Peace Building Through Global Connections

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During my planning phase for semester two, I came across the Global Education website. This great website has units that focus on global issues and links them to the Australian Curriculum. I found a unit called Peace Building which suited my age level and was a topic I’m passionate about. However, I wanted to connect my students with other students so I began a looking on the web to find a project that we could join that would facilitate this. I found the Peace Crane Project and Pinwheels for Peace.
The Peace Crane Project asks that you create an origami crane using a piece of paper that has a peace poem written on one side and a peace illustration on the other. These cranes are then displayed on International Peace Day or you can exchange them with another school. I clicked on the exchange button and was contacted by a teacher in Smolenskoye, Siberia. This was very exciting and I was able to email my exchange partner and we agreed to try and continue the exchange through snail mail and through Skype. The tyranny of longitudinal distance can play havoc with Western Australian schools as we are often too early or too late to Skype but Siberia is only a few hours difference.

I also Tweeted this information on Twitter and Karen Stadler contacted me and said that her school had also joined this project. I also happen to notice as I was scrolling through the Peace Crane Exchange partners that another Twitter colleague, Melvina Kurashige had also joined. I sent a tweet to Karen and Melvina highlighting this fact and after a tweet storm between us a blog was created where all three schools could share their Peace Crane work. Please take time to visit and add your message for peace on the wall and see our work in progress. You can find us here.
Since it’s creation on August 28th, we have had two other schools join us!
Once again I am in awe of the power of Twitter and global projects to connect educators and lead to real opportunities for our students.
I am so excited to be part of this community and with International Peace Day just around the corner, I hope that you too will reach out the hand of friendship.

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Having a go at global projects.

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It is amazing how a small leap of faith can result in opportunities that were inconceivable before.My Year 4 ICT class is doing a unit on peace and I recently joined the Peace Crane Project to provide the students with an opportunity to celebrate International Peace Day on September 21st. When signing up to the project it asked if you wanted to be part of a classroom exchange. I ticked the box as I’m always happy to make connections. Within 24 hours I had received an email from a teacher in Siberia, asking if we wanted to exchange with them. When I replied that we would love to (Siberia! How exciting!) she asked whether we would be open to extra exchanges like swapping drawings, having a Skype session (we are only 2 and a half hours apart time wise) and generally learn about each other’s environments. What a thrill! Isn’t this what peace is about? To learn and understand each other. These children will never see the world the same again. The students are learning about biomes with their classroom teacher and when I showed them where the school was they were able to identify that the region was tundra.

I am so excited to be part of this experience and it all started by looking for a way to participate in a global project.
If you want to try a global project, you can go to The Global Classroom Project 2013-2014. This is a fabulous community to be part of with great projects.

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Reflection on the term so far – Part 2

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Image courtesy of M-Pics/Freedigitalphotos.net

 

Last year, I started a Surfing history unit for the upper school and am now reteaching it to the current year 6 class. I like to add local content to my lessons wherever I can and our school is in an international surfing destination and many of the students surf. This term there was also an International Surfing Contenst run here. I find that many students are surprised to find out how recently international surfing came to our town.

We are learning note-taking skills using digital, online (websites and class blog) and paper sources. We have written a biography on Duke Kahanamoku. We are also creating a timeline using Excel and soon they will be taking on an individual research project. Choices include women in surfing, surfing offshoots like kite-surfing, the dangers of surfing and the future of surfing.

We created Movie Maker presentations last year but this year the class have access to 7 iPads and I am thinking about how we can use them to create the presentations. I am on a steep learning curve but am relying on the skills the students already have to teach me.

The Year 6’s have a class blog which their teacher uses on a daily basis to put up reminders, notes and links to information and websites that will help the students during the week. I have also included links to my lessons and have found that if I take the time to add content the students are more prepared for my lessons.

Next term the classroom teacher is considering using Edmodo as well and as this class were one of two classes I used Edmodo with last year, she need only do a basic run through and the students will be up and running with it. There are many benefits to using Edmodo including the ability to submit assignments.
Great Wall of China</a Image Courtesy of Cescassawin/freedigitalphotos.net
We are one of a few Catholic schools left in Western Australia who have Year 7’s. This year I thought I would tackle an Ancient History unit linked to the Australian Curriculum. I chose Ancient China. So far we have watched a segment of the Disney movie, Mulan and compared it to the story of Mulan and considered what features of Ancient Chinese Culture had Disney kept. We did a geography lesson and learnt about the natural barriers in Ancient China that were instrumental in developing Chinese culture. We have been learning about the various dynasties, some of the main characters and now they are involved in a Silk Road Board Game group project. It would be amazing if I had the ability to get the students to create an online game but it is beyond me at the moment. However, it is certainly something to strive for next year.

Here is a slideshow of today’s lesson.

Although we don’t have middle and upper primary “library lessons” here at school, our dedicated IT time is about 100 minutes which gives me plenty of time to develop the skills that would normally be classified as library lessons.

Next semester I will be focussing more on literature and am hoping to explore QR codes to deepen the engagement with the books in our library. I would like to try book trailers and will probably hold another event in the library like last year.