The excitement and possibilities of global projects makes me want to teach 5th grade. ( I currently teach HS Spanish.) My dream would be to turn my entire class into a global collaboration project. I would surely have to fly under the radar as 5th grade teachers in my public school have a few things on their plate. Common Core, Lucy Calkins, Benchmark reading program, Everyday Math, NWEA testing (3 times a year), Units of Study, PYP Planners, a new Health curriculum, CMASS testing and DRA testing (3 times a day) to name a few.
I’d like to think I could make it work. We’d have an amazing year learning with and from people from all over the world. We’d all become more effective global citizens.
For the moment, I’ll be living my dream within my Spanish courses.
Connecting with students in other places has always been a part of our curriculum. Typical of most language teachers, I suppose. The excitement of different shaped envelopes arriving with cool looking stamps from pen pals in Mexico or Africa or Spain was (and still is) a big deal.
Recently, technology has made these conversations and connections a whole lot easier. I remember the first Skype conversation we had with a teacher from Turkey almost six years ago. I had first stayed up late to chat with her class and then she did the same with mine a week later. I was teaching English as an Additional Language at the time and both our classes learned a lot from each other. I used to keep track of where and with whom we had these conversations on a wiki. I wish I had kept up with it over the years. Moving our connections to our blog and class wiki was more efficient for my fourth grade students. They connected with a class in Costa Rica and shared thoughts on politics, uniforms, music and school life. The highlight was their collaborative stories and authentic conversations.
A few years later, there seems to be many more options for global projects. Kim’s step-by-step post is helpful in getting started. I’m looking forward to connecting my students even more this next year and hopefully have them solve authentic problems in the process.
Here are a list of specific projects and/or resources if you’d like to jump in.
- Global Education Conference
- Flat Connections
- Mystery Skype
- Taking it Global
- Global Language Project
- New Global Citizens
- Strategies for Connecting your classroom with the world
- Global School House
- Ongoing Collaborative Projects
- World Peace and other Fourth Grade Projects
- Global Education Magazine
- The Center for Global Awareness
I’ll be sharing the above links with the teachers in my buildings, hoping they see the importance of teaching their students to be global citizens and sincerely hoping they can fit it in under the amazing pressures of standardized curriculum and assessments.