Tag Archives: iEARN

Hero in the Mirror

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As happens frequently, I started a moderately small project called My Hero through iEARN, an organization that I love.  As I crafted it into my flavor of Project-based Learning unit, I wanted to end with my learners seeing how they themselves are heroes, and that who they are in this world really matters.  So, of course that reminded me of my lovely friend, Joan Steffend, who is the founder of peace begins with me (a small BIG peace project).  And so it begins.

Other classes in my district jumped on, and everyday heroes started coming out of the woodwork to talk to our classes about their ‘inner hero’. Our website for the project includes a VoiceThread on the homepage that allows anyone to stop by and record their voice and tell us what their super hero power is.  Joan Joandescribes, “I’d love if you’d go to this website and record your thoughts on what you are passionate about…what you do every day…why being a caring, thoughtful person is important to the world, why it’s important for kids to believe in the power of their own actions and thoughts…why hero is a word we may have to add a new definition for…how what we do in our individual lives matters, you get the idea! You don’t have to answer all of those, I’m just priming your pump to get you started! If you’d start with your name, location, and maybe what you do for a living, that’d be great! Much love!”

I have no idea where we will end up, but so far I know that the kids involved will be the very lucky recipients of some amazing heroes among us. Watch for updates!

Please stop by our site and record your voice! It’s easy. The directions on the homepage

Off and Running in a Technology Infused, Project-based Learning Classroom!

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Month one: hold on, here we go!

Camp! We returned from our three-day Outdoor Education trip in Wisconsin on Friday, so of course we started talking, writing and then blogging about Camp Timber-lee. Such enthusiasm and detail! Wow…sure pays to find something kids want to write about rather than forcing contrived prompts they don’t connect with.

We started our first Project-based Learning unit with Mrs. Parisi’s class in Long Island, The Denton DynamosUS Government: integrating reading, writing, history, and current events by studying some significant US laws. Students will trace laws back through time by reading and comparing electronic and paper sources. They are in teams of eight, four from the Dynamos and four from our class.  So far we’ve had two joint Skype lessons, and we begin collaborative research in Google Docs on Monday.

Today we meet the Wilderness Classroom team on Google Hangout before they head out on their journey. We will follow Amy Freeman and a team of geologists from UC Berkeley and MIT as they camp, canoe, hike, bike, and dogsled around the world to provide interactive classroom lessons. Here’s their itinerary.

  • Understand how the Slate Islands were formed.
    (September 2013) 
  • Explore the Boreal Forest by dogsled this winter and study a variety of topics including; weather, geology and erosion, watersheds, predator-prey relationships, wolves, the night sky, the physics of dogsledding, Ojibwa culture, Expedition ABC’s, and much more. (January – March 2014)
  • Explore the Amazon Rainforest. Join us as we follow in the footsteps of Theodore Roosevelt!
    (April – June 2014)

Then there is iEARN, (International Education and Resource Network )…where their motto is “Learning with the world, not just about it.” We will be joining a Learning Circle with classrooms around the world to engage and collaborate in the My Hero Project.

The 100 World Challenge! I’ve written about it before, so click the link for more information. The kids love this weekly challenge, and it really helps develop word choice.

Lastly math. Our district is currently in the process of adapting our math instruction to meet the Common Core Standards. The infusion of MangahighLearnZillion, and Khanacademy  have really helped with re-teaching while allowing me to get quick snapshots of who is getting it and who needs more support. This instant feedback is critical to my teaching as I reflect and adapt to meet the kids where they are. We’re taking our time to make sure the train isn’t going with no one on!

As I add tech tools to my students’ repertoire, I add them to our  Symbaloo page. They have access to this wherever they are. This site will grow and change as we go.

All in all, a great start to the year!

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I almost forgot! Our class song:)

You Can’t Have a World Class Education Without the World

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Bring the world into your classroom.

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The Real Value of Connecting All Schools

The Real Value of Connecting All Schools

This is  an excellent article in Education Week

A couple quotes:

“I have seen study abroad experiences change the lives of many students in our International Studies Schools Network. The new Connect All Schools consortium has a very specific goal: to connect every school in the US with the world by 2016. Travel is one way they are doing this and here David Potter, Chief Development Officer, iEARN-USA, explains why.”

“It is unimaginably hard to do this,” Wallace adds, “to stay conscious and alive in the adult world day in and day out.” It is difficult for educators in the day in and day out of teaching, testing, and trying out new technologies to commit their students to a collaboration with We need an empathetic, globally aware citizenry capable of working with their counterparts in other countries to meet the economic and geopolitical challenges of this century.”

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Lesson For All

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Originally posted on iEARN-USA

The Lesson for All is a set of two units focused on the right of education and the barriers that youth around the world experience when trying to access that right. Written by teacher Donna Román, each unit (K-3 and 4-6) has four lessons with multimedia, discussion and modes of assessment. Each lesson is mapped to the Common Core State Standards and the Global Competence Matrix

When Dr. Gragert asked if I would be interested in working on a project he was involved with, I didn’t hesitate. He is a man that I have respected and admired during his leadership as the Executive Director for iEARN, and although I wasn’t familiar with The Global Campaign for Education, United States, I jumped in with both feet.

As I wrote The Lesson For All units, I began to understand the gravity of this issue. What I learned gave me faith in us as human beings. It gave me hope in a more peaceful planet. It brought me fear for girls and women of our world. It pulled me through sadness and grief for lives unable to be fulfilled. But mostly, it filled me with pride to see what we as global leaders, educators, and caring citizens are doing to make this a more stable and humane place for all people of our ever-smaller world.

Here are a few facts to get you thinking:

  • In 1959, the United Nations adopted the Declaration of the Rights of a Child, giving children the right of a free education, among other things.
  • In 2000, the United Nations developed The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). They are the world’s biggest promise – a global agreement to reduce poverty and human deprivation at historically unprecedented rates through collaborative action by the year 2015. Universal free primary education is among the goals.
  • Significant progress has been made toward the MDGs but has stalled in some areas of the world.

Universal education is an issue that affects all of us on this small planet, and it is one that cannot be ignored as caring and pragmatic human beings. I hope that you too find what is real and possible in your corner of the world as you work through these units with your own classroom.

I will let my class of 10-11 year old students tell you what they thought:

“The United Nations has set a goal of an Education For All by 2015. Well that’s sort of a problem for it already being 2013. I think what needs to happen is to look more closely at the research of places that need the most help.” ~Sophia

“When looking for the reasons some kids are not in school, we have to stop and ask some questions.” ~ Kaylee

“If you didn’t go to school you would feel powerless.”  ~Ian

“When people feel powerless and less protected, they join gangs so they can feel powerful. That’s why some wars start.” ~Ally

“We should educate all kids by not ranking people and thinking that boys need an education more than girls.” ~Kate

“I think education should be free because many families do not have money. Some people have to spend their life in a dump looking for scraps to sell and for food.” ~Justin

“No child deserves to live in a dump.” ~Savion

“THANK YOU SO MUCH UNITED NATIONS!!!!!!” ~Ethan

“An education is a wonderful thing to have, because the place won’t have poverty, people won’t think that they are powerless, everyone will have a stable life, the environment will be good, and the spread of disease will stop.” ~Megha

“So far they are getting way more kids in school than they were in 2000, but there are still millions of kids not in school.” ~Griffin

“I think the goal is possible, actually I know it is possible, but it will be hard work. Some people are stepping up to help. These people are life savers. I hope more people will feel to help. I really hope this goal comes true. The world needs it, and the suffering kids need it to happen ” ~Ally

“Together, everyone can make a difference” ~Griffin

Click here to find the Lesson For All to use in your classroom.

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Shabby Teddy Bears

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It’s iEARN‘s (International Education and Resource Network) 25th anniversary, and I reblogged a post by David Potter that highlighted their Teddy Bear exchange project. In short, schools across the world send each other a teddy bear in the mail, and each class documents the bear’s experience.  When the bear’s vacation is over, they send it back home so the class can learn about life in the other country.  I had some great comments on that post, but this one really stuck with me. It’s from a teacher in Japan:

“Hi Donna,
One time, a Teddy came back to the school , but white body was turned grey and shabby. Children got shocked. Then the teacher said “Children, you can find how much our Teddy was hugged and kissed by your partner friends”. I love this story.
When I first attended iEARN Conference in Hungary in 1996, it was Teddy Bear presentation by Bob (Australia) which took my heart.
Yoko, Japan”

Such a great project, and a great organization.

Original photo found here

 

iEARN at 25. Going Strong with Teddy Bears in the Front!

Although we have participated in iEARN projects before, for the first time, a class in our school, Mill Creek Elementary in Geneva, IL, USA, participated in the Teddy Bear Project through iEARN. It’s been great hearing about their exchange with Wen Ya Elementary in Taiwan.

 

What a great organization. There are many global collaborative education organizations out there now, but iEARN…well, they were the true cutting edge for us all. They have only become stronger in their numbers, larger in their geographic reach and curriculum scope, and more influential during their 25 years. Lucky for all of us, they have retained all of their professional generosity, humanity and incredible inclusiveness. They are true leaders in every possible way. Happy 25th iEARN! I’m proud to be among your many admirers and participant teachers.

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We’re celebrating our furry friends today, and invite you to join our Teddy Bear Picnic. The iEARN Teddy Bear Project has been a favorite of hundreds of thousands of teachers and students in more than 8,000 schools worldwide since 1996, and we’re spending the day sharing stories, images, and the joy of global collaboration in one of its most huggable forms.

Congratulations to all participating schools worldwide, and a big thank you to the current Teddy Bear Project Facilitators Rasagnya Puppala and Fumi (Bee) Ito in Japan, for all their bear care.






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