexes both on text and pictures throughout the book.  It is contained in one volume 600 pages long.  Maps, pictures, and basic statistics are given for all the countries discussed.  One can also access the book online via http://www.cie.dkonline.com/. On the website, one can access videos as well as text which are ideally suited for the younger children.

  1. Magazines


Cobblestone & Cricket. (n.d.). Faces: World Cultures. Peterborough, NH: Cobblestone Publishing.

Faces” is a children’s magazine that allows young readers to learn how people in other countries and regions live.  The goal is to nurture appreciation of world traditions and to help young people to think from new viewpoints. According to their website, which can be consulted for ordering information and a view of a sample magazine, “topics each year include national and ethnic groups, global issues, a biography of an international figure, and an up-close look at a region of the U.S.”  The articles are geared toward 7-10 year olds, but the photographs are bright and vivid which would appeal to a younger audience.  Maps and time-lines help to view the world on a global perspective.  Folktales included help the children to experience the culture in a fun way.  Faces is published once a month, and is the only children’s magazine devoted to world cultures that can be found at the local public library here in Weber County, Utah. For ordering information, the website is: http://www.cobblestonepub.com/magazine/FAC/.


Kids Discover: World History. (n.d.). New York (N.Y.): Kids Discover.

“Kids Discover”, has numerous subtitles, however, this particular grouping of magazines are under their themed collections.  Kids Discover: World History specifically focuses on the world around us.  Its concentration is on historical sites around the world.  The magazine is directed toward ages 7-12, but its vibrant artwork and pictures could appeal even to a younger audience. It is published on a monthly schedule and each edition is devoted to one broad nonfiction topic of the social or natural sciences.  This particular magazine offers multiple teacher resources as well, in the form of lesson guides and vocabulary packets for the class.  One is able to buy the magazine in classroom packets as well.  Kids Discover also has titles that are solely for “emergent readers” which display content at a lower reading level than the rest of their magazines. The magazines are sold in themed sets as well, which is ideal for this particular topic, since the World History packet covers ancient civilization the world over.  Titles in this particular series include: Ancient Greece, 7 Wonders, Ancient Egypt, Samurai, Incas, Maya, Knights and Castles, World War I, Marco Polo, Mesopotamia, Pyramids, World War II, Middle Ages, Roman Empire, Ancient China, Industrial Revolution, Ancient Persia, African Kingdoms, Aztecs, and Ancient India. Ordering information as well as sample magazines can be found on their website, along with interactive games: http://www.kidsdiscover.com/aspx/pDetail.aspx?EntityGUID=c1a1efc7-2bc8-4af8-a963-1d9418cdb283&Page=16.
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Skipping Stones Magazine. (n.d.). Eugene, OR: Skipping Stones.

“Skipping Stones” is an “international multicultural magazine.” They accept articles and artwork from around the world and in many languages written by youth.  All non-English articles are accompanied by English translation. There are usually one or two short articles directed towards parents and teachers, but the bulk of the magazine is solely dedicated to children and young adults. The magazine typically includes poems, stories, articles, photos and artwork from many regions of our world, i.e. Native American folktales, art by children in India, cartoons from China. The September-October issue contains Youth Honor Awards, which celebrate outstanding works submitted by youth around the world in several genres—art, poetry, fiction. The May-August edition, hosts the Annual Book Awards, which are recommendations of 25 outstanding multicultural books, teacher resources, and nature books. The magazine is published five times during the school year. More information on this magazine can be found on their website, along with ordering information, and sample magazines. Skipping Stones is now entering its 23rd year of publishing.  The website is: http://www.skippingstones.org/.

Part 3: Online Resources

1.    National Geographic Kids and National Geographic Little Kids

National Geographic Society. (n.d.). Kids' Games, Animals, Photos, Stories, and More -- National Geographic Kids. Retrieved April 05, 2011, from http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/kids/

National Geographic Society. (n.d.). National Geographic Little Kids. Main Blog - National Geographic Kids Blogs. Retrieved April 05, 2011, from http://kidsblogs.nationalgeographic.com/littlekids/

The National Geographic Kids is found both online and in print magazine form.  The magazine is printed monthly and can be found at the Weber County Library.  However, the online version can be perused for free. It is not the exact same thing as the magazine however.  The online version for one as its medium dictates is far more interactive.  Children can play various games, visit countries and learn about them via postcard type media. There are photographs, videos and maps. They even have “weird but true facts” and most kids just eat that up. The site also includes a section for The National Geographic for Little Kids. This particular feature is geared toward preschool and kindergarteners while the Kids site is more for the numbered grades. The Little Kids site allows younger children to learn from Toot and Puddle and Mama Mirabelle as they explore the world around them.  They can print out coloring pages or simply watch a video or play games. The site is both a Webby and a Parent’s Choice Award winner.

2.    CIA World Factbook

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. (n.d.). CIA - The World Factbook. Welcome to the CIA Web Site — Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved April 05, 2011, from https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/
The CIA World Factbook is a reference resource generally designed for grades 5 and up.  As such, it is a bit hefty for this particular age group. It is, however, ideally suited as a teacher’s reference in learning about world cultures.  The Factbook is compiled by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency utilizing census data from around the world.  Each section includes the flag, maps, and pictures that can be enlarged and printed if needs be.  Information is broken down into the following categories: introduction, geography, people, government, economy, communications, transportation, military, and transnational issues.  The information provided in given in mainly general statistical data, like the census forms, and is only as current as the census predictions.  Everything can be printed out, for easy hands on reference. It is ideally suited for information for reports, oral or written, and provides an authoritative reference resource.

3.    The International Children’s Digital Library

ICDL - International Children's Digital Library. (n.d.). Retrieved April 05, 2011, from http://en.childrenslibrary.org/

ICDL stands for the International Children’s Digital Library.  The language barrier is one of the greatest barriers in public education in the U.S. today.  Although it is important to learn to function within the language of English while at school, in so doing, many children loose a piece of their heritage. ICDL’s primary goal is to “build a collection of books that represents outstanding historical and contemporary books from throughout the world.”  The Library strives to represent all cultures so that no matter where you may live, you still have access to the richness of your culture’s stories.  This library is a wealth of other cultures that can be explored via the written world.  Most books are easily translated into English for those who wish to read a story from another culture.  Stories can be found by age level or genre. ICDL even has an app for the IPhone or IPad, so that you can read stories on the go. 

4.    The Internet Public Library’s Culture Quest World Tour

Culture Quest World Tour. (n.d.). Ipl2: Information You Can Trust. Retrieved April 05, 2011, from http://www.ipl.org/div/cquest/

The Culture Quest World Tour is found via the children’s resources at the Internet Public Library; as such it is free to access via the above link or through Weber County Public Library’s premium sites for children.  You are invited to explore the world with Ophelia Owl and Parsifal Penguin.  Parsifal is from Antarctica and as such has never experienced culture; he wishes to become a world citizen and with Ophelia Owl and your help, he hopes to do just that. Ophelia knows her stuff; after all she is a Library Owl and has read all the books in Fowlerville Public Library.  Now you too can benefit from her knowledge and Parsifal’s appetite to learn more. Kids get to sample food from around the world, play games, attend museums, arts and crafts, stories, and attend festivals the world over.  Just follow the links and “take a trip to. . . Africa: Ghana, Kenya; South Africa; Antarctica; Asia & The Far East: China, Japan, Singapore; Australia; Europe: France, Greece, Russia, Spain, The United Kingdom; The Middle East: Egypt, Israel; North America: Canada, Mexico, USA; South & Central America: Brazil.

5.    The Fin, Fur, and Feather Bureau of Investigation

FFFBI Home. (n.d.). Retrieved April 05, 2011, from http://www.fffbi.com/

FFFBI stands for the “Fin, Fur, and Feather Bureau of Investigation.  Primarily targeted toward ages 8-13 years old, it uses stories and humor to help kids learn about cultures around the world.  The primary goal is to build cultural literacy in children.   Children become investigators or field agents, and go on crime-fighting adventures around the world.  They cover a wide range of subjects, including math, science, music, and history. This entertaining and fun adventure is especially designed with children with attention difficulties; the goal was to provide children with ADHD with a learning environment that would improve their focus, organizational, and learning behaviors.  Each game strives to teach skills and strategies while encouraging children to engage in increasingly more difficult jobs.  Although a learning game, the spy theme helps to make the games both educational and humorous. The site was developed with help from a Department of Education grant.  The site is free by following the link above or can be accesses through Weber County Library’s premium sites for children.

Part 4: Summary

The choice for the topic and the age range chosen, were chosen because I honestly wanted to help my child to engage in her current expedition more. She is absolutely enthralled with learning about other cultures, and I wanted to be able to help both her and her teacher to provide the students with fun and engaging resources on their topic. As a Title 1 school, Venture Academy is not blessed with great funding.  The computers in the school are so ancient, dinosaurs probably used them.  As such, online resources are not only, generally, not used, they are not even understood.  No effort is made to discover these tools and to exploit them. I fear a valuable resource and educational tool is going untapped.

     Generally finding material wasn’t so difficult.  Finding age appropriate material, well, that was slightly more difficult.  World Cultures is quite the weighty topic for Kindergarteners, and as such, resources around this topic are generally geared toward 7 and up.  However, especially with the online resources, these can be easily adapted to younger age groups.  Also, there are no journals that are directed toward children and as such, I chose to place magazine in that category. 

1 comment:

Stephanie L. Gross said...

Welldone! I look forward to many other such assignments. Have you looked into LibGuides? They would extend your reach a bit, too.