New school year starts next week. All I can say is Bring.It.On
New group of students- check
New classroom arrangement- check
New flexible seating options- check
New travel experiences to incorporate into my teaching- check!
As many of you know, I am obsessed with traveling and sharing my experiences with students. This past summer, my trip to South Africa gave me new travel material to share and brought me one step closer to a personal goal of visiting all seven continents. I have now been to six of the seven continents. Antarctica might require a bit more planning (or saving) to get there, but I am determined to visit all seven continents one day.
It was a huge deal for me.
Now granted, South Africa is but one country on a very large continent, I get that, and every country in Africa are not like South Africa. But until I can get to some of the others, I can now actually talk to students with some small knowledge of Africa because guess what, I have actually been there! How cool is that?!
Each new school year, each new country I visit, I get more and more excited to teach. I can’t wait to share more with students. Show them more. And help them make their own discoveries about new places. Because with each trip somewhere new, I better understand the world around me. It’s more than just talking about countries around the world though. There are countless connections between travel and our curriculum across all subjects.
Travel experiences are more than just social studies curriculum. They are: a Peacebuilder lesson on diversity, a STEM lesson on architecture and simple machines, a math lesson telling time (what time is 13:00?), a math lesson on converting money and figuring out how many tickets cost for four friends, a science lesson on indigenous animals and habitats, a reading lessons using global folk tales, a lesson on problem solving and perseverance, an example of facing fears, and some of my favorite learning experience. I want students to see that what they learn in school matters. It is the foundation of skills they will need for the rest of their learning lives no matter where they are in the world. Not to mention learning can take place outside the classroom walls.
This year my classroom theme is going to be jumping into learning. How does one decorate for that theme you might ask? How does that connect at all to travel? Well to start, lots of jumping pictures in locations around the world. Then add in student jumping pictures, which will be fun to take in the first week, as part of a display for student learning. I love my jumping pictures because I am literally jumping with joy about being in a new place and learning new things. I want that same infectious energy for learning flowing throughout the classroom, especially as we kick off a new school year together. I want to show students that learning is exciting, interesting and sometimes even brings you places you never thought you’d go.
To help foster global lessons in everyday learning I have been developing a few things. Starting in the spring last year I started writing small informational texts about places I have traveled to (boy are they a labor of love as they have turned into quite the side project!) that I use as reading and social studies tool.
There are accompanying travel themed STEM lessons I have written for each book. For math, I took games from around the world and adapted them for the classroom. This year, I am hoping to make compile my short video clips into movies to go along with each place for a variety of subjects.
So here’s to another year of learning and travel! May the two forever be intertwined!