See the trees? See the village in the trees? Sometimes it seems like making cultural connections in your area is like that - hidden, However, the Houston area is rich in cultural resources. Most, if not all, of the diverse people are represented by a cultural center, a festival, specific businesses, and/or an association for local support. Also, the majority of them have a website listing information about upcoming events. One great resource is the Houston Cultural and Community Resource Directory. Many of the organizations listed have programs for students and are eager to connect with schools. Because of the large diversity in the types of organizations, any teacher should be able to find rewarding speakers and programs for their class. Here are some possible contacts who are eager to work with teachers:
The Asia Society Texas Center has programs for schools to introduce students to the rich diversity of Asian culture. They are eager to work with teachers and have developed several programs. Since our school has a large Asian population, I feel the Asia Society Texas Center is a valuable resource to build connections among our students.
Another rich source is the Houston Institute for Culture at 708-C Telephone Road. Their youth programs use technology to create high interest programs. The digital storytelling project is a favorite with high school students. Their traditional arts programs help students make cultural connections.
One of the local educational resources we have is Sharpstown International School. Their faculty has been trained to teach a globalized curriculum. Recently their Model United Nations team participated in their first out-of-state conference in Washington DC. Talking with the teachers here would be a great way for POMS teachers to prepare to globalize their own classrooms.
The Menil Collection houses art and artifacts ranging from prehistoric to contemporary. It is a great place to contemplate the similarities and differences in cultures through time and place.
Other sources to look into include:
The Chinese Community Center
India Culture Center
Czech Center Museum Houston
The Italian Cultural and Community Center