What an amazing trip through Spain! With each country I visit it still surprises me how many new things there are to learn about different cultures.
The possibilities are endless for incorporating all that I learned and experienced back into my classroom, but I have come up with a few favorites that are fool proof in getting students engaged and excited about learning.
Student Treasures– After each trip when I return home I have students create a class book compiling all they have learned. These class books have come a long way from the word document pages gathered together with the book maker in the teacher workroom. A few years back the aide working in my classroom stumbled across the company Student Treasures, and I have been hooked ever since. I now send away for the book kit before my travels knowing we will work to create a class book using them when I return. I have tried out simple student writings of their favorite facts, a mini chapter book style directing student writing and alphabet books with facts from the country studied. Each year is different but the results are the same; a student created product that are cherished and purchased by students and teachers alike!
Spain Research Books- Students this year created their own research book all about Spain. We set them up before my visit and students used them to collect some information while I was away. These student created books will serve as a jumping off point for organizing ideas and writing for our class book. Included in their books are: a vocabulary page, information about a day in the life of a Spanish student, fun facts, and pages for writing a first draft for the class book.
Kidblog– Blogging is a constant in my classroom. As I have mentioned in previous posts I can’t imagine teaching without blogging! We live in a tech savvy world where students at times know more than I do about navigating the latest tech gadgets, tools, apps and websites. By blogging with students throughout the entire traveling process I hook reluctant writers, reach students in my current class as well as years of previous students and introduce students to a global world.
iMovie– After a successful project on DonorsChoose.org last year, I found my classroom launched into the 21st century with the addition of 4 iPad minis. iMovie quickly became a teacher/student favorite tool to demonstrate learning. Students collaborated together to create videos informing people about Costa Rica (my last educator trip). They were the actors, videographers, producers and editors of their movies. Armed with their classroom research, a rubric, and some guidelines of what they needed to include, students created some pretty impressive products.
Brochure- A classic teacher favorite I have used brochures in the past to have my students demonstrate what they have learned about a few of the places I have traveled to. What I love best about this particular project is that it can incorporates student nonfiction writing, illustrations and allows students to focus on one region or one particular place to concentrate their research.
Animal Adaptation Projects- In 3rd grade in Marshfield, where I teach, students learn about animal adaptations in science. Each year students select an animal, conduct research and then create some kind of end product (display board, diorama, or model) paired with a multi paragraph paper to demonstrate their learning. I have made an effort to dovetail this requirement with any traveling I have done, conducting my own research, gathering information about different animals native to the countries I will visit that year. Over the years I have amassed information, links, books, videos and other resources to share with students for animals found in the Amazon Rainforest, Galapagos Islands, Costa Rica Rainforests, Thailand and now Spain.
Possibilities for projects are endless! It doesn’t matter where you travel to, what your curriculum covers, integrating global learning into teaching is always possible. Traveling abroad is the best thing any teacher could do for their students. Not only does it push you outside of your comfort zone, it teaches you things you just can not learn by reading a book or watching a video. It opens students’ eyes to the world beyond them and inspires many to travel the world like you do.