Overseas Phone Call from Bolivia
- South America, The Caribbean, Bolivia
- Grades 3-5
- Social Studies & Geography
- 30 minutes
For many ESOL students, deciphering and extracting information without visual cues is a challenging task. With this directed listening activity, students will use "previewing" strategies to better comprehend and learn about the experience of Peace Corps Volunteer Joe Stevens: his likes, dislikes, types of animals in Bolivia, food and sports. Students will also be able to locate Bolivia on a map and use a topographical map and clues to estimate Joe's location in the country.
For 50 years, the Peace Corps has helped communities around the world. Volunteer Voices is a collection of audio stories from just a few volunteers who have served since 1961. With cellphone and internet technology, Peace Corps Volunteers get to talk with U.S. classrooms they've been communicating with through the Correspondence Match program. Joe Stevens, a Peace Corps Volunteer who served in Bolivia, chats with his mother's class at Ada Elementary School in Michigan.
Located in central South America, Bolivia is one of the largest Andean countries with a land area roughly the size of Texas and California combined (approximately 1,098,580 square kilometers). La Paz, with an elevation of 12,000 feet, is the national capital and home to the executive and legislative branches of the government. The Supreme Court operates out of the constitutional or judicial capital of Sucre. (Source: peacecorps.gov)
- To listen for specific information without the help of visual cues and correctly answer questions
- To paraphrase information forming complete sentences
- To locate Bolivia on a world map and two major cities: La Paz and Cochabamba
- To formulate 2 or more questions concerning Bolivian culture, customs, geography and climate to deepen understanding
- To compare and contrast Bolivian culture and customs with those of the United States using a Venn diagram
- To distinguish the geographical features on a topographical map
- sports: soccer, basketball, volleyball, lacrosse
- fruits: mango, papaya, cherimoya, banana, avocado
- edible animals: beef, chicken, fish, armadillo, deer, tapir, guinea pig
- reptiles: tree frog, lagartio
- root: yucca
- The U.S. Department of State-Bolivia
- Have students locate their state and Bolivia on a world map, then estimate the distance between the two locations.
- Discuss with students some characteristics of Bolivia: food, sports, language, geography, climate, etc. Have students form questions about other information they'd like to learn about Bolivia.
- Distribute Overseas Phone Call from Bolivia handout. With students, preview the questions and have them predict answers. Ask students to explain their prediction/s.
- Listen to Overseas Phone Call from Bolivia podcast. Depending on language levels, either teacher strategically pauses or students raise their hand if they want to pause the recording, then answer handout questions. Play twice or more if necessary.
In pairs or with whole class:
- Have students review answers: verbally, they summarize information learned, forming complete sentences. Additionally, students could write their summary sentences.
- Students discuss characteristics of Bolivia and the United States (or their community/city/state), documenting them in the Venn diagram.
- Students share what the learned about Bolivia.
- Share picture/word vocabulary cards, asking students questions for each (ex. Display "sports" cards. Ask students which sport is played most in Bolivia. Be sure students answer in complete sentences.)
- Have students locate on a map of Bolivia two cities Joe mentions: La Paz and Cochabamba
Using a topographical map of Bolivia, have students try to locate Joe's location by using the clues he gives. He states:
"I'm about 1, 500 miles from the Andes Mountains. Very far away. I live kind of by the Brazilian border. Where I live it's very, very low, and it's all swamps and jungles."
Frameworks & Standards
- There is much to learn from living in a different culture and country.
- What can be learned from living in a different culture and country?
PreK-12 English Language Proficiency Standards
Standard 1: C ommunicate for social, intercultural, and instructional purposes within the school setting.
Standard 2: Communicate information, ideas, and concepts necessary for academic success in the area of social studies.
Common Core State Standards for Speaking and Listening
Comprehension and Collaboration
- Engage in discussions with diverse partners
- Evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats
- Evaluate a speaker's point of view
- Summarize the points a speaker makes
U.S. National Geography Standards
Essential Element I: The World in Spatial Terms
- Use maps and other geographic representations to acquire, process, and report information
Essential Element II: Places and Regions
- Physical and human characteristics of places
- Students estimate and calculate the distance between their town/state and Cochabamba, Bolivia.
- Students research which is geographically larger: their state or Bolivia.
Social Studies/Language Arts
- Create a travel brochure or poster advertising Bolivia.
- If students' questions about Bolivia are not answered during the podcast, have students investigate and report back with their findings.
Create a podcast
- Each student researches a Peace Corps country using the Cultural Science handout.
- In pairs or small groups of 3-4 students, interviews are conducted where one student is the Volunteer and the others are "students" asking questions.
- Students rotate interchanging roles and recording their interviews.
- Sign up for Correspondence Match and correspond with an actual Peace Corps Volunteer serving in Bolivia.
- Sign up for Speakers Match and have a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer who served in Bolivia share her/his experiences.
With vocabulary picture word cards, have students do a categorization sort (may require more than one set of cards):
- Distribute all cards to students. Teacher calls out or writes a category on the board. All students with a card that fits that category stand up and say a sentence about their card. Students call out other words/items that would fit in that same category.
- One set of cards is given to each pair or small group (3-4 students). With all cards on the table, students sort and categorize cards. As teacher circulates, students explain reason for grouping.
- View When Success is Truly Sweet by Kristina Owens - slide show