This critical challenge seeks to develop students' curiosity about cultural events (celebrations traditions, customs) in India, Tunisia, Peru and Ukraine by inviting them to assume the role of a reporter attending the event. In preparation for this activity, assemble pictures depicting various cultural events in these communities. A search of Google™ Image Search using the country and the term "celebrations" (e.g., " India celebrations") yields between a dozen and 1000 images, depending on the country. You may want to focus on one of two major celebrations in each community and prepare background information on each event or identify encyclopedia or textbook entries that do this.
Assign one picture to each student (or pair of students). Explain that students are to assume the role of a reporter and describe the cultural event by answering the 5 W's (who, what, where, when, and why) based on clues in the picture. See Investigating Pictures (Modelling the Tools) for detailed suggestions on how to teach and assess the tools for interpreting the main ideas from an image.
Also in the role of reporter, students are to offer their own reflections raised by their answers (or lack of answers) to each of the 5W questions. For example, in the context of a "why" question, students might wonder if the people undertake the activity for religious reasons or because they enjoy it (in the way that non-Christians might celebrate Christmas). Before students work on their own picture, model this two-part reporter's log (description and reflection) with the entire class by considering one cultural event. Discuss the criteria for an effective reporter's log (e.g., the descriptions should be specific and be based on the clues; the reflections should show a curiosity about the event and raise relevant and interesting ideas). You may want to adapt the strategies and chart for Reporter's Log (Support Material) to structure and assess this activity. When the logs are completed, invite students to prepare a draft first-person account, as though they were a reporter at the event. Emphasize two criteria for this activity: the account should be very realistic and it should help us understand the event.
Another preparatory strategy is to encourage students to imagine the sights, smells, sounds and feelings that would accompany participation in this event. You may want to adapt the strategies and chart for Imagining the Sensations (Support Material) to structure this activity.
Direct students to conduct additional research by accessing information sources that you have compiled or identified from the Internet and other resources. Encourage students to use their reporter's reflections to suggest questions for their research. If available, arrange for guest speakers to talk to the class or show videos about these celebrations. Ask students to modify their initial first-hand account of the celebration in light of the additional background information. Arrange for students to share their accounts with other students. You might want to arrange the students in groups of five and ask them to match the picture that accompanies each verbal account.
Adapted from Brazilian Rain Forest, edited by Don Northey, Jan Nicol and Roland Case (Richmond, BC: The Critical Thinking Consortium, 2003), 1116.