With holiday break finally upon me, I have time to sit down and gather more information about my next trip to Spain to present to my students. We have had a few meetings at this point where we learned some general information about Spain. At one meeting we were lucky enough to have Maura Bulman, the Foreign Language Department Head from Marshfield Public Schools, come and speak to us. She was wonderful, sharing her wealth of knowledge after years of travel and experiences in Spain.
For our upcoming and final meeting before our trip, we will focus on transferring what we have learned so far, into lessons for students in the classroom. Over my years of travel, I have come across some great resources, that are my now go to places for elementary students to learn about a variety of countries. I have also had the chance to try out several different types of projects, activities and lessons to synthesize learning in a meaningful way, all while aligning to the new Common Core Standards. At our next meeting I will share these different resources, projects and lessons with my fellow teachers. Hopefully it will give them the tools they need to energize students, get them excited to learn more about a new place, but most importantly, give teachers a jumping off point to create amazing lessons for their own classrooms.
Here are a few of my favorite resources for engaging students in global learning!
Kidblog– When I took my first trip I was forced to blog with my students while I was away and I couldn’t be happier about it now! My blog of 5 years has now amassed a wealth of posts, links, pictures, videos and anything else you can imagine, not only for travel but for all subjects! I can’t imagine teaching without blogging!
Time for Kids– I love using this site for kids to explore what life is like in another country. Paired with a teacher made (hard copy) reading guide or questions on the blog to answer about different pages found on the site, students are off and running. It is important to set a purpose for reading to help maximize student learning.
National Geographic Kids– Another wonderful site geared for elementary students to learn about countries around the world. I have used this site paired with teacher created questions or a reading guide for several countries I have traveled to.
Magic Tree House Fact Tracker Books– Many times when I am visiting a country there is either a specific place, like the Amazon Rainforest, or a sport, like soccer, that students can research to learn more about. Magic Tree House Fact Tracer Books are an excellent nonfiction resource for students.
TeacherTube– Videos are a great way to capture students attention and present information to them, but YouTube is not always the right place to look for material. TeacherTube is a great alternative geared for educators to find videos that are classroom ready.
Kids World Travel Guide– A new website to me, what I love best about this site is that it is written from the perspective of kids! The information presented on the site is all geared towards kids because it is written by kids, for kids.
Insight Travel Guides– There are so many different travel guides out there to choose from. What has drawn me to Insight Travel Guides are the beautiful pictures and excellent information! Although the reading in this guide is a bit above my 3rd grade students, it is the perfect resource for me as a teacher. Before leaving for a trip, I read about the different places on our itinerary to gain some background knowledge. While I am on our trip I take this book along so I can look up facts, refresh my memory after a long day of touring, and help me write my blogs to students. These books have become an invaluable part of traveling.
I hope these resources inspire global learning research in your own classroom!