Houston, TX - Every year, the Houston International Festival seeks to do more than just show event patrons about other cultures; the annual festival immerses guests in cultural exploration and teaches them, too.
With the help of its annual sponsor, Chevron, the Houston Festival Foundation’s programs reach more than 900,000 students at nearly 1,500 schools in seven counties statewide. Its goal is to inspire students of today to become global citizens of tomorrow. The foundation hopes to serve more educators and students every year.
“I think it’s important that the general public continues to gain a better understanding of the Houston Festival Foundation and its role as it relates to the Houston International Festival,” said Kim Stoilis President/CEO of the Houston Festival Foundation, the 501(c) (3) non-profit organization that produces the Houston International Festival. “We’re very proud of the number of students we reach each year and we’re able to see, first-hand, the impact of the global experiences and educational enrichment that’s provided through our annual guide.”
Each year, the Houston Festival Foundation puts together a comprehensive set of fun and effective lesson plans that enable instructors to teach their students many of the required Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for the academic year, as outlined by the Texas Education Agency. By using the provided curriculum guide, educators are enabled with TEKS-satisfactory instructional material in mathematics, history, government, art, economics, culture, geography, foreign language, music, politics and more.
This year, in conjunction with the theme of the 2013 festival, the guide focuses on Brazil. Past curriculum guides on Argentina, the Silk Road, the Caribbean, Ireland and Africa remain available for view years later here so that teachers can continue to incorporate the activities into their lesson plans as needed, beyond the festival.
The iFest Curriculum Guide features instructional information including:
- Topographical information, inside guides to Brazil’s forests, historical facts, its political structure and more
- Hands-on lesson plans, activities and even quizzes to make teachers’ lives a little bit easier.
- Specific TEKS information that is satisfied, required materials list, links to supplementary material online and examples of properly completed activities
- Unique hands-on classroom activities that encourages students to create a friendly rap with lyrics about fair trade practices, a recipe for homemade recycled paper and an eye-opening look at how some people survive on the equivalent of two dollars daily
- Activities which incorporate each subject covered in a student-friendly way
This year, the Houston Festival Foundation has partnered with the World Affairs Council of Houston (WACH) to create the high-quality curriculum guides that are useful within classrooms. Houston International Festival Chairman, Robert Navarro, said, “This year’s guide is our best in the Festival’s 30-year history.” The World Affairs Council of Houston is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that aims to educate local Houstonians, students and teachers with its interactive, relevant programs featuring guest speakers such as political dignitaries from far and wide, and enabling them to become more informed citizens of the world.
On April 26, the World Affairs Council is hosting its World Cultures Summit in partnership with the Houston International Festival. The summit focuses on Latin America and includes a spotlight on Brazil. The Council brings in speakers, music dance artists and an informational scavenger hunt. Students finish the day enjoying hands-on lessons on culture during a visit to the Festival’s Chevron Brazil Living Musem. “Our annual summit makes world cultures come alive for 600 sixth-graders from schools across the city ” Seymour explained. “Many students we reach come from underserved populations. This event introduces them to a world they never knew existed and sparks their interest in life-long learning.”
During the last two weekends in April (April 20–21, and April 27–28), students, parents and educators are encouraged to bring the lessons of the Teacher’s Curriculum Guide to life by attending the festival. Upon arrival to the 2013 Chevron Brazil Living museum, attendees will be instantly greeted by the unique scents, sounds, sights and cuisines that they have been reading about. The World Affairs Council of Houston will have an informational booth on-site during the first weekend of the Houston International Festival April 20th and 21st. The Council will offer a limited number of vouchers for complimentary attendance to one program. For more information about the World Affairs Council of Houston and upcoming programs, visit www.wachouston.org.
The Houston Festival Foundation functions as a non-profit organization. With the help of grants by the City of Houston’s Houston Arts Alliance, its sponsors and volunteers, the Houston Festival Foundation is able to keep the costs of the Houston International Festival low enough for every family to enjoy.
For more information about the Houston International Festival curriculum guide and event schedule, visit www.ifest.org or call 713-654-8808.
Connect on social media at Facebook.com/ifest and @iFest hashtag #HoustoniFest.
Download high-resolution images of past festivals, headliners, and more here.
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2013 marks the 43nd year for the Festival, which is produced by a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization, the Houston Festival Foundation, Inc. Festival proceeds benefit the education program of the foundation, which produces a teacher's curriculum guide on the spotlighted country's culture. The curriculum guide reaches a potential 900,000 students at 1,471 campuses in seven Texas counties. Foundation funding is provided in part by grants from the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance, corporate sponsorships, private contributions, in-kind support and volunteer assistance.