Middle East
Teacher's Guide
 

March 1, 2000 Update
Remember, the "Kids' Versions" are aimed at K-6.

Check out this date's update
 
The team generated the following reports: Try the following activities:

Abeja - Homer: Epic Poet or The Puff Daddy of Ancient Greece? You Be The Judge…

The history of Homer and epic poems. Comparing Homer to today's rappers, important points in the evolution of the Greek poetic tradition are covered.

Get rappin'. Who knew Homer was the first rapper? Following Abeja's lead, have students select another dispatch of their choice and turn main points into a short rap poem (one or two stanzas). Read them aloud.

Brian - A Cold Day in the Trenches - Brian Visits Gallipoli

A visit to the battlefields of Gallipoli from WWI and discussion of the importance of the Dardanelles, including an account of Mehmet II and the Conquest of Istanbul (fall of Constantinople).

WW1 was fought with extremely different weapons than that of today, or even 10 years ago. While weaponry and armed tactics have gotten more sophisticated and high-tech over the years, war is still as deadly as ever. Detail for class how weapons have changed and how "World Wars" or international ones are now fought and won.

Jasmine - Where are African-Americans Today?

After our month-long tribute to Black History Month, Jasmine wraps it all up with a discussion about how far African-Americans have come since slavery and the civil rights movement. In this dispatch, Jasmine discusses where African-Americans stand in the new millennium and the challenges that still lie ahead. She highlights: changes in the Black family, class issues, economic empowerment, and technology in Black America.

Jasmine is right to urge students to get involved! They can make a difference. Have class as a whole choose from one of her many ideas and "make it happen!" in your neighborhood, or surrounding area. Plan activities that bring students and schools together across racial divides, such as: conferences and social events, cultural festivals and even dances. Let the Odyssey know about it, too!

Kavitha - Into the Blue Mosque

Kavitha visits Istanbul's Blue Mosque, briefly reviewing the history of Islam in this 99% Muslim country, and the history of the mosque itself.

Kavitha uses very colorful and descriptive language to describe the beautiful Blue Mosque. Have students read this dispatch and then "draw" the mosque, or a feature of it, based on her descriptions and photos.

Kavitha - Karina of Circassia Part I: From Rags to Riches

Part one of a three-part fictitious story about what life is like for a young girl brought to live in the Ottoman Sultan's harem in Topkapi Palace, Istanbul; set around the 17th or 18th century. It includes facts about the palace, the upbringing of the girls, the important role of the Queen mother, the interactions with the sultan, and the sheltered life of the crown prince.

Have students compare how this is really different from the "Cinderella" story that we all know, in that this young girl had no choice but to go with the men who came and join the harem. Discuss how they would feel if they were whisked away in the night by masked men - never to see their family again. Do they really think these girls have a better life at the palace, versus being with their own families?

Kavitha - Part II: Behind the Veil

The following is part two of a three-part fictitious story about what life is like for a young girl brought to live in the Ottoman Sultan's harem in Topkapi Palace, Istanbul set around the 17th or 18th century. It includes facts about the palace, the upbringing of the girls, the important role of the Queen mother, the interactions with the sultan, and the sheltered life of the crown prince.

This part of the story focuses on Karina becoming a favored concubine. Discuss with students how they feel about this practice? Do they support it? Would they want to live in Harems and share their "husband" like this? While the end of this dispatch wonders if this is a "dream come true," ask class how they feel. Is it a dream? Or a nightmare. And why?

 
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