Empatico is a new site that is being developed to match students with other classrooms around the world. Because the site is beta testing, you will need to give them your contact information in order to gain early access (expected launch in September, 2017). It is designed for students 8-10 years old, and includes two types of activities: “Sparks” – short activities meant to last 3-5 hours, and “Fires” – experiences that last 2-3 weeks. You can see some examples of activities on this page. I’m already excited about the “Ways We Play” activity, in which students share the different ways they entertain themselves with a class from another part of the world. I am always looking for opportunities for my students to connect globally (see our Valentine Project from earlier this year and my Skype resource post), and Empatico looks like a promising free resource that we can utilize!
As I try to communicate to all of my students, K-5, the importance of understanding diversity and our global interdependencies, this video strikes me as one way to remind them that we must think beyond our immediate surroundings. I originally found this video, “We are All Connected,” on KidWorldCitizen.org. There is a page on human rights lessons for kids, which includes the video as well as many other resources. I will be adding this video to my Pinterest Board of Inspirational Videos for Students, where you can find many other motivational short films to use in your classroom.
A couple of weeks ago I posted a link to the Virtual Valentines Project. Since my 1st graders are studying different continents and countries, I thought they would be the perfect group to match with a Virtual Valentine. We were matched with a class in Canada, and will be Skyping with them today.
I wanted the Valentines my students made to reflect a little of our San Antonio uniqueness, so I asked the students to brainstorm some special things about San Antonio that our Canadian friends might not have. This turned out to be harder than I expected.
“Games?” one student suggested.
“Toys?” another student ventured.
After I assured them that Canada is not an isolated planet in outer space without any stores or internet connections, we narrowed things down a bit.
We ended up with a fairly long list, and the students could choose one San Antonio feature to include in their Valentines. It wasn’t until yesterday, though, that I got a chance to look at them closely. I thought I’d share a few with you 🙂
Overall, I think their pictures definitely showcase some of our San Antonio flair. I hope this post makes you smile as much as I did writing it, and Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you!
I asked my 1st grade gifted students today to try to think from their parents’ perspectives of what they would like for Valentine’s Day besides food or flowers. The first student said that her parents would want, “my sister and I to stop fighting,” which seemed like a pretty good response. Then the next student said, “Yeah, my mom would want to rest in peace.” I think I know what he meant, but you can never be sure. Then another student said, “Beer!” which brought up an interesting discussion as to whether or not that could count – because “it’s a food!” as some of the students declared…
Sometimes my job just makes me smile 🙂
Anyway, this all started because we are studying different countries, and learning about the Depth and Complexity icon, “Multiple Perspectives.” I signed our class up to participate in a Virtual Valentines project, and we will hopefully be exchanging Valentines with a class in another country. It occurred to me that are probably very few countries that actually celebrate this holiday, but I did some research and found out that several places around the world either have Valentine’s Day traditions or other similar variations. (I’m still trying to figure out why “Love Spoons” haven’t caught on yet in the USA.)
I signed us up for Level 2 of the Virtual Valentines Project, which means that we will not only make virtual Valentines, but try to exchange them with another class. If that is too much pressure, you can also choose Level 1, which just legally binds you to having your class create virtual Valentines. Which I read to mean, “I am putting my name down, but my life is crazy and it’s quite possible that by ‘virtual’ Valentines I mean that my students will just create some in their imagination, so I refuse to commit myself to them doing anything that isn’t somehow tied in to standardized testing.”
The Virtual Valentines Project has a resource page, which gives suggestions for tools to use to create your digital cards. I would add to this list the Quiver App’s free augmented reality Valentine’s Day page, which you can find here.
For more Valentine’s Day ideas, you can look at last year’s blog post. I’ll probably update and re-blog it in the near future.
In yesterday’s blog post, I mentioned how our class has connected with experts through Skype in the Classroom. One of the experts was a science reporter named Erik Vance, who helped my 3rd graders really understand the impact overfishing has had on ocean ecosystems. (The students are working on a Genius Hour project about protecting the coral reefs.) Mr. Vance was matched with us after we scheduled a request for an interview on the topic on Skype in the Classroom. Our request went to the Pulitzer Center, and a member of their staff, Fareed Mostoufi, arranged for Mr. Vance to speak with the children at our requested date and time. You can read about the interview here.
The Pulitzer Center in its own words, “promotes in-depth engagement with global affairs through its support for quality international journalism across all media platforms and an innovative program of outreach and education.” In addition to virtual class visits and curricular resources for all grade levels, the Pulitzer Center has a “Lesson Builder” for educators, which is free to use. You can use the lesson plans already available in the Community, such as “Visualizing the Drone Debate,” or, “Interpreting Global Issues Through Picasso’s Guernica,” or build your own lessons with the online tool. You will need to register and log in (free) in order to build your own lessons and save them.
If you are trying to “flatten” your classroom, and to educate your students as global citizens, The Pulitzer Center is an excellent resource to help you get started.
Here is a great site that gives an awesome description of how to conduct a “Mystery Skype” session with another class, preferably in a very different part of the world. Why would you want to plan a “Mystery Skype”? Here are the goals as listed on the site:
- Students will use map skills to find the location of the mystery classroom
- Students will use communication and critical thinking skills to ask questions to help them find the mystery location.
- Classes communicate with other classrooms via Skype or Google+ Hangouts.
- Students will learn to respect and appreciate the cultures and customs of others.
- Students will be able to see the differences and similarities between themselves and others around the world.
This fabulous resource offers suggestions for student roles, questions to ask, and clues to give to the other class. Mystery Skype also gives links to: a spreadsheet of teachers interested in participating in this project, a meeting planner so you can figure out the best time for your Skype call, and some other helpful links.
I can’t wait to sign my class up!