Consider Joining One of These Global Collaboration Projects

One of my favorite things to do in the classroom was to find ways students could somehow learn from people in other parts of the world, whether it was peer to peer, or speaking with experts in various fields. In fact, I have a presentation I offer on this to schools. With Skype in the Classroom no longer available (see my update on this post for more info), I have been on the lookout for other ways to “flatten the classroom”, so I thought I would mention a few today that are in the process of accepting more participants now that we are in January, 2021.

Humans of New York: Global Student Writing Project – Based on the Humans of New York photoblog by Brandon Stanton, this project has been adapted for students by Kelly Hilton (@KellyiHilton), Holly Clark (@HollyClarkEdu), and Tanya Avrith (@TanyaAvrith). I am not sure about sign-up deadlines, but I believe I saw somewhere that it is currently open.

Epic Pals Collaborative Reading Project – This is a monthly activity for 1st – 3rd graders hosted by Sara Malchow (@smalchow) using Epic! Books for Kids and Padlet.

Goals Project – Any class from K-College is welcome to participate in this event that is based on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Sign up now to get involved! (See another idea for incorporating the Sustainable Goals here.)

ScratchPals – The next round begins February 1st, 2021, so sign up here if you want to be involved in this global collaboration using the free Scratch coding site.

Virtual Valentines – This site will be updated very soon for the 2021 school year. My class participated in this in 2018, and really enjoyed it. One of the nice aspects of this project is that you can choose your level of participation.

Whether you decide to join one of these projects, one that isn’t listed, or even start one of your own, you can find a great video to help your students understand the value of global collaboration here.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

How Distance Learning Fosters Global Collaboration

My second monthly article for NEO has been published.  The title is, How Distance Learning Fosters Global Collaboration, and it may have some helpful resources for you.  (Last month’s article was, How to Use Design Thinking in the Classroom.)  For additional resources on global collaboration, you might also want to refer to this post.

As always, I would love to hear any comments or recommendations for topics of future posts.  I am currently working on the rough draft for next month, which is about integrating S.T.E.A.M. into distance learning, and I welcome any ideas you think should be included!

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Image by stokpic from Pixabay

ALA Art Drop Day

I got to be a small part of an interesting project on my last day at Advanced Learning Academy.  One of my colleagues, Dan Mallette, teaches a class for the high school students called, “Global Changemakers.”  Inspired by the World Art Drop Day in which the Southwest School of Art participates annually,  Dan tasked his students to each create two works of art based on the Sustainable Development Goals each student had chosen to study.  About a week before Art Drop Day, they started advertising #alaartdropday on our web announcements, and encouraged the school community to follow the Instagram account for our makerspace/studio (@studiozorro).  On the day of the Art Drop, I was able to accompany a couple of the groups of students as they took their pieces of art to different spots around campus to “hide” them.  Once a student found the perfect spot for his/her art, we took a picture of it in its location, trying to include a couple of clues to its surroundings, and posted the picture of the artwork on Instagram with the #alaartdropday tag.  Any student or teacher who was interested in one of the masterpieces could try to find it based on the clues in the Instagram picture, and claim it as their own.

The students had a great time hiding their artwork (one piece ended up on the railing inside the elevator). It was the perfect activity for the last day before Winter Break – allowing the students to get out of the classrooms and to come up with devious ways to camouflage their pieces while leaving them in plain sight.  A couple of staff members I ran into were excited about trying to find particular artworks that spoke to them that they hoped to display in their classrooms.

Finding a way to give students a larger audience than just the teacher and their classmates can be challenging.  This was a unique way to achieve that goal, and I hope that it will become an annual tradition at the school.

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Unit Planning Game

The amazing @tersonya (Sonya Terborg) shared an incredible tool on Twitter the other day that I think a lot of readers of this blog will like.  It is called, “The Unit Planning Game.” Based on the 17 Global Goals adopted by UN delegates in 2015, “The Unit Planning Game” will help educators and independent learners develop a framework for a project based on interest.

Users are first directed to choose from one of the 17 goals.  For example, I chose, “Gender Equality.”  Next up is the chance to select a “Solutions” card.  Finally, three Standards cards can be designated. (Currently, the standards are fairly generic, in the areas of reading, writing, and math.)

After all of the choices have been made, the user clicks on, “Generate Unit Plan,” and a customized three-stage unit will appear.  It includes an Essential Question  (for my example, the question was, “How might we change perception to make things more equal for boys and girls?”), potential performance assessments, and links to resources.

“The Unit Planning Game” is provided by Participate, and you can get even more ideas from its Project Based Learning page titled, “Teach the Global Goals.”

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Unit Planning Game – a Nice Way to Jumpstart a PBL Unit 

 

Global “Heart” Warming

One of the presentations I gave at TCEA was called, “Global ‘Heart’ Warming,” – a title that one of my friends later told me should be changed because it didn’t really describe the presentation very well.  (I’ll take new name suggestions in the comments below.) However, I thought I would share the presentation here for those of you unable to attend.  There are tons of links (especially in the “Project-ing” section) to different ways that you can collaborate globally.

Global _Heart_warming quote
Aaron Sorkin

Of course, some slides would make more sense during an oral presentation.  If you are ever interested in having me present to your school or at an event, please contact me at engagetheirminds@gmail.com.  You can see other available presentations on the top right side-bar of this site.

Virtual Valentines 2018

UPDATE 1/26/2021 – The Virtual Valentines site is now ready for 2021!  Go to the link below to get more info!  Also, here is my up-to-date Wakelet collection of Valentine’s Day resources.

Last year my 1st grade GT students got to participate in the Virtual Valentines project.  When you sign up for the project, you can choose whether to participate at a Level 1 or Level 2.  We decided to do Level 2, which meant we would find a partner class to exchange virtual valentines with and Skype with them.  Our partner class turned out to be in Canada (we are located in San Antonio, TX), and it was quite a learning experience for both classes.  The Canadians were stunned to see that most of our students were wearing shorts in the middle of winter – not an uncommon occurrence here.  And my students were thrilled when the Canadians turned their camera to show us the snow falling outside.

In making their valentines, I encouraged my students to add a little “Texas Flair” to make them unique.  You can see some examples here.  The Canadians made an adorable slide show for us.

I am definitely planning to participate again, and I hope that you will consider signing up as well.  Even as flat as our world has become through the internet and social media, there is still much to learn about people who live somewhere else.

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