Jump to Content or Main Navigation

Paul D. Coverdell World Wise Schools

Paul D. Coverdell World Wise Schools

Overseas Phone Call From Morocco

Africa, Morocco
Grades 3-5
Social Studies & Geography, TESOL
30-45 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 Jessica and the country of Morocco: types of animals, a typical school day, types of work and holidays. Students will also compare and contrast Morocco with the United States and locate Morocco and two major cities on a map.

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 are able to talk with U.S. classrooms they've been communicating with through the Correspondence Match program. Jessica, a Peace Corps Volunteer who served in Morocco from 2006 to 2008, chats with students at Lakeview Elementary School in Solon, Iowa.

Morocco was among the first countries to invite the Peace Corps to assist in its development and manpower needs. A group of 53 surveyors, English teachers and irrigation foremen first arrived in Morocco in 1963 at the invitation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. From 1963 to today, more than 3,500 Volunteers have served the Kingdom of Morocco. Currently, Volunteers serve in the following sectors: Environment, Health, Small Business Development, and Youth Development. (Source: peacecorps.gov )


  • To listen for specific information without the help of visual cues and correctly answer questions
  • To paraphrase information and form complete sentences
  • To locate Morocco on a map of Africa and its two major cities: Casablanca and Rabat
  • To formulate two or more questions concerning Moroccan culture, customs, geography and climate to deepen understanding
  • To compare and contrast Moroccan culture and customs with those of the United States using a Venn Diagram 


  • The U.S. Department of State-Morocco 
  • Facts About Morocco


  1. Have students locate their state and Morocco on a world map. Have students estimate the distance between the two locations.
  2. Discuss with students some characteristics of Morocco: food, sports, language, geography, climate, etc. Have students form questions about other information they'd like to learn about Morocco.
  3. Distribute Overseas Phone Call from Morocco - handout (link above). With students, preview the questions and have them predict answers. Ask students to explain their prediction/s.
  4. Listen to Overseas Phone Call from Morocco - podcast (link above). 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.
  5. In pairs or with whole class:
    1. Have students review answers: verbally, they summarize information learned, forming complete sentences. Additionally, students could write their summary sentences.
    2. Students discuss characteristics of Morocco and the United States (or their community/city/state), documenting them in a Venn diagram.
    3. Students share what the learned about Morocco.
  6. Have students locate on a map of Morocco two major cities: Casablanca and Rabat. 

Frameworks & Standards

Enduring Understandings

  • Though distant places and cultures may seem very different on the surface, they share commonalities.
Essential Questions
  • What are the common components that make up

PreK-12 English Language Proficiency Standards

Standard 1: Communicate 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 calculate the distance between a city in Morocco and their town.
  • Students research which is geographically larger: their state or Morocco.

Social Studies/Language Arts

  1. Create a travel brochure or poster advertising Morocco.
  2. If students' questions about Morocco are not answered during the podcast, have students investigate.
  3. Create a podcast
    1. Each student researches a Peace Corps country using the Cultural Science handout.
    2. 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.
    3. Students rotate interchanging roles and recording their interviews.
  4. Sign up for Correspondence Match and correspond with an actual Peace Corps Volunteer serving in Morocco.
  5. Sign up for Speakers Match and have a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer who served in Morocco share her/his experiences. 
Browse More Lesson Plans