Teaching SuggestionsPrint this Page
- Subject(s): Language Arts & Literature, Social Studies & Geography, Cross-Cultural Understanding, Foreign Language
- Region / Country: Asia & Pacific Islands / Republic of India
- Grade Level(s): 3–5, K–2
- Related Publication: E-book | Asha's Village in India
Asha, a young girl living in India, takes the reader on a virtual journey through her village. She offers a glimpse into aspects of her culture and daily life while introducing a variety of words in Hindi. By seeing components of a village in India, students can compare and contrast daily life in India with their own. In doing so, they can see that although people may have differences in country of origin, foods, or language, we are more alike than different.
Mike Gannett served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in India from 1965-1967. Mike put together this composite of his photos, mostly from Rajasthani villages, to create Asha's Village, a fictional account that is based on actual facts. Asha, while a real Indian name, was not just one person as is portrayed here. Mike's work in chicken farming took him to several villages. While many of the photos were taken in just one village, photos taken in other villages are included. He hopes you enjoy seeing what village life in Rajasthan was like in 1965-1967, as much as he enjoyed his Peace Corps service there. Peace Corps sent over 4,000 volunteers to India during the years of 1961-1976.
- make observations and inferences from photos and text.
- compare and contrast elements of their own culture with elements of the character Asha's culture.
- Our community:
Take your students on a walk in the neighborhood around your school, making observations about some of the same elements Asha described in her community.
- Use a digital camera to take photos of some of the homes, shops, or other buildings along your walk.
- Create a large map on a bulletin board of the community surrounding the school. Include names of streets, geographical markers (e.g., large trees, water towers).
- Print some of the photos you took on your neighborhood walk. Place the photos in their correct locations on the map.
- Compare and contrast photos of your neighborhood's houses, markets, and other buildings with those in the e-book. Have students identify some things your community and Asha's village have in common.
- Our fuel:
Investigate how different types of fuel have been created and used in different cultures and times.
- Revisit pages 34-37 of the e-book, discussing the use of cow dung as fuel. Research other cultures' practices of creating fuels from animal dung (e.g., use of buffalo dung by Native Americans of the Great Plains) or animal fats (e.g., use of whale blubber by Inuits).
- Discuss what life was like in the United States before we had electricity or petroleum-based fuels. How might this be similar to or different from life in Asha's village? Research the types of fuels used by early American settlers such as coal, wood, corn cobs, and hay twists.
- Our animals:
Compare and contrast animals in the United States and those in the e-book.
- Asha mentioned cows—how are the cows in the United States different than those in Asha's village?
- Discuss the types of animals that Asha's family kept. Compare these with the animals found at the homes the students in your class. How did Asha's family rely on animals? How do our families rely on animals? How has the way we rely on animals in the United States changed over time?
- Asha mentions the importance of cows in her religion, Hinduism. Research more about the beliefs of different religions or cultures regarding animals.
- My village:
Have students create their own version of Asha's book as if they were introducing someone to their village, community, or home.
- Let's take a trip:
Take a virtual trip to India within your classroom.
- Have students create paper suitcases containing the items they would need such as clothing, camera, and money. Create a passport that can be stamped as they enter the classroom.
- Discuss transportation options to India. How long with the trip take? Highlight the possible routes from the United States to India on a map. What is the total distance?
- Let's learn Hindi:
Create a simple list of common Hindi words and phrases (e.g., hello, thank-you, What is your name? My name is ) you would need to know if you traveled to India.
- What do we wear?
Review some of the photos in Asha's book, noticing the styles of dress.
- Ask students to make observations about the types of clothing, head dress, jewelry, or footwear in the photos.
- Discuss possible reasons for the clothing worn in India (such as weather, functionality, or religion).
Framework and Standards
- Although there are differences such as language, culture, and country of origin, people around the world are more similar than different and share common human experiences.
- Communities are comprised of individuals and families, and they serve many functions, including providing a sense of belonging and security.
- How does where you live influence how you live?
- What does it mean to be part of a community?
- What characteristics distinguish communities from one another?
- National Association for the Education of Young Children
- 2. L.03 Cognitive Development: Social Studies-understanding diversity
- 2. L.05 Cognitive Development: Social Studies-community
- National Social Studies Standards
- Thematic Strand I: Culture
- Thematic Strand III: People, Places, and Environments
- Thematic Strand IV: Individual Development & Identity
- Thematic Strand V: Individuals, Groups, &Institutions
- National Geography Standards
- Essential Element 1: The World in Spatial Terms
- Essential Element 5: Environment and Society
- National Math Standard
- Content Standard: Measurement
- Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy
- Reading: Literature
- Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity: group reading
- Reading: Information Text
- Key Ideas and Details: describe connections
- Reading: Literature