I couldn’t be more excited about the story in student’s anthology this past week called, Schools Around the World. I mean could there have been a more perfect story for me to talk about?! This week has given me a chance to share with students my travels and visits to schools around the world. Sharing my experiences went perfectly with the text.
Students started the week by listening to the story online and answering a few questions on our classroom blog. Later in the day we talked about some of the things they learned in the story and how that connected to schools I had seen.
To start I shared with students a few schools in Peru. I showed pictures of the schools, students and teachers we met during our visit. Students asked questions and made lots of great observations. They noticed similarities and differences between the schools and students in the pictures and our school. For students the most striking difference between the Peruvian school and DWS were the limited supplies they had. Many students couldn’t believe they had no computers or a copy machine or many of the things we use everyday. My favorite comment though came from a student as we walked to the buses at the end of the day. She turned to me and said, “Ms. White we are really lucky to have all this stuff at school, those other schools didn’t have anything”. Now that is the power of travel!
Other schools I shared with students were from Ecuador, Thailand, Costa Rica and Spain over the rest of the week. This is one of the biggest reasons I love to travel, to share my experiences with students! When I saw what the story of the week was all I could think was, this is so perfect. Another chance to open student’s eyes to a world beyond what they know. When I share my travel experiences I hope it encourages my students to want to travel one day too. There is so much to learn, see and do outside the classroom walls if you are just willing to get up and go.
As an educator I think it is empowering to share with students beyond a text. The things students read about might interest them, but to be able to make a personal connection or share first hand experiences through stories, artifacts, pictures and videos can be more powerful than just reading a story. It makes learning come alive and can have a long lasting impact on students. I think it is important for teachers to be well traveled, to experience other cultures and try new things. It gives teachers a better understanding of the world we live in. First hand knowledge of places and the important sites and landmarks found in those places, is in my opinion, one of the most powerful teaching tools we can use with students.