What will you do this school year to help your students connect to others outside the classroom, outside your school, your community, even outside your country? With a little planning, you can virtually tear down your classroom walls and allow your students to flourish!
During the school year, this is where I share ideas and projects for your Social Studies class. As a new school year looms near and I spend time thinking about exactly what I will share with you in these Wednesday posts, I decided to offer up a challenge to you.
No matter what age you teach, what content you teach, or in what type of school you teach, you can do at least one thing to connect your classroom to another.
Again, this can be within your own school, another school in your district or county, a school in a different state or country, maybe even a school one a totally different continent!
There are many ways to tear down a classroom wall. Start small and think big for the future!
Here are just a few...
1. Connect with another classroom through a closed Facebook group. Maybe students can discuss a book or poem they are reading.
2. Set up a Twitter account just for a certain project your students are working on. Find another teacher willing to do the same and go from there. What if students studied weather in a climate completely unlike their own through tweets?
3. Create an Instagram account for your classroom. Follow other teachers that have a similar interest/content area. Let's say your students are studying a particular region, anywhere in the world. If you can hook up with a teacher in that region, students could post pictures of all-things related to Alaska, for example. Houses, clothing, food, culture, animals...the possibilities are endless!
4. Of course, there's always Skype. With this one, however, you have to be more careful about time zones. If you can work that out, students could even teach each other how to do math problems or collect data from each other for data and probability tasks.
5. Pen pals, the old-fashioned handwritten kind, are still around. You can have individual pen pals for each student or just have a group pen pal from one classroom to another.
6. If you have a bit more time to spend, classroom blogs are an excellent way to share and find information from all around the world! For those who teach writing, this might even be a way to get more of your students interested in the content.
7. There are many other forms of technology, websites, and apps that can effectively knock down a wall or two. In fact, this has piqued my interest so much that I'll be doing a series on Tech Tip Tuesdays about lots of other ways to accept this challenge. Stay tuned each week as I present these to you.
As I said earlier, you can start small....very small and work with a teacher down the hall if need be. However, if you put on your thinking cap and use all your resources, I bet you can find a teacher much farther away who would love to join forces with you.
Since we live in a global society and our world truly does seem to get smaller and smaller, this is an awesome way to bring some real-world, authentic learning into your classroom. Also, our students are so technologically advanced, these ideas are sure to grab their interest. You may want to fight it tooth and nail, but technology is here to stay. The more we can use it to our advantage and create real learning situations, the better.
So, are you up for the challenge?
I would LOVE to hear from you about some of the ways you are already incorporating global learning, with or without the use of technology, into your classroom.
How are you tearing down walls?