Cultures and Religions of the Himalayan Region
Denise M. Simone
This webpage is designed to offer a unit on The Himalayas accessible to teachers 9-12 in humanities, language arts, social studies and/or art with a focus on women.
Why study The Himalayas?
This unit offers a myriad of opportunities to examine Asian culture in an area of the world in great transition. The Himalayas offer ethnic, religious and cultural diversity. A study of The Silk Road, world religions and Asian arts and literature would not be complete without a glimpse at this region.
Himalaya (Available from Amazon.com)
Compassion in Exile: The Story of the Dali Lama (Available from Amazon.com)
Learning from Ladakh (Available from Videosforlearning.com)
This webpage offers several genres of Himalayan literature, poetry, autobiographical narrative and religious stories, writings and quotations. Provided for you are hand-outs and brief lesson narratives to support your classroom as well as photographs, artwork and links to useful websites.
I recommend using the literature as a springboard for encouraging student writing. Here are a few useful strategies:
The double-entry journal: A useful tool for supporting reading material. Students complete the journal (see sample journal form) as they read assigned material. This tool is excellent for follow-up discussion and group work. It helps students organize their thoughts as they read. Teachers may modify the form as needed. The left side of the journal records what is read. The right side is reflective of the notes taken on the left.
Found Poetry: This creative writing exercise is an excellent way to reinforce facts, concepts and vocabulary. It is accessible to all; it is easy to explain. Here is a definition:
Students can use any of the reading for the found poetry. All the texts will lend themselves interesting works. I recommend you limit the amount of text each student will glean words from. It iseasierto do found poetry with a paragraph or two rather than a full text. These found poems can be printed, decorated and displayed on a bulliten board with the original texts next to them.
Monologue Writing: Students can write monologues to be performed and or filmed. Have students select a text from the readings and develop a short monologue in the "voice" of the person writing the text. An example would be Tashi Tsering's mother speaking about marriage to two men.
This webpage will provide your students with several guided journal questions, the double-entry journal format and a wealth of literature, pictures and links.
If you have any questions, you can e-mail me at LadyMacbeth@si.rr.com.
This site was created by .... at the NEH Summer Institute "Cultures and Religions of the Himalayan Region," held at the College of the Holy Cross, Summer 2004