Cultural Jambalaya provides a foundational lens into cultures

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Cultural Jambalaya, a nonprofit seeking to broaden the world view of students through photography, has been selected as a partner in the Minnesota Partnership for Collaborative Curriculum (MPCC). The MPCC, a one-of-a-kind initiative in the United States, provides digital curriculum to more than 200 school districts nationwide, reaching hundreds of thousands of students.

Why is this important for Kentucky? The same educational series, “Windows & Mirrors,” is offered free online at www.CulturalJam.org. The videos – montages of founder Gail Shore’s photography – center on cultural regions of the world and have accompanying lesson plans. The lessons are often tied to Minnesota standards, but can be easily tweaked to cover Kentucky Academic Standards.

These intriguing images can be used to ignite curiosity in students about our diverse world and its rich cultures and add an authentic dimension to discussion or writing about similarities and differences. The DVDs are geared toward middle school and high school, but most topics would be appropriate for upper elementary. Always preview material for appropriate content before showing your students.

“Students live in a global society and crave more cultural knowledge and understanding. Cultural Jambalaya is a perfect complement to our program,” said Jon Fila, course facilitator and writer for the MPCC project. “Because our schools are becoming increasingly diverse, educators need learning materials and resources that are culturally relevant and grow a student’s understanding of our world. Cultural Jambalaya’s materials – as well as its core mission – aim to provide a greater respect and appreciation for our similarities as well as our differences.”

Check out the Cultural Jambalaya website and see the rich and relevant digital DVDs and lessons. The material is easily adaptable for most content areas.

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