7 Billion Others: How are we Different? How are we the Same?

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7 Billion Others… There are seven billion other humans living on our planet. How do they live? What is important to them? What makes them tick? Do they live similar than me? Are they different than me? How?

These questions intrigued Ana Paula Cortez, one of our Portuguese teachers at Graded, the American School of São Paulo, and compelled her to explore them with her students.

Inspiration: 7billionothers.org

In 2003, after The Earth seen from the Sky, Yann Arthus-Bertrand, with Sybille d’Orgeval and Baptiste Rouget-Luchaire, launched the 7 billion Others project. 6,000 interviews were filmed in 84 countries by about twenty directors who went in search of the Others. From a Brazilian fisherman to a Chinese shopkeeper, from a German performer to an Afghan farmer, all answered the same questions about their fears, dreams, ordeals, hopes: What have you learnt from your parents? What do you want to pass on to your children? What difficult circumstances have you been through? What does love mean to you?

Forty-five questions that help us to find out what separates and what unites us. These portraits of humanity today are accessible on this website. The heart of the project, which is to show everything that unites us, links us and differentiates us, is found in the films which include the topics discussed during these thousands of hours of interviews.

Objective: Raise awareness of culture and interconnectedness of common themes/threads that connect humans no matter of their cultural origin. Take advantage of our multilingual students to share and connect speakers of different languages.

Students: 7th & 8th grade Portuguese Language Learners

Project Idea: Middle School students create a video (testimonies, journal type) responding to pre-set prompts from 7billionothers.org (love, happiness, work).

Future extension idea: personalize the prompts by tweaking to address specific middle school topic…. friends, family, what do you want to be when you grow up….)


1. Discuss video filming techniques.. observe the ones recorded on 7billionothers.org

  • Framing
  • Angle
  • Stability
  • Background


2. Watch Testimony videos (students get to choose)


3. Discuss and record prompts

  • students answer the same prompts (practice orally with a partner (ex. dreams, family, country, happiness, fears)
  • record the video talking about the specific prompt (keep it short 15 -50 seconds). Students get to choose in which language (Portuguese/English/Mother tongue)
  • add subtitles in Portuguese/English/Mother tongue depending on the language they chose to record the video in
  • upload and embed to their blogs
  • write a reflection about the chosen prompt (not on video technique) and publish (Ex. Gaetano, Clara, Ivanna, Seo-Hyun, Laura, Francisco, Jason, Juan Pablo, Andrew )



4. Amplify original prompts and videos

  • brainstorm additional prompts ,what would same age kids in other countries be interested in hearing their opinions about?
  • finalize and choose new prompt to film
  • record thoughts (less than 30 seconds) Language: your choice
  • Add subtitles in Portuguese/English/Mother tongue
  • upload and embed to blog, publish

Future Idea (next school year starting August 2014):

  • having example videos, invite classes from around the world to contribute to the same prompts

Looking for Global Partner Classes

  • Are you up for it?
  • Can you see how your students could articulate, communicate and contribute to a more global understanding of “What separates us? What divides us?” How are we different? How are we the same? from the perspective of a Tweens and Teens?
  • How can you connect this to your curriculum objectives and standards? World languages, Technology standards, Media Literacy, Global Literacy, Network Literacy, Information Literacy…

Leave a comment (make sure you receive notification of follow up comment and/or fill out your email box in the comment form) if you are interested and want to be notified next school year to be part of the amplified project.


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