The Caretta-Caretta Global Project- a new and exciting awareness idea

Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta-caretta)

Hi everyone! We are so excited to launch The Caretta-Caretta Global Project!

Aim
The aim of the project is to help raise global awareness on the serious threat the loggerhead turtle is facing. Our little turtle, Neptune the Caretta2, will travel around the world along with its diary to inform everyone of its plight. At the same time, the issue of plastic garbage thrown in beaches or discarded at sea will also be discussed as it’s one of the threats for the caretta-caretta turtle (and not only!).

Ages
Any age

The project
– Share your school details in the project participant form https://goo.gl/NDbUO9
-The participant classes will in turn get the project package, which will eventually travel around the globe, by mail.
-The package will contain Neptune the Caretta2 the progect diary and QR codes for a great informative video and spreadshhets for class and home discussion.
-After learning Neptne’s history and his species plight, the class can help him by spreading the wold in the local community any way they can imagine. A lot of great ideas have been discussed. Make a street demonstation with banners, create a video and show it to the other school classes, create banners and go from class to class to inform on the Caretta-Caretta plight….not even the sky is the limit to our innovative ideas!
– Each class will have a page in the project wiki, https://caretta2globalproject.wikispaces.com/
where they can share all their exciting ideas, photos, videos, etc
-Neptune the Caretta2 and the project diary will stay with each class for 2 weeks, during which time they can contributeideas, drawings, etc.

Let’s all link hands to save Neptune the Caretta2 and his family and make our home a better place!

Growing #GlobalEdTed

Small Beginnings

Last year we piloted the Traveling Teddy project with seven teachers that we already knew. Some of our fears going into the pilot were:

  • Participants wouldn’t be committed and not participate in key aspects of the project like the blogging or creating the QR code.
  • Not keeping to schedule. The schedule was very dependent upon all participating teachers who needed to understand that being late on mailing their bear off would affect how much time classes after them would have with the bear.
  • Our WORST fear was: Losing Teddy in the mail!!!

Having teachers we knew and trusted helped to alleviate our first two fears, and we had a backup bear just in case Teddy did get lost, his cousin Freddy could be Fedex-ed to the correct location to continue the journey! We really shouldn’t have been afraid, because not only was the project successful, but it went over and beyond what we ever imagined! Here is the final video that my kindergarten class made last year at the end of Teddy’s travels.

Year #2

In August of 2014 we opened signups for #GlobalEdTed to the world. This meant having a huge level of trust on my part because I was now putting Teddy in the hands of teachers I did not know. Would they all understand that blogging was at the core of the project? Would they remember to make a QR code for the next class? Would they all be fair and make sure their bear was mailed off on time? Would they take the time to communicate with each other to make it a truly global experience? All these questions obviously made me extremely nervous, but there was nothing to do but to trust that it would all fall into place.

I was overwhelmed by the number of teachers that signed up. From seven classes we jumped to 50 classes in 23 countries! I quickly realized that the two bears I originally planned on having for the second year of our project (Teddy and Freddy) were not going to be enough. So, the bear family grew and twin girls Bessie and Jessie joined the project!

I am sad that I had to close signups for interested parties in particular countries, but in order to make it truly international, we could not accept too many classes within the same country. I have not found a way to allow more people to be involved without having to add more bears. As it is, four bears has been a quite a bit of work to keep up with so I don’t think I can add more next year.

Working Out Logistics

You can imagine that figuring out the logistics at the beginning of this project was quite a task! I printed out the signups, cut them up then color coded each one by placing a dot on each according to continent they were in. Then I looked at the age groups that were involved, we had a range from pre-k to third grade. Slowly I worked out a balance of:

  • Age groups: I tried to keep PreK and K together and second and third together. Then first grade got mixed up between these two groups depending on their location.
  • Locations: I tried my best not to repeat countries within the same bear’s itinerary but it was difficult because of the large number of signups from particular countries.
  • Distance: I had to work out a way so that most classes weren’t sending their bear too far. However, some just had to mail their bear further than others, it was inevitable. Most itineraries began around Asia Pacific, moved through India or the Middle East to North America then back toward Asia through Europe.

The organization was not perfect, but I did the best I could! 2014-08-31 10.05.02

I digitalized this onto a GDoc and shared the itineraries with the participants. This is where all participants can track their bear and also find information about other participants if they would like to contact them through Twitter or Skype.

Logistics

The schedule allowed each class to have a bear visit for approximately a week and a half. Some schools signed up then later informed us that more than one group would be involved, so we tried to allow a little more time for them. We then approximated around one week for travel time between destinations. This meant that if we were lucky, we could fit in two schools per month. Of course, holidays cause a few delays here and there so it was important that the bears were not scheduled beyond May as most schools were finishing in early to mid June. This left some flexibility for delays, but not much.

Reflections So far…

I am amazed at the communication that is happening between classes. Not only have there been Skype calls and tweets but classes have left comments for each other. I’ve even seen comments happening between classes within the same school! Little did I know that the project would also provide a platform for teachers to share tips and tools! Take a look at this comment thread from the Teddy Bears’ blog:

comments

The posts have been adorable and I have thoroughly enjoyed seeing photos and watching videos that classes have made to put on the blog!

Things that I would probably change for next year are:

1. Create a checklist for teachers to read through before signing up to ensure that they are able and willing to fully participate.

I found that there were many teachers who signed up without fully understanding what would be expected of them as a participant of the project, such as blogging. After finding out they dropped out. this made the initial organization and logistics quite confusing!

2. Make sure that each class teacher within the same school signs up separately and have no more than two or three signups per school. 

We had some schools sign up once and then later inform us that more than one group of students would be participating. On the other hand, we also had schools who signed up individually by class. I found it was easier to organize itineraries if teachers signed up separately rather than together. However, if there were too many classes from one school then it would create less room for bears to travel elsewhere. Therefore, I think limiting it to around 2 or 3 signups per school could work well. (One sign up = approximately 1.5 weeks.)

3. Emphasize the importance of posting the bears on time because every day counts! 

I think that this year I did not explain well enough that I had scheduled classes in such a way that we only had a small window for delays. Once we factor in holidays, postage delays, and the fact that some schools finish at the end of May, further delays could mean some classes at the end of an itinerary no longer have time in the school year to participate. We have some slight delays currently but I think we can still get back on schedule. Worst case scenario, I may have to shift some people around to another bear’s itinerary if delays continue.

Traveling Teddies 2015-16!

If you are interested in joining in, signups will open up again in August of 2015. Be sure to watch #GlobalEdTed for tweets and check back at our site, travelingteddybear.com 🙂

 

Teddy Travels the World

Meet Teddy!

Earlier this year my buddy Joe Sergi (@pep073) and I started Traveling Teddy. A project that involves seven early childhood classes in Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, America, India, Singapore, Indonesia, and Australia all taking turns having Teddy visit their classrooms. The objective: teach teddy and share what you’re teaching him with the rest of us! 

The first thing I wanted out of this project was to have it become an extension of what was already happening in the classroom, not an ‘add-on’. So, we emphasized that the kids should teach Teddy about what they are currently learning. The other thing I wanted was a way for young learners to have a real hands-on connection (Teddy) to relate with as they learned about places and children around the world. Often, global education limits us because we’re communicating on a screen. As wonderful as it is that we are able to do that now, I am sure that most early childhood educators will agree with me when I say that at this young age, hands-on learning experiences are extremely valuable. In Traveling Teddy, all the children involved get to touch Teddy, play with him, show him around their school and really make a connection. So, with this project I hoped to use a real experience that all the classes share, to help us all make valuable connections with each other.

Classes are blogging to Teddy’s blog using Easy Blog Jr., thanks to @Phillip_Cowell@dtaylor2008 and @gueben, the guys behind Easy Blog Jr. (by Easy App Co.) who agreed to help us with this project. Easy Blog Jr. makes it really simple for kids to independently post to a WordPress blog. They also have a Blogger version and other very kid friendly apps.

Participating classes were given the option of using Twitter and Skype in this project. It is optional because some classes tweet while others don’t. As for Skype, it’s use is dependent upon timezones, so both these options were made available by sharing Twitter handles and Skype names with each other but leaving it up to individual teachers as to whether or not they would incoproate the use of these tools or not. So far I have been able to Skype with our class in Saudi Arabia and our hashtag #globaledted continues to have updates on Teddy’s adventures! Currently he’s in transit from New Delhi, India to Singapore!

Teddy is also quite tech savy and travels with a QR code in his pouch created by each of the classes to send to the next. He has his own little passport that gets stamped and class pictures are pasted into it. Finally, classes will hopefully contribute to a book made on Book Creator to share Teddy’s journey through these past few months.

We’ve already had many teachers contact us for next year and it is getting exciting to see where Teddy may be heading in the coming school year! We are even considering launching more than one Teddy so that as many schools as possible can get involved! If you are interested in having Teddy visit your school next year please do read through teacher information carefully, then leave a comment or contact us through the Traveling Teddy site.

Flat Stanley Aurasma Project

Original blog post from Mr. Hart’s ITRT Blog

During this school year, I have really enjoyed going over to Kaechele Elementary School about once a month to help teach and integrate the Augmented Reality App, Aurasma into some classrooms.

Mrs. Hyman, the school librarian and information specialist, took the same Flat Stanley Project that most schools do to the next level. As usual, each student had to design their own Flat Self. This is where the similarities ended. Mrs. Hyman had each student create a video including the following:
1. Introduce themselves and their flat self
2. Go through their winter break adventure sequentially, showing their pictures and drawings
3. Wrap it up with a conclusion

After the students completed their projects, Mrs. Hyman used the studio.aurasma program to make the over 100 auras for all the 2nd grade students. The coolest part about this project is that Mrs. Hyman has connected with the infamous Shannon Miller, Teacher Librarian & Technology Integrationist, from the Van Meter School in Iowa. This amazing librarian is completing the same project with her students. Once completed the schools are going to send their Aura Filled Flat Stanleys to each other for the students to scan and meet each other.

We’ve missed a lot of days because of snow the past few weeks, so if Mrs. Hyman has enough time, the next part of the assignment will be to take the Stanleys on a school adventure around Kaechele Elementary giving a tour of their favorite spots. The students will take a picture using the iPads while on the tour, and write about the school adventure. Once completed all the information and pictures will be compiled together into an eBook using Flipsnack, so both schools can see what their Flat Stanleys were up to during their visit to the host schools!

Interested in trying out Aurasma’s studio.aurasma to start creating your own Augmented Reality? Check out this Aurasma 101 Directions I made.

Check out this quick video clip showing some of the creation from the beginning of the project! So fun!

The Complete International Cookbook Project -2014

My good friend, Matt McGuire, an educator from New Brunswick, Canada, is starting up a new project called the Complete International Cookbook Project.  This will be his second edition of the cookbook.  The Complete International Cookbook project is an innovative, culturally-diverse activity where students in classrooms from all over the globe contribute recipes which may be special family traditions or part of their cultural heritage. The end result is a culturally diverse, professionally published cookbook which can be accessed, purchased, and shipped to just about anywhere in the world at a very reasonable price.

A link to his previous project is http://www.lulu.com/shop/global-students/the-complete-international-cookbook/paperback/product-15835825.html

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Profits from the sale of the cookbook will be allocated, this year, to Help Lesotho. Lesotho is a country in southern Africa. It is the third highest AIDS-populated country in the world. Help Lesotho’s Child Sponsorship program enables high school students to continue their schooling and become educated, productive members of their communities. Prohibitive high school fees mean that many students will not go beyond the primary school level.  Matt would love to help as many high school students as possible graduate with the proceeds from The International Cookbook.

Interested?  Contact Matt at Matt.McGuire@nbed.nb.ca.

How did I get here?

This guest post comes to us courtesy of Paige Badgett (@PTPIPaige), Director of the School & Classroom Program, at People to People International (PTPI).

Childhood pen pal experience comes full circle.
When I was a young girl, I saw an advertisement in a children’s magazine for a pen pal. Immediately I sent off for my very own friend across the country. Twenty years later, we are still in touch.

We exchanged letters about our favorite things, our families, our school, and our best friends. She liked horses; I liked music. She was from the South; I was from the Midwest. She liked the X-Files, and I was too scared to finish an episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark? Yet despite our differences, I discovered that she and her friends near Atlanta, Georgia were just like me and my friends in Wichita, Kansas.

Thanks to social media, I have been able to remain connected with my childhood pen pal who lived nearly 1,000 miles away. I have seen her get married, have her first child, and live a life that is still very distant from mine… yet we remain connected.

Now I have the honor of serving teachers around the world who are eager and excited to connect the students in their classroom to classes in other countries. Today, pen pals go beyond pen and paper. Students can connect via letters, as well as emails, video conferencing, conference calls, blogs, social media sites, etc. The opportunities are endless. The School & Classroom Program has linked more than 250,000 students in 128 countries for classroom partnerships.

Students in Russia prepare projects for their partner class in the United States.

Students in Russia prepare projects for their partner class in the United States.

How did I get here?
People, in general, have fascinated me since I was young. I love to listen to people’s life stories, learn about their history, and figure out what makes them tick. I started out as a child of the theater, performing and learning the art of putting yourself in another person’s shoes. Life then led me to a desire to serve others, learn about other cultures, study another language, experience life abroad, and earn a degree in psychology. Why wouldn’t I end up working for an organization called People to People International?

People to People International connects people of all countries and cultures because we believe that understanding one another is the best way to create peace. And why not start young? Our student programming is extensive – connect through your classroom, connect with your community, connect through service, and connect to the wide world through travel.

By working with extraordinary teachers around the world, I have learned they are the ones who are truly in service to the future of our world, and I am simply blessed to aid in their global education experiences. Lucky me, I get to be part of the #globaled revolution, and play a role in building so many connections and relationships! The world gets smaller and smaller, and our students become the eager ones – eager to serve, eager to learn, and eager to open their eyes to this big world at their fingertips.

To learn more about People to People International, visit their website at www.ptpi.org. Follow Paige Badgett on Twitter – @PTPIPaige. To link your own class with a partner class in another country, register for the School & Classroom Program online today at http://www.ptpi.org/community/SCP.aspx.

Making Sense of the World

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Starting at the end of November, Lisa Parisi and Donna Román will be launching a new global project called Making Sense of the World.  This project, designed for classes with children in the 8-12 age range, will entail collecting data for comparison.  We will begin with simple data, such as temperature, daylight hours, population, and move toward more detailed data, such as, favorite books, religions practiced, languages spoken.  Imagine what the children will learn about each other and themselves by comparing this data.  
We are looking for classes from all around the world.  Please do not let lack of English stop you from signing up.  We will work out the language differences with translators.  And we will help with any technology questions you might have.
 
Sign up now.  The fun is about to begin!  The website can be found here:  Making Sense of the World