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Penn Literacy Program 2014


Early this year, AsOne Global partnered with the University of Pennsylvania Netter Center for Community Partnerships and implemented a fourth grade African Studies after-school academic enrichment program at B.B. Comegys Elementary School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania under a project-based learning grant. The curriculum design for this unit of study was predicated on the belief that literacy rates increase with the utilization of culturally relevant education. The curriculum was specifically designed for this program and was prepared by AsOne Global CEO, Tamara Bradford. All of the lessons were faciliated by AsOne Global COO, Farrah Alkhaleel, as well as several other University of Pennsylvania undergraduate volunteers. The program duration was from January until May 2014. Lessons were held every Tuesday and Thursday from 4:00pm until 5:30pm and were composed of 12 lessons meant to expose students to the rich, complex history of Africa prior to the Slave Trade and present them with an accurate portrayal of contemporary issues facing Africa and Africans. 


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Final Review: Debunking Myths about Africa

Posted by AsOne Global on May 1, 2014 at 3:45 PM Comments comments (16)

For the last lesson, students played a review game to help assess their new understanding of Africa. In this review game, students were given statements from each of the lessons they completed on Africa and had to determine whether each statement is a stereotype. The final project required the students to identify the most interesting aspect of Africa that they learned from the program.

Ancient West African Kingdoms

Posted by AsOne Global on April 24, 2014 at 5:30 PM Comments comments (1)

The objective of this lesson was to allow students to understand the rich and complex history of Africa before European colonization. Students learned about the major achievements of the Kingdoms of Ghana, Mali, and Songhai as they completed a graphic organizer and discussed the most interesting achievements they learned. Drawing from past lessons, students were able to understand the importance of the Gold-Salt trade in the transfer of power from kingdom to kingdom.

Students completed the following graphic organizer as they learned about the kingdoms. 

Ancient Kingdoms of Africa: Gold-Salt Trade Game

Posted by AsOne Global on April 10, 2014 at 5:30 PM Comments comments (1)

In today's lesson, students evaluated the way in which geography and location affect daily life and analyzed the problem of scarcity and how it influences the relationships between societies. The class was divided into three Kingdoms: Ghana, Berber, Zimbabwe and, in their roles as traders, gold and salt miners, and tax collectors, they simulated the Gold-Salt Trade that dominated Ancient Western Africa. Students cooperated together to trade their resources with other resources to maintain their kingdoms. They then composed journal entries that contemplated five things in their daily lives that hold the same value to them as gold and salt did for the people engaged in the Gold-Salt Trade.

Students in the Kindom of Ghana collected their taxes in gold and salt from the Kindoms of Zimbabwe and Berber. 

Once divided into groups, students in each kingdom received directions and their resources. After learning about natural barriers from the previous lessons, students were divided into three separate areas of the classroom. The Gold Kindom of Zimbabwe and the Salt Kindom of Berber could only trade their resources in the Kingdom of Ghana because of the natural barrier, the Sahara desert, separating the kingdoms. The Kingdom of Ghana collected taxes in gold and salt from the Kingdoms of Zimbabwe and Berber. 

Penn volunteer, Ashley Van, worked with the Berber Kindom of Salt, to trade salt for horses, cloth, and gold. 

Students trade their resources in the Kingdom of Ghana due to the natural barriers of the Sahara desert separating the Kindoms of Zimbabwe and Berber. 

Mapping Africa: Africa's Natural Barriers

Posted by AsOne Global on April 3, 2014 at 5:30 PM Comments comments (0)

This lesson provided students with the opportunity to evaluate the ways in which topography contributed to the growth of Ancient African Kingdoms. Each student was given a blank map of Africa. The teacher, Farrah, showed the class pictures of each of the following barriers: Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea, Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean, Nile River, Niger River, Congo River¸ Atlas Mountains, Mount Kilimanjaro, Lake Victoria, Victoria Falls, Sahara Desert, Kalahari Desert, tropical rain forest, savanna, the Sudan, and Great Rift Valley. As students view the pictures, they located and labeled each barrier on their maps and discussed why each place creates a barrier for the people who live there. The class then viewed a physical map of America and identified many of the natural barriers settlers had to overcome as they settled on the continent. The lesson culminated with students writing a comparison between the natural barriers faced by Americans and those faced by Africans in order to determine which continent they felt was more difficult to live within.  

Penn volunteer, Isabelle, helps students fill out their maps of Africa with natural barriers.

Students fill out the natural barriers in Africa on their maps. 

Students complete their maps learning about natural barriers in Africa including the Sahara desert, Nile River, Kalahari desert, the Red Sea, Mount Kilimanjaro, and oceans surrounding Africa. 

Improving research skills: Scribes in Ancient Egypt!

Posted by AsOne Global on March 20, 2014 at 5:30 PM Comments comments (0)

This lesson required students to consider the importance of writing and accurate record keeping both in ancient Egypt as well as today. The class utilized the internet to research various jobs ancient Egyptians could obtain as a scribe after completing scribal school as well as the impact of each of those positions on ancient Egyptian society. Students then composed journal entries explaining to a friend which job they would choose upon graduating scribal school and why they believed their new position would give them the opportunity to have a positive impact on ancient Egyptian society.

Students follow a tutorial about ancient Egyptian scribes and learn about their roles in ancient Egyptian society. After reading through the tutorial, students research for information to help them write their journal entries. 

Science in Action: Africa's Natural Wonders

Posted by AsOne Global on March 6, 2014 at 4:30 PM Comments comments (0)

The objective of this lesson was for students to create a travel advertisement attracting visitors to one of Africa’s natural wonders. The class began by defining “natural wonder” and continued on to view pictures and discuss some of Africa’s natural wonders including: the Nile River, Mount Kilimanjaro, Okavango Delta, the Serengeti Migration, Sahara Desert, Ngorongoro Crater, Red Sea Reef, Namib Desert, Victoria Falls, Avenue of the Baobabs, and the Great Rift Valley. Through digital demonstrations, students learned the science behind how rivers, volcanoes, and craters formed. As each feature was discussed, the class located them on a large map of Africa. Each student then chose the natural wonder they would have most like to visit, created a drawing of their destination, and wrote a few sentences aimed at attracting tourists to their natural wonder.

African Cities: Debunking Stereotypes!

Posted by AsOne Global on February 27, 2014 at 6:00 PM


The goal of this lesson was to debunk the stereotype that all Africans live in villages. The class started by making a list of the various types of places and buildings found in Philadelaphia and other US cities and discussing whether similar places and buildings can be found in Europe or Africa. Students then took turns reading Somewhere in Africa by Ingrid Mennen and Niki Daly, a story about a boy living in Cape Town South, Africa. The class then had the opportunity to view and discuss dozens of pictures of cities all over the African continent. The lesson culminated with students creating their own drawings of a city in Africa.

Students sit in a reading circle and take turns reading "Somewhere in Africa" by Ingrid Mennen and Niki Daly and "Not so Fast Songolog" by Niki Daly (below). 

After learning about the major cities in Africa, Students draw their own cities in Africa (below). 

The continent of Africa: Fifty-Four African Nations

Posted by AsOne Global on February 5, 2014 at 4:30 PM Comments comments (0)

The goal of this lesson was for students to recognize that Africa is not a country, but rather a continent of 54 nations. The class viewed a map of the world, identified the seven continents and then brainstormed the differentiation between a continent and a country. Students recognized borders and took turns reading and pronounicng African countries. Students then colored in maps of Africa demonstrating that there are 54 nations on the continent. 

Just Say No to Stereotypes!

Posted by AsOne Global on January 17, 2014 at 3:25 PM Comments comments (0)

One of the main goals of AsOne Global's after school African Studies program is to debunk myths and stereotypes about Africa. Before students can debunk myths about Africa, they have to understand what a stereotype is and its harmful consequences. Students were given statements and were asked to determine whether or not it was fair. One-sided statements such as, "Girls are cleaner than boys" and "Everyone in Pennsylvania has red hair and glasses" were used as examples of stereotypes. The definition of a stereotype was discussed and each student had to come up with their own stereotypes.The students then considered why stereotypes are unfair and determined whether pictures and statements about Africa were "fair" or "unfair." Since our program is focused on project-based learning, at the end of the session, students contributed crossed out stereotypes to a bulletin board. Students were excited to write their own stereotypes and read their peers' stereotypes. The bulletin board was hung outside of the classroom to encourage others to stop using stereotypes. Below are some examples of the stereotypes on the bulletin board. 

Save Cambodia Fundraiser

Posted by AsOne Global on September 7, 2013 at 9:35 PM

Today, Jasmine and Farrah, on behalf of AsOne Global, volunteered at the Save Cambodia Fundraiser in Center City. Save Cambodia works to improve education in Cambodia by providing school supplies and books to Cambodian children. Started by Thayvie, a Penn State graduate, she has been working to help bring human rights and hope for these children. We helped sell scarves, coin purses, and t-shirts to help support this cause. It was an eye-opening experience and we commend Thayvie and the Save Camboida team for their efforts and wish them the best of luck!

Be sure to check out Save Cambodia at http/!home/chmc

Thayvie Sinn (left) with guest speaker and winner of the 2012 Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders, Venerable Luon Sovath (middle), and a guest monk (right).

Jasmine (left) and Farrah (right) sell Save Cambodia t-shirts to help support the project.