Lesson 4: From a Different Pair of Eyes


Grade: 3rd
Time needed: Day 1~ 40 to 50 minutes

                           Day 2~ 40 minutes

Essential question of the unit being addressed in this lesson
 How do these stereotypes affect our understanding of people, cultures, practices, countries, history, and politics in Africa?

How can we debunk stereotypes about Africa? 

Lesson Objectives
Students will be able to…
-          consider alternate perspectives on the issue of stereotyping
-          convey awareness of the impact of stereotyping on individuals from Africa through 
          writing poems

MMSD standards
Behavioral Science
  1. Interpret the components of a culture (i.e. language, literature, art, architecture, foods, traditions, beliefs, values, behaviors) present in a community
NCSS standards
I. Culture and Cultural Diversity
- enable learners to assess the importance of cultural unity and diversity within and across

IV. Individual Development and Identity
- have learners compare and evaluate the impact of stereotyping, conformity, acts of
  altruism, discrimination, and other behaviors on individuals and groups 

Materials needed
  • Computer
  • Projector
  • “Africa in stereotype vs. Africa in context” Youtube video (see above)   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C8IjYdURNeo
  • Photographs of people from various African countries
  • Background information of each country to coincide with photos
    • can be found in the appendix of Africa is Not a Country by Knight and Melnicove
  • Pencil, lined paper, 8 ½ x 11 inch paper
  • Colored construction paper, 11 x 17 inch


Day 1

Watch video titled “Africa in stereotype vs. Africa in context”. This video was made by a teenage boy named Abdoulaye Bah from Guinea, West Africa, who is now living in the United States. He was compelled to create this video to compare the stereotypes people in his life believed about Africa and his actual experiences as a West African. Throughout the video, he discusses Guinea history, culture, life experiences in the middle class, family values, and challenges in Africa. 



Hold a class discussion where students can share what they saw in the video. Some guided questions for discussion can include:

-          How was Abdoulaye’s description of Africa different from the stereotypes we talked about previously? How was it similar?

-          How would describe Abdoulaye’s feelings about people stereotyping Africa? Why do you think he felt that way? What did he do about it?

-          How would you feel if someone was stereotyping you based on where you lived or what you looked like? Why would you feel that way? What could do about it?


Alternative Perspective Poetry

Explain that children will be taking on a different perspective about stereotypes. Each student will receive a photograph of person from a country in Africa. They will also receive some background information on that specific country to reiterate that countries in Africa are very distinct from one another, even though there are similarities.


The students’ objective is to write a poem that conveys both the potential stereotypes of the person in their photograph, as well as taking on an alternative perspective to consider how the person may see themselves, much like Abdoulaye’s story.

The format of the poem will have two distinct sections:

From the outside, I am…

From the inside, I am…

Beyond this the students will be encouraged pull from the knowledge they have gained about Africa and stereotypes along with creative to write their poem.



Day 2

Peer editing

After completing their poem, each student will share their poem with one classmate who will give feedback in preparation for publishing. The feedback will focus on content (does the poem make sense?), structure (is the writing a poem or more like a story?), and spelling/grammar (are the sight words spelled correctly? Are there a lot of ‘ands’ in the poem?)  



Have a discussion about publishing. Ask: Why is it important for authors to publish their work? Move the discussion towards the publication of their poems. Ask: Why is it important for you to publish your poems about stereotypes of Africa?


After receiving peer feedback, students will rewrite and make a final copy of their poem. They will mount this poem, along with the photo that inspired it, on a colored piece of 11x17 paper to be published. The final poems will be hung in the hallway in a visible place for people in the school to see.


Another option for publishing the poems is to create a book of poems to give to parents, schools, or other individuals in the community. Students could generate a list of people and groups who they would like to share their work with.





My assessment at this point in the unit is to have a dialog with each of my students about what they are learning and how they are applying this learning into their actual lives. I thought the process of writing the poem would be an appropriate time to have a mini-conference with each student about their learning thus far and their process of writing such a powerful poem. This mini-conference will also be used to inform my teaching prior to the last two lessons of the unit. If I notice any major gaps in learning with the students, I will be sure to revisit it before the unit concludes.

Some questions to guide my mini-conference would include:

-          Tell me about the person who was in your photograph.

-          Tell me about the poem you wrote. What do you like about your poem?

-          What is something that you included in your poem that you did not know before we started talking about Africa?

-          If someone outside of the classroom read your poem, what do you think they would learn?