Global Classroom Lead Teacher Awards – Nominations now Open

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Source: Shutterstock

The Global Classroom Lead Teacher Awards provide a community based recognition of those teachers quietly working to change their classrooms and the world … with a particular interest in those who never receive official recognition for their efforts.

In a slight change from previous years, this year we are inviting nominations of global education leaders working both within, and beyond The Global Classroom Project community.

We are looking to acknowledge the quiet achievers, the risk takers, the innovators, the lead learners – who, in their own small way, are helping to create a better world. 

 

Nomination Criteria

We invite global educators to nominate their colleagues, and emerging student leaders, for a Global Classroom Lead Teacher (or Lead Student) Award. We respectfully discourage self-nominations, as these are intended to be community awards.

Nominations must provide detailed evidence of the nominee’s contribution in one or more of these areas:

  1. Teachers’ professional learning: Through blogs, twitter chats, global education conference presentations
  2. Students’ learning: through active participation in global projects
  3. Exemplary contribution to a K-12 #globalclassroom #globaled project
  4. Development of innovative global education projects which showcase new ways for teachers and students to connect, learn, share, and collaborate globally.

Please provide as MUCH detail as possible, as your nomination will be incorporated into the published comments. Nominees will be formally acknowledged at our ‘Looking Forwards, Looking Back’ webinars to be held in late July / early August 2014; and will receive a special award badge to display on their blog or website.

Nomination Form

 

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Growing Up Global – Is it changing our students? – the #globalclassroom Chats (May 10/11)

Thankyou to @beachcat11 who is helping organise the chats this month, and provided our topic.

“Men often hate each other because they fear each other;

they fear each other because they don’t know each other;

they don’t know each other because they can not communicate;

they can not communicate because they are separated.”

~~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

What do you think?

“Global Computer Networking” courtesy of cuteimage / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When I first read these words, I immediately started wondering: Our kids aren’t separated in the same way any more. So will our students’ ability to connect and collaborate on a global scale eventually help to reduce human conflicts and overcome such hate and fear? Will students who regularly communicate and form relationships with students of different cultures and lifestyles become any more tolerant and understanding than those who don’t?

Our students are clearly ‘growing up global’ in a connected world — where those of us in North America regularly chat with others already in “tomorrow”, where inspiring Korean commercials can be viewed on YouTube around the world, and global projects like the Travelling Rhino project see students in classrooms around the world all working to help solve the very same issue.

As educators create and conduct more and more new global activities and projects, and as we invite world-wide student participation and collaboration, what are we learning about the effects they are having on our students’ values and beliefs? Am I just acting on some blind belief or vague assumption that these things are good for my students?? Or is there some solid body of evidence which proves this is true? What can we do to monitor and provide evidence of what is happening as a result of these global connections — if indeed, there even is any change?!?

They say that when the astronauts sent back pictures of that first human view of Earth from space, it forever changed our collective perception of Planet Earth as “Home”. And I have to wonder: like seeing our planet from space for the very first time, will ‘growing up global’ also leave an indelible mark on the human psyche? Will growing up globally connected help to create a new generation who take it for granted that we are all one connected people who must resolve our differences to work and live together as we journey through space and time on this tiny blue planet?

As our population increases and our access to resources decreases, will growing up global and learning in a connected global classroom make any difference at all to the human ability to overcome fear and hate, and to solve problems together?

What can we do to help make it so?

There are no magic answers, no miraculous methods to overcome the problems we face, just the familiar ones:  an honest search for understanding, education, organization, and action …inspired by the hope of a brighter future.

~~Noam Chomsky

 

Discussion Questions

Please join us as we discuss these issues in our next #globalclassroom chats –  this weekend!

Q1. In what global activities have your and your students participated?

Q2. What did you hope your students would gain from participating in them? Were attitudes and beliefs are an expressed part of your goal?

Q3. Did you observe any evidence of changes in your students’ attitudes and beliefs about different cultures? If so, how?

Q4. As global educators, how can we contribute to the collective knowledge and research about the effects of connected learning?

 

Schedule

Chat 1 ~ Saturday, May 10th, 10:00 – 11:00 UTC

  • 11:00 London, 12:00 (noon) Cape Town, 15:30 New Delhi, 18:00 Perth, 20:00 Sydney, 22:00 Auckland
  • Click here to find out when this is in YOUR timezone.

Chat 2 ~ Saturday, May 10th, 18:00 – 19:00 UTC

  • 11:00 Los Angeles, 14:00 New York, 19:00 London, 20:00 Cape Town, 06:00 SUNDAY – Auckland
  • Click here to find out when this is in YOUR timezone.

Chat 3 ~ Sunday, May 11th, 01:00 – 02:00 UTC (Saturday in N & S America!)

  • Saturday night – 18:00 Los Angeles, 21:00 New York
  • Sunday – 06:30 New Dehli, 09:00 Perth, 11:00 Sydney, 13:00 Auckland
  • Click here to find out when this is in YOUR timezone.

Project Purus … A Grade 4 Student’s Perspective

This guest post comes to us courtesy of Gurtej, a Grade 4 student at Green Timbers Elementary, Surrey, BC, Canada.  It is our pleasure to share his amazing work with the international #globalclassroom community! (It was originally published on his blog here).

So the Mystery of the World Continues …

So the mystery of the world is what makes third world countries so poor? Well there is this great project named Project Purus, Project Purus is an organization that helps schools in third world country’s. They do work for people they don’t even know. Like Govinda, Garrett has never met Govinda but Garrett is still doing lots of work. By the way Govinda is the founder of SAV School in Nepal. You can visit their website here. http://savschool.wordpress.com/ . This video will get you thinking about water. Remember some people have to drink brown water. Keep that in mind. This is what I want to show you.

 http://youtu.be/v7u8ntDE8yE

What if your water looked like that? I think that Project Purus is sending a message out there in the world to leave a positive legacy. What will third world countries look like in ten years? In 20 years? Will there be third world countries in 10 or 20 years? Try to put all of that darkness away and think about it. What if you were in a third world country? What if you had to go through the obstacles in a third world country? In Nepal a water filter is 6,000 Nepal dollars. Here it is 60 dollars. Project Purus turned that gucky brown water in Nepal to clean fresh water with just this:

They changed it to fresh clean water instead of that gucky brown water with just this

They went from this

.

To this see the smiles on their faces. See how happy they are. Their smiles just light my day.

all pictures by Project Purus [https://www.facebook.com/projectpurus]

If we gave these kids the life in Canada for one day they would be the happiest kids on earth. If we went to Nepal for one minute we wouldn’t be able to handle it. All just because of we living in a first world country. How do you think these kids can handle it in a third world country? Because they have to go through these obstacles every single day of their life. We didn’t have to go through it for one minute. These kids have real courage. Don’t be jealous of these kids be happy for them. They finally got clean water. This is their first time. By the way Nepal is actually considered a fourth world country.

What do you think third world countries will be like in 10 years? Or 20 years? Will there be an effect on earth because of third world countries? See you next time. Hope you comment

Inspired By: Project Purus

Thank you for changing especially the world and me. This got me thinking about what do kids have in fourth world countries? Bye

TRUE Confessions of a “Global Classroom Teacher”!

“It is not that I’m so smart. But I stay with the questions much longer.” 
~ Albert Einstein

What follows are my TRUE confessions as a “global classroom teacher”. Oops … did I say that? I meant “reflections”! Ahh … well … maybe this will be a BIT of BOTH!

I have JUST completed my SECOND year in a “flat classroom”. What does THAT mean, you ask? Well, for the past two years, I have been FORTUNATE enough to have been BLESSED with piloting a classroom blog. It came about innocently enough … as a way of sharing the connection we made, the year prior, with an NGO working in Peru. Along with my partner Tannis Emann, who was taking her Masters, we began to delve into some of the amazing classroom learning being shared through Twitter. Suddenly, it struck us … blogging would be a PERFECT way to share our Grade Three learning journey! True confession #1 … prior to that … I had NEVER given blogging a first OR second thought. Yup, you read that right … we were SHOCKED to discover that people had been blogging with their classrooms for YEARS before we tentatively began to wade into the water. I STILL can’t believe that it took me THIS long to discover the POWER of a learning with a global audience once you have flattened your classroom walls.

Connecting and learning with the world = engagement + deep powerful learning.

Connecting and learning with the world = engagement + deep powerful learning.
Photo by Global Grade 3s

True confession #2 … it’s not always easy. This is where the “frogs” that @iEARNUSA talks about come in! Often, you have to eat a  LOT of frogs, as @iEARNUSA so aptly says! There will be problems … Skype connections won’t always work, technology will fail. Sometimes your PEOPLE connections aren’t as reliable as one would hope. These are all FANTASTIC learning opportunities for our students. I like to call it “grace under fire”! That’s not to minimize the frustrations this can create, because these issues can ALL cause angst. But, as Einstein so brilliantly stated, “It is not that I’m so smart. But I stay with the questions much longer.” With persistence, patience, passion, perseverance AND occasional perspiration, the ENTIRE adventure is absolutely worth it. I will NEVER go back to teaching alone within four walls EVER again. There, I said it. I am a complete and TOTAL advocate for blogging with children. I firmly believe that the YOUNGER they start, the SMARTER they will be … responsible, aware, safe GLOBAL citizens with a CLEAR insight into what it means to be a MEANINGFUL member of the GLOBAL community.

There are SO many incredible books out there to help you learn ABOUT the world ... learning WITH the world DEEPENS that learning. Photo by Global Grade 3s

There are SO many incredible books out there to help you learn ABOUT the world … learning WITH the world DEEPENS that learning. Photo by Global Grade 3s

After all, connecting and learning with a global audience provides both you AND your students with immediate experts in the field … it’s like a global PLN, (professional learning network), for your classroom. Who WOULDN’T want that? This global connection, whether it’s from comments left on your blog, or people you are Skyping with, can push the learning within your classroom deeper than you could have ever imagined.

True confession #3 … it’s OFTEN messy. Learning IS messy. When you pursue student questions, you connect with experts in the field, you learn … and …  INEVITABLY … you walk away with MORE questions. Talk about personalized, meaningful and engaging learning! FURTHER pursing their questions and curiosities is where the passion, enthusiasm for learning, personalization for your students and deeper understanding comes in. It’s a WIN win situation. Again … who WOULDN’T want that?!?

True confession #4 … time will ALWAYS be an issue. For us, it was finding a balance between the prescribed curriculum mandated by our Province AND pursuing, in depth, our inquiries and global “focus”. From the beginning, it was ALSO important for us to model effective skills for replying to our readers … and … this commitment gained us some faithful and INSPIRING readers who OFTEN pushed our learning even DEEPER. You would be RIGHT if you recognized that THIS commitment ALSO took time. This was truly time WELL spent! Surprisingly, although there was amazing learning shared in each of the posts, even DEEPER learning frequently occurred within the comment section through our interactions with readers!

During these two years, my students and I have been TRULY blessed to interact with and learn from the BRILLIANT Ross Mannell. Although a retired teacher, this AMAZING man frequently leaves comments for children on their classroom blogs. When I say comments, this does NOT do them justice. As a matter of fact, Ross has a SPECIAL blog he writes to provide students with EXTENDED comments. IMAGINE my students’ SURPRISE at reading this extended comment … AND receiving a VERY treasured surprise in the mail … all the WAY from AUSTRALIA! Echidnas have nothing what so EVER to do with our curriculum. But, animals and life cycles sure do, and … you should have SEEN the fingers flying on our iPads, as students conducted FURTHER research on our new echidna! The excitement in discovering MORE about our new class pet, Spike, was palpable!

A SURPRISE pet ... all the way from AUSTRALIA! Photo shared by Ross Mannell

A SURPRISE pet … all the way from AUSTRALIA!
Photo shared by Ross Mannell

Although time will always be an issue … many, MANY skills can be woven in and THROUGH each and EVERY global classroom  and blog post experience. For us, having a global audience … an AUTHENTIC audience … increased our skills AND our desire to write. It was THRILLING to see students begin to develop their voices … and slowly gain command of “reeling the reader in”! Although our blog has primarily focused on issues in Social Studies … Ross has helped us to delve even DEEPER into some of our SCIENCE and MATH curriculum. I am SURE that, because of his thoughtful and detailed replies to us,  SOME of these bloggers may EVEN become GEOLOGISTS!

Scree samples from New Zealand ... thanks to Ross!

Scree samples from New Zealand … thanks to Ross!

True confession #5 … it is SO worth it. If you haven’t tried blogging with your students … do! I have NEVER looked back. Instead … I look FORWARD, in GREAT anticipation of where this journey will lead us.

It is NEVER too late to connect your classroom globally. Go on ... GIVE it a try! Photo shared by Global Grade 3

It is NEVER too late to connect your classroom globally. Go on … GIVE it a try! Photo shared by Global Grade 3

I wonder:

  • what is one of the most POWERFUL lessons you’ve learned through blogging with your students?
  • what are some of YOUR true confessions as a result of becoming a “global classroom teacher”?
  • what advice would you give to someone THINKING about flattening the walls of their classroom?

This blog post has been cross-posted on my professional blog: Professional Ponderings of a Lerd.

The Travelling Scrapbook Project

Cross-posted from my personal blog – mgraffin.edublogs.org. Originally published May 2013.

A little over a year ago, I woke up in the middle of the night with an idea … What if we could create a physical artefact of global collaboration? What if we could create something to demonstrate the power of global connections with our schools, communities, and the world?

Photo 17-05-13 2 42 45 PM

And thus, the travelling scrapbook project was born. 

Since March 2012, I’ve coordinated the extraordinary journeys of three #globalclassroom scrapbooks around the world.

As of May 2013, the scrapbooks have been hosted by 16 teachers, in 10 countries; and travelled in excess of 122 400 km (76 055 miles) – which is equivalent to circumnavigating the globe THREE times!

Our participant students and teachers around the world have embraced the opportunity to share a little of their lives, cultures, schools, and countries with the wider global community; and their contributions to our travelling scrapbooks are a true testament to the power of global collaboration.

Photo 17-05-13 2 43 45 PM

One journey is coming to an end

Scrapbook #2 came home last week.

It bears the stains and wear and tear that you’d expect from a document which has travelled well over 47 563 km (29 554 miles) over the past year. It’s been to Brasil, Guatemala, … was lost in Honduras, … Texas, and New York City (USA). It’s been shared with children around the world, and its journey is coming to an end.

It’s hard to describe what its like to hold this document in your hands … It’s the embodiment of a dream … made reality through the efforts of teachers and students who’ve I’ve yet to meet face to face. The stories, the photos, the sketches … make this a unique, and very special physical artefact of global collaboration.

Sadly #2 is in no condition to continue on its’ global travels through the mail system, but there is one last trip in store … It will travel (in my suitcase) to the iEARN 2013 conference in Doha, Qatar … in just over two weeks time, where I’ll be presenting on the Travelling Scrapbook Project, and launching a new spin-off iEARN scrapbook project.

Photo 17-05-13 2 56 41 PM

But, the journey continues

The Global Classroom Travelling Scrapbooks have become a unique, special part of the #globalclassroom community, and the remaining scrapbooks will continue on their travels for some years to come.

I’m planning the introduction of at least two new books in the coming months, so I’m looking forward to seeing this project evolve and develop over time.

I’d love to have scrapbooks touring Europe and the Middle East, … and I’m now starting to wonder if we can get the scrapbooks to travel more than half a million kilometres?

It might take a few years, but let’s see …

 Photo 17-05-13 2 57 08 PM

Writing a book with my students!

Background

After eight years of teaching in a technology driven high school and after attending workshops, seminars and conferences worldwide, I thought it was bout time I challenged both my astudents and myself.

I wanted to see if it was possible to find a project that could engage every student in my 11th grade class of English learners and see if we all could work together as a team. Most of all, I wanted to see if they could produce an end product that would be authentic and involve collaboration with educators and students globally.

My thoughts on engagement

Every educator wants to experience the moment of “flow” when all the goals are set and understood and work is moving along easily and naturally. When we read about engaging students in the classroom using technology and social media, authors often leave us with the impression that this work will flow gentle as a stream. When talking about motivation and learning in school, grit is most often left out of the conversation. Yet, according to Daniel Pink, the best predictor of success is grit, defined as perseverance and passion for long term goals.

Our published book proves that when you find the right project — one that really involves all the students — they can find the grit and do what it takes to reach the final objective.

And here’s an interesting fact: The most popular topic to write about in this book turned out to be motivation. It is ironic that motivation and innovation are topics we discuss on almost every level in education, from policy makers and educational experts to school leaders and teachers. We are simply missing the most important link here — we do not spend enough time discussing this with our students. My students’ reflections in this book show us that we should spend a lot more time discussing important topics like motivation, learning, pedagogy and technology with them. In this book, we provide many great examples and discussion topics to get us started.

I am very happy to say that we have managed to write a book thatbook cover 2 we think will be helpful for teachers all over the world. It explains how to set up your classroom to get you started. It shows how teachers and students can set up blogs, make a Twitter account, use Skype in education and connect with others. I think more teachers should try to open up their classrooms to all the possibility we have with the use of technology!

Our publication of the 200-plus page collaborative book Connected Learners: A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Global Classroom.As our press release says, this interactive eBook is

a unique compendium of stories, advice and how-to articles designed to help high school teachers and their students around the globe shift from classrooms that are isolated and teacher-centered to digitally rich environments where learning is student-driven and constantly connected to the global internet.

There are many books on the topic “learning in the 21st century,” and I think I have read most of them. The authors are educators and educational experts I know and admire. Many write about what students want and how students learn. What occurred to me was that there are no books about this topic written by students.

Let’s listen to the students! Want to buy the book? Click on the picture of the book. We are saving up for a field trip and would love to visit one of the schools we have been collaborating with! Text previously posted at Powerful Learning Practice . See full text here: 

Asking Better Questions … Helping Change Perspectives

This is a guest post from #globalclassroom teacher @LParisi. Lisa blogs at http://thelisaparisi.com, and this post was originally published here.  

Photo shared by the Global Grade 3s.

I belong to an amazing group called The Global Classroom Project.  I love this group.  The teachers have fabulous ideas, talk about the ups and downs of global connections, and seek out collaborators.  If you haven’t looked at the site, you must check it out.

Recently, a blog was posted by Michael Graffin as a reposting of a blog created by a student in Honduras. The class had just completed a mystery skype call, and this student was discussing the awkward, nearly offensive questions asked by the mystery class, which turned out to be in Texas. The two questions in point: “Do you guys use cell phones?” and “How does your house look like?”  You can read her blog to see her view about these questions.

This started a conversation in the Google group about being careful how we communicate with each other and what questions we ask.  So I just want to put in my two cents on the subject.  (You should note that I already talked online with Michael about my response. He, as usual, invites conversation.)

My purpose for Going Global with my class is an idealistic one.  I hope that my kids do a better job than we have.  I want them to understand, accept, and connect with others, regardless of language, religion, race, gender, etc.  I want them to learn that we are all people, deserving of respect and consideration.  And I want them to remember this when it comes time to work with others, have discussions with others, argue with others.  We are all people!

When I was growing up, in the 60s, we were just starting to talk about differences as positive.  “Be yourself.”    “Love who you are and love the one you’re with.”  But, along with loving each other, I was taught not to insult anyone.  And it was insulting to stare, to ask questions, to recognize differences.  So we never even looked at each other.  Really.  If a person of color walked into the restaurant where I was eating, in my very white neighborhood, everyone would look away.  To make eye contact might indicate that you were afraid of them or didn’t want them there.  So, in order to show our respect, we just didn’t look.  Strange but true.  I wasn’t taught to do this.  It was modeled for me.

Did this work?  Of course not.  I learned that people are different and deserve different treatment from one another.  Poor and rich, black and white, abled and disabled.  Labels were important.  They defined for us how to act and how to treat each other.

But I have grown up.  I have learned that this is not the way.  And I have taken it upon myself to model differently for my students and my own child.  I ask questions.  I talk about clothing, jewelry, political beliefs, religious practices.  I ask questions.  And I keep talking.  And I make eye contact.  And I smile.  And I invite people to sit down with me.  And I make plans to go to dinner, the movies, a book club.  And I ask questions.

My students recently did a Mystery Skype call with a class in Texas.  Once we figured out the states we came from, the questions started flying.  They thought we were all gangsters (New Yorkers are usually depicted that way).  We thought they were all cowboys.  After finding out the truth was quite the opposite, we laughed about our misconceptions.

What did we learn?  That Texan students like the same music we do, watch the same movies and tv shows, and shop at the same stores.  Hmmm.  Not so different.  The accents were certainly different but not much else was.  And my students now have a new understanding of Texans and other Southerners.

I work in a very multicultural climate.  We often have conversations about similarities with our religious rituals, our family dinners, and our weekend responsibilities.  We are so different and yet so similar. I don’t ever want my students to stop asking questions.  Eventually, their questions will get more mature, less “insulting”.  And, maybe someday, they won’t need to ask questions about each other.  They will just accept and understand.

What do you think?