Authentic resources can be the foundation to build a unit on. I started planning for this unit by looking at web pages, music, videos, stories and film clips all from Senegal. As I read the different authentic documents what started to emerge for me was the attachment to their homeland the Senegalese people have, whether they have left or are still living in the country.
Slowly I realized that I had a few connected ideas around origin. I spoke with my friend Katy Wheelock for advice. She has started the company Vive L’Experience, an educational travel company. Before she got her start, I had already traveled with Katy to France, Central Europe, and Catalonia and we had corresponded during the years that she lived in Senegal and I lived in Colombia. Katy is a model for teachers on how to meet people, engage deeply with them and then bring experiences back to students in the United States. It is not insignificant that her own two children are both living in other countries and the curiosity for learning that she and her husband gave them was modeled for my kids and thanks to them now my high school daughter is headed to another country to live and study as well.
Katy helped me take the few things I have learned about Senegal and relay the communication, culture and connections to my students. This unit on Senegal that I am sharing here is just a beginning. I plan to write more units that are really centered on communication, culture and connections and I am hoping to use authentic resources from places beyond France as my basis.
Please as you review the unit, make sure to notice the resources in the Speaker Notes section.
This summer a group of teachers will visit Senegal with Vive L’Experience. I hope you will join me in 2024 for our own trip so we can all further our learning.