If you haven’t bookmarked the “Great Quotes about Learning & Change” Flickr Group, then you should do so. Right now. It’s a great place to find provocative images and quotes to use in conversations, presentations, and in personal reflections as well.
The site really is that good. This image is one of 706 currently in the group. Cool, huh?
So, I ran across this image today which is a perfect representation of my thoughts and reflections this weekend. Thinking of my Trinity colleagues who will be welcoming children into their classrooms on Wednesday, I began to reflect on my three years of teaching sixth grade at Trinity. What would I do differently if I were heading back to the sixth grade classroom this year? The short answer: I would make sure that my students realized that they were entering into a classroom situated in the year 2011. Not one from the past…not even one from 2010. Even when I had a 1:1 tablet computing environment, I’m not totally sure that my classroom was as 21st century-ized as it should have been. It’s that whole “technology must serve pedagogy not the other way around” thing. In fact, if I were trying to gain some inspiration about making my classrooms 2011 ready, I’d certainly spend some time reflecting on the five axioms of EduCon, the above quote being axiom #3.
- Our schools must be inquiry-driven, thoughtful and empowering for all members.
- Our schools must be about co-creating — together with our students — the 21st Century Citizen.
- Technology must serve pedagogy, not the other way around.
- Technology must enable students to research, create, communicate and collaborate.
- Learning can — and must — be networked.
So, with those reflections swirling, I decided that my first step would be to find a way to make my classroom a globally connected one. It’s something that fits with each axiom above. Without a classroom to directly influence, I decided to reach out to my Trinity colleagues with three projects which look incredibly promising for the elementary ages. Within a few hours, I had heard from a handful of teachers who were interested in jumping in. In fact, our entire first grade team will be taking part in the Global Read Aloud Project this fall.
I thought I’d share my email here (and yes, I was lazy about the links!):
Are you interested in exploring how to further the Mission of Trinity School and assist your students in becoming responsible, compassionate, and productive members of the expanding global community? There are so many ways to open your classroom to classrooms all over the USA and the world….and there are a number of Trinity teachers who are already doing just that thing!
I wanted to let you know of a few projects that I have discovered that seem to be manageable, interesting, and connected to Trinity curriculum. If you are interested in finding another project, I’m happy to point you in the right direction. There are so many resources out there and so many great projects, engaged teachers, and cool classrooms! I have included the top three that I’ve seen recently. If you would like to talk in greater depth, please let me know! Also, Marsha and Kara would be more than happy to chat and assist as well! It’d be our dream that there are so many globally connected projects happening at Trinity that Kara, Marsha, and I had our hands full with supporting you and your classes!
To Connecting Globally!
1. The Global Read Aloud Project: This project begins on September 19 (and lasts until October 14) and is geared to students in 1st – 3rd Grade (who will be reading Flat Stanley books) OR to students in 4th – 6th (who will be reading Tuck Everlasting).
- The Basics! You “read aloud” a book (Flat or Tuck) with your class and connect with other classes all over the world in whatever way you want…wikis, Skype, Voicethreads, Videos, Etc
- Can I Really Do This? The founder of this project is very organized, so this is a safe project to start with if this is your first time doing something like this. Plus, there are people at Trinity who are happy to “hold your hand” through it. If you read aloud to your students, this project only requires a little more time reflecting on what you are reading.
- Learn More:
- Project wiki: http://globalreadaloud.wikispaces.com/
- What a 4th grade teacher from Wisconsin has to say about the project: http://globalreadaloud.blogspot.com/2011/08/veteran-shares-why-they-joined-gra.html
- Some FAQs: http://globalreadaloud.blogspot.com/p/faq.html
2. Teddy Bears Around the World: This project has no timeline or deadline…it is geared to students in the Threes, Pre-K, or K.
- The Basics! You and your class get a teddy bear and name him/her. Then you write blog posts about your teddy bear’s experiences in Atlanta, GA. There are classrooms doing this all over the world, so you can learn about different parts of the world through the teddy bear’s eyes. Other classes will leave comments for your bear too!
- Can I Really Do This? Like the GRA Project, the founder of this project is also organized and full of great ideas! This project has NO timeline so you can start, write blog posts on the Teddy Bears Around the World Blog, and quit whenever you would like. The only thing you would need to learn is how to post a entry and comment on a blog (which isn’t too difficult!).
- Super Cute! They even have a song that you can sing with your class: http://www.langwitches.org/blog/travel/teddybearsaroundtheworld/bear-travel-song/ (Adorable!)
- Learn More:
- About the Teddy Bears Project: http://www.langwitches.org/blog/travel/teddybearsaroundtheworld/about-2/
- Look at the Classrooms Participating: http://www.langwitches.org/blog/travel/teddybearsaroundtheworld/where-in-the-world-map/
3. Community Connections Project: This project has a deadline of February 2012 but it seems like it will be ongoing throughout the 2011-12 school year. This project seems to fit students in K – 3rd grade.
- The Basics! This project is a great way for your students to learn about urban, suburban, and rural communities from around the world! You will create a wiki with information (pictures, words, videos) about the Atlanta community. Other classes will do the same.
- Can I Really Do This? Yes! You have all of 2011 to become comfortable with using a wiki and then you could start the project in January if you’d like. Or, you could get started right away! You will need to learn how to use a wiki (the same thing that the PLP is!) and upload pictures and student work.
- Learn More:
- About the project: http://communityconnectionsproject.wikispaces.com/
- Instructions: http://communityconnectionsproject.wikispaces.com/Instructions
- A Sample Wiki – just to get you thinking: http://communityconnectionsproject.wikispaces.com/Urban+Bronx+%28example%29