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February 2006

Beyond the Fire
Stories of 15 teenagers who came to the U.S. from war zones.
Grade Level: 6-8, 9-12


This interactive site allows users to explore the stories of fifteen teenagers, now living in the United States, who have survived war in seven war zones. The site is hosted by Independent Television Service (ITVS) a nonprofit organization that funds independently produced programming for public television and the Web.
Beyond the Fire is designed using Flash technology. Users will want to start by clicking on "Begin Your Journey" to display an interactive world map with links to each teen's story from their home countries. Links to other areas of the site are listed on the left side of the main page and at the bottom of internal pages.

This site uses audio and Flash animation to tell the stories of fifteen war refugees and the challenges they have faced as they survived the traumas of war in their homelands. Stories include such war torn countries as Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia, Somalia and others. Each of the stories is accompanied by an interactive timeline that gives a brief history of the conflict and a fact sheet about the country. Transcripts of the stories, the timeline and the fact sheets are available in printer-friendly documents for download and printing from the Educators section of the site. A unique feature of the site is a Passport and Travelog that visitors can register for and then access each time they visit the site to keep records of their thoughts and responses to the stories. After reading each story the passport is stamped and the travelog is opened with a question about the refugee. Included is a talkback section for visitors to share their thoughts on the stories or their own personal accounts of surviving war and a resource section for further study. The Educators section of the site offers teachers two secondary lesson plans that meet McREL standards for Geography, Civics, World History and Language Arts. The topics deal with the issues of child soldiers and comparing the experiences of teen refugees. Additionally there are tips for using the site in a one computer classroom or a multiple computer setting, and a talkback section for teachers to discuss how they are using the site in their own classrooms.


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