Last Spring my students and I participated in the Flat Classroom “A Week in the Life” Project. It was an amazing experience for us to work with students and teachers from 4 different countries. After that, I made it my goal to continue flattening my classroom walls and providing my students the opportunity to reach out and connect with students around the world.
This year I began doing that with our Flat Stanley project. We joined the Global Read Aloud to share our predictions, book chats, stories we wrote, etc. We then wanted to make our own paper Stanley’s to mail out. Instead of just sending Stanley’s within the USA, I went on a mission to find classrooms outside of our country to do exchanges with us.
With the help of the Global Classroom Project, I was able to locate classrooms in Canada, New Zealand, and Romania to get us started. What was so incredible was how quickly a few of those teachers jumped on board to create wikis for us to share photos, videos, maps, and information about our countries. In Edmodo, we are able to have discussions with some of them too.
Far away places like Calgary, Auckland, and Bucharest became real for us as we saw their photos, heard their voices and chatted with them. What was eye opening to the children was not only our differences but our many similarities too. We love watching the videos to see their classrooms and hear the differences in their voices! We had to make 2 sets of paper Flat Stanley’s because we were so excited to get started and didn’t want to wait.
We are not just exchanging paper dolls, we are exchanging culture and customs. Technology has allowed us to become friends with people on the other side of the world. I get just as excited as my students do when we find some new information on one of the wikis. I had to wait until I was in my 40′s to make these connections. I wonder if my students realize how lucky they are to be having these experiences now.
Hopefully, by exposing the children to different cultures this early in their lives, it will lead to a life of acceptance and respect for other people and their countries. After all, it is our differences that make us unique and special. If the world were full of the same person, it would be a very dull place.
Please check out the links below to visit our wikis and see the learning and sharing that is taking place.
Click on the image below to view our video:
Click on the image below to see our PhotoPeach album: