Reflections on International Mindedness

Copyright Shutterstock. Used under license.

Copyright Shutterstock. Used under license.


A guest post courtesy of Toni Olivieri-Barton who blogs at toniobarton.wordpress.com.

In the International Baccalaureate (IB) Organization, “international-minded” students are defined as demonstrating all of the following attributes: open-minded, risk-taker, reflective, principled, balanced, inquirer, knowledgeable, thinkers, communicators and caring. There are many ways to give our students enough time to practice these attributes. I have incorporated them into the library time and collaborating with teachers to allow students to show these attributes to others around the world

Global projects assist teachers and students in being able to demonstrate all those attributes, but especially open-minded, risk-taking, and reflective. In a global project, classrooms around the world meet virtually to discuss cultural similarities and differences. For students who may never get to travel outside of their neighborhood or school, this global experience is essential because they will hear ideas and opinions that they themselves have not thought about. Even understanding students in a different school in the United States can open up their minds allowing them to care and reflect on their life.

One example of this is Mystery Skype. Mystery Skype is a Skype videoconference where another school in the world to connect with my school. The teachers do not tell the students where the other school is from and the students ask each other Yes or No questions to determine where the school is located. While doing this the teachers and students talk about being good communicators and thinkers. Our students are not allowed to use slang or text talk so that they can be respective when they communicate. They are representing our school and need to think and act accordingly.  After the location is discovered, the two classrooms have a social exchange of what our classrooms, communities, and environments are like. We need to be knowledgeable about our own state and inquirers into what their state or country have to offer.

We had a few classes participate in the Global Read-Aloud. The teacher running this program simply picks books for every level K-12 and asks teachers to join her Edmodo group to find a connection with other teachers. Last year the students discussed in groups on Edmodo what they thought of the books and also video conferenced with other classrooms who read the same book. Our fifth graders were able to return to school in the evening to communicate with Kuala Lumpur students who had also read the book. The book this year was “Wonder” by Palaccio. The book talks about a student with deformities. Students discussed how a caring student would react with the main character. The students had an exchange about the book and then had time for a social exchange to understand each other’s culture.

On a larger scale, I am eager to have more classrooms participate in a global collaboration project, such as Flat Connections. There is one project for kindergarten through second graders that is called “Building Bridges to Tomorrow”. My 4th graders participate in one called “A Week in the Life”. Both of these projects are created and managed through Flat Connections, which is an organization who believes students from different schools, and countries can come together to collaborate with each other. During these projects, students learn to be open-minded and inquire to their fellow co-students from around the world. If students can see this task as simple and friendly, they will develop into adults who want to connect with others who are not similar to themselves. Flat Connections has projects for all grade levels in K-12.

During the last year, my students made amazing reflections. One class of 2nd graders all wanted to move to Iowa so that they can drive the tractors in the fields at age twelve. This farming community in Iowa opened our students’ eyes up to different experiences. Another group of students connected with a Catholic school in Illinois. When one of our religious students asked how often they studied religion, the Catholic students answered only on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday because on Wednesday they attended Mass. The student was surprised because they only study religion a few days a week. As a librarian, this connected learning is similar to learning from a primary source. The students are learning from each other by discussing their similarities and differences.

As a society we should learn from our past mistakes and make the world a peaceful place. We have a diverse earth where conflict arises when we don’t understand our differences. This past year, I had every classroom from second grade to fifth grade participate in at least one project with a classroom outside of our school. Some of these projects were only communication projects. This year my goal is to have all the students from second through fifth grade participate in a collaboration project.

As the IB model teaches, teachers should inspire students to act about the knowledge they gain during school hours. If that knowledge includes more international students or United States students who are different than them, our students will become more open-minded and reflective. Even at the primary grades, students question how the world works and take action on their knowledge and passions. The Flat Connections group uses the term “Glocalization”, let’s teach globally, but act locally.

Live Event: Take a Trip to the Deserts and Grasslands of Africa! (Feb 5, 2015)

Are you looking for new, exciting ways to connect your Grades 3-8 students with real world science, geography, and environmental issues beyond your classroom walls? Why rely on a textbook, when you can bring a real scientist into your classroom?

The Global Classroom Project is delighted to share an amazing upcoming live event, where The Nature Conservancy, PBS Learning Media, and field scientist Charles Oluchina will take your students on a live virtual field trip to Africa!

Event Description

Take your students on a virtual trip to Burkina Faso, where they will learn how one African farmer invented an ingenious method to help restore forestlands that had been lost to desertification. Head to Kenya to learn about the importance of grasslands, and how ecotourism has benefited both the people and Kenya’s majestic wildlife. Finally, you and your students will get a firsthand look at a PBS LearningMedia’s collection of videos, digital games and educational resources from the new PBS series EARTH A New Wild.

This event, focussing on the Deserts and Grasslands of Africa, marks the first of a new series of live events aimed at building students’ knowledge of, and emotional connection to environmental issues, which are at the heart of The Nature Conservancy’s mission.

Date and time:  Thursday, February 5, 2015, 12:00 noon Eastern Time (17:00 GMT). 

The event will be streamed on YouTube (40 minutes), and recorded for those classes which can’t participate live due to time differences.

Get Involved!

Interested teachers are strongly encouraged to register for this event via this online form.

Classes can participate in the event in three ways:

  1. Join the live Google Hangout On Air on The Nature Conservancy’s Google + channel
  2. Watch the live stream on YouTube here, or
  3. Watch the event recording via the Nature Works Everywhere YouTube channel

About Nature Works Everywhere

The Nature Conservancy and its 550 scientists created Nature Works Everywhere to help students learn the science behind how nature works, and how we can help keep it strong. Nature Works Everywhere gives teachers, students and families around the world everything they need to start exploring and understanding the natural world alongside Nature Conservancy scientists, including interactive games, and curriculum linked lesson plans that be customised for use in classrooms around the world.

Related Science and Geography Resources for teachers:

#globalclassroom 2014-15 Launch – Slides and Recording

On November 20, we marked the official launch of Global Classroom 2014-15 with our presentation at the Global Education Conference. Attended by viewers from Australia, Kenya, Norway, and the United States, we are delighted to share the slides and recording with you today.

Blackboard Collaborate Recording: 

https://sas.elluminate.com/site/external/jwsdetect/nativeplayback.jnlp?sid=2008350&psid=2014-11-21.0414.D.439D8CE5EF39E223D0D5B21CA9BAD5.vcr

Join us for our Global Classroom 2014-15 Project Launch @ #globaled14 (Nov 21)!

The playground swingset.

#globalclassroom students, SAV School Nepal

This Friday, we mark the official launch of Global Classroom 2014-15 at the Global Education Conference.

Established in March 2011, we are embarking on our fourth year of global connections and collaboration; and we’d love for you to join us!

2014-15 Wiki: http://globalclassroom2014-15.wikispaces.com

Webinar Details

Date and Time: 12:00 GMT November 21, 2014. Please click here to see when this is in YOUR timezone.

Room Link :  https://sas.elluminate.com/d.jnlp?sid=2008350&password=GEC15Part119.

Please add this event to your calendar, and help us spread the word through your social networks! We are looking forward to sharing our stories and projects as we look forward to 2014-15.

Slides and recordings will be published on this blog following the conference.

Have a global project idea? We’re here to help!

We are accepting project proposals for

Global Classroom 2014-15. 

Copy of The world needs dreamers, and the world

The Global Classroom Project is committed to helping teachers and schools connect to create dynamic educational experiences. We help teachers build and promote their global collaboration project ideas, and assist them in finding collaboration partners and facilitating enriching international exchanges.

Since 2011, we have hosted in excess of 30 K-12 global projects, and worked with over 430 teachers from 42 countries. In 2014, one of our longest running projects, The Travelling Rhino Project, won the ISTE Online Learning Award.

In order for us to continue facilitating these enriching international exchanges, and build our #globalclassroom community, we ask participating project leaders to agree to the following:

  1. Fill out the Project Framework form. This helps ensure the projects are well-planned and thought-out, and also allows us to get a good understanding about the purpose and design of your project.
  2. Submit at least one blog post to our community blog, and a slide to our bi-annual project webinars – sharing your experiences and learning outcomes as a result of your project.

We will help promote your project, and find collaboration partners, in exchange for your sharing of your experiences and practice with our community. This enables us to learn from each other, and improve our professional practice.

If you have any questions, please email globalclassroomorganisers AT gmail.com or tweet @gcporganisers. Thank you!

We look forward to launching Global Classroom 2014-15 at the Global Education Conference in November! 

Global Classroom 2013-14 Closing Webinar Slides & Recordings (August)

In August 2014, we formally marked the conclusion of Global Classroom 2013-14 with two online webinars. Thank you to everyone who helped make the project such an amazing success, and we look forward to announcing details of Global Classroom 2014-15 shortly.

Recordings

Webinar 1 (August 15, 2014)

https://warwick.mediaspace.kaltura.com/media/globalclassroom+close+2014/0_64v4rdzu/22743902

 

Webinar 2 (August 16, 2014)

https://warwick.mediaspace.kaltura.com/media/globalclassroom+close+2+2014/0_ildo270x/22743902