10 September 2018 Blogs

Back to School Update: CultureGrams

Intro Copy

Another school year is underway! We hope you’re as excited about that as we are! With the school year upon us, we’re offering new content and new tools in CultureGrams to help you and your students learn more about the world we all live in. So what’s been added to the product for this year? Here’s your chance to find out.

At a Glance: What’s New for 2018-2019 School Year?

  • 800+ new Photos (out of 10,000+)
  • 72 new slideshows (out of 900+ total slideshows)
  • 22 new Interviews (out of 400+ total interviews)
  • COMING SOON! 90+ new videos (out of 700+ total videos)
That's in addition to our regular work of updating and revising the CultureGrams country reports.

Photos and Slideshows

800+ New Photos/22+ Slideshows. Visual literacy is an essential skill for students in today’s world. CultureGrams offers thousands of photos from contributors across the globe that you can use to help your students develop those skills. Starting in 2017, we also added a selection of National Geographic photos to our photo galleries, taken by some of the most talented photographers in the business. And there are more to come! Lesson Idea: Have each student select a photo from the CultureGrams photo collection based on their personal interest or by assignment. Have them read through the CultureGram for the country from which the photo comes and then have students use their cultural knowledge to “read” the photograph. What clues can they get from details in the photo—the landscape, the people, the setting, the action, the composition, etc.? Have the students write a brief story about what their photo depicts based on details from the photo and from what they’ve learned about the country or culture.


22 New Interviews. We’ve recently added nearly two dozen interviews to CultureGrams. Our Interviews are one of the most popular features in CultureGrams. Users can learn how ordinary individuals–both adults and children–within a particular country see the world, what they do each day, what they worry about, what matters to them, etc. The interviews provide an intimate glimpse into what daily life is like for these people. Lesson Idea: Have students read selected interviews for a particular country. Then have the students answer the same interview questions themselves and let them compare their answers to the ones in CultureGrams interviews with kids who are roughly their same age. This activity can be a great starting point for a discussion about cultural difference and how factors such as geography, climate, economy, religion, and education influence one’s life


COMING SOON! 90+ New Videos. Our unique videos, produced by CultureGrams editors from footage submitted by international contributors, highlight many aspects of daily life and culture. All 800+ videos in the CultureGrams collection are available for streaming and download. Lesson Idea: Divide your students up into groups of three or four and assign them the task of planning an international film festival. Have each group screen a number of videos from the CultureGrams video collection with the task of picking four videos tied together in some way, whether thematically, regionally, or otherwise. Each group will need to explain the connection between the films. Additionally, students should read the CultureGrams reports associated with each of their chosen videos and then write paragraph-long introductions to each video that describe the cultures depicted in the clips. Allow time in class for the groups to present their film clips, explain the connection, and answer questions.

Other Additions

New Text-Translation Feature: We added a text-translation feature to CultureGrams in 2018, something that has long been requested by customers. From any country, state, or province report, simply click on the “Translate” button at the top of the page and a pull-down menu will appear, allowing you to select the language into which you want the text translated. It’s that easy! The languages include Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Turkish.

CultureGrams Scavenger Hunts

Scavenger Hunts for all CultureGrams Editions: As of 2018, we now have scavenger hunts for all four CultureGrams Editions—World Edition, Kids Edition, States Edition, and Provinces Edition. The scavenger hunts are a handy and engaging way to teach students about the resources available to them in the CultureGrams database. The activities not only include fact-based questions but critical thinking questions as well. Lesson Idea: Have students work individually or in teams to complete a scavenger hunt on the CultureGrams Edition that they will be using for their research or classroom projects. Once they have completed the hunt, you can help students evaluate each other’s success on the scavenger hunts by going through them as a class. As you evaluate the answers, you can highlight important content or features in the CultureGrams database that students should pay attention to for their particular assignment. *The new and updated offerings described in this document were added between July 2017 to August 2018. 

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