Give us a Wednesday, we'll give you the world!

The International Studies Centers at the University of Kansas are pleased to offer local educators a new way to bring global competencies into the classroom at all grade levels and across all curriculum areas. On designated Wednesdays throughout the 2014-15 academic school year, we offered FREE one-hour, hands-on lessons on language and culture from different world areas at the Lawrence Public Library. Handouts and interactive activities are available for free below -- please contact the the speaker for each topic to learn how to adapt these materials for your classroom.

Want to have one of these speakers come to your classroom or community club? No problem! Contact Randi Hacker ( to get something set up.

Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead)

Danika Swanson, Outreach Coordinator for the Center for Latin American & Caribbean Studies, gave an overview of Día de los Muertos and the free resources available to help teachers bring this important Mexican holiday to life in their classrooms. Resources include books, videos, lesson plans, outreach speakers, PowerPoints, and our always popular culture trunks!

For Your Classroom:
Culture Trunks - free and available for checkout by Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS)
Video - KU graduate students discuss the history and their experiences of Día de los Muertos
             and highlight some of the artifacts in the Center's Culture Trunk.

PowerPoint Presentations:
Día de los Muertos - A Tradition Through the Ages  
Follow the Butterflies - Spirits of Loved Ones
*For presentation notes, please write to us at

A Day in the Life of a Ugandan School Child

Mackenzie Jones, Outreach Coordinator for the Kansas African Studies Center, explored the similarities and differences between a school day in the US and a school day in Uganda. Participants learned more about the educational system in Uganda and how to use the shared school experience as a bridge to understanding children in another part of the world. 

KASC Resouces:
Lesson Plans about Africa
Books available for check out

Online Resources:
How to make paper beads
Map of the true size of Africa

*For a fact sheet on Ugandan schools, e-mail Mackenzie directly.

Namaste! Welcome to Hindi

Nearly 425 million people speak Hindi in India, Mauritius, Fiji, Suriname, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago and Nepal. Geeta Tiwari of the Center for Global & International Studies introduced participants to the the history of the language, and taught simple Hindi words for numbers, colors and animals. She put participants' newly acquired language skills to the test with a lively game of bingo! If you would like Geeta to visit your classroom, contact her at

Cyrillic Alphabet Soup

Learn the Russian alphabet in less than an hour! Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies Outreach Coordinator Adrienne Landry shared a fun and easy activity where participants learned how to pronounce Russian letters and even translated a few Russian words. Adrienne also gave a brief overview of the origins of the Cyrillic alphabet -- share with your students using the Cyrillic Alphabet Soup PowerPoint presentation below!

For your classroom:
Cyrillic Alphabet Soup (powerpoint)
Russian: A Brief History (article)
Lesson Plan: Russian Alphabet Soup

Online Resources:
Learn to Read Russian in 15 minutes, by Peter Star Northrop and Ryan Estrada

Stroke by Stroke, Writing Chinese Characters

Chinese characters are composed of strokes that must be written in a strict order. After a quick overview of the language and its pronunciation with Center for East Asian Studies Outreach Coordinator Randi Hacker, the session focused on stroke order and writing. Participants had the chance to write one character using brush and ink. 

Story Time! Using Literature to Teach about Immigration

Danika Swanson, Outreach Coordinator for the Center for Latin American & Caribbean Studies, read a bilingual story, My Diary from Here to There/Mi diario de aqui hasta alla, and shared accompanying materials for the classroom, as well as talked about resources available to help educators teach children about Latin American immigration and migration. The book and many materials are geared towards K-5, however, resources for K-12 will also be available.

Ali and Nino, The True Story Behind the Fiction

Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies Outreach Coordinator Adrienne Landry told participants about the wonderful Eurasian novel Ali and Nino, a sweeping tale of romance and adventure. Ali and Nino tells the tale of a Muslim boy from an aristocratic Azeri family who falls in love with Nino, a beautiful Christian girl. In order to be together, they must overcome personal scandal, cultural obligations, family blood feuds, and World War I in what many consider the seminal literary work of Eurasia. During the session participants discussed the book, but also the fantastically scandalous mystery behind the book's authorship. 

Ali & Nino: True Story Behind the Fiction
Powerpoint presentation
Short article

REES 220: Societies & Cultures of Eurasia
Chapter Themes
Reading Assignments 

Reiss, Tom. "Man From the East," The New Yorker. Oct 4, 1999 P. 68

Bookrags Ali & Nino Lesson Plans

KU WWI Centennial Commemoration Resources
@KU_WWI Twitter feed

Salam! Welcome to Persian Languages

Join the Center for Global & International Studies to learn about the fascinating language, history, and culture of Persia! Participants learned how to conduct a basic conversation in Farsi as well as learned to write using the Perso-Arabic script. 

Persian Language Table
Persian Language Practice Sheet
Resources for Persian Culture and Language

KiSwahili Basics 

Mackenzie Jones, Outreach Coordinator for the Kansas African Studies Center taught basic Kiswahili words, ones you might even have heard before!


Online Resources:
KU Kiswahili textbook
Boston University African Studies Center/—African Languages Program’s 200 Word Project

Kiswahili colors coloring worksheets (PDF):

Get Your Furoshiki On! Wrapping Gifts, Japanese Style

A furoshiki is a square of material used in Japan to wrap things. Center for East Asian Studies Outreach Coordinator Randi Hacker taught participants how to wrap several items including a basketball (or a watermelon), a water bottle and a CD. Step-by-step handouts were included and the first 10 educators to arrive receiveed a genuine Japanese furoshiki cloth.

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