3 Easy Ways to Make Global Connections with Students

#EdublogsClub Prompt 7 – The Listicle

Becoming a global educator is very important in today’s society.  Even the youngest children can benefit from making global connections but many teachers have no idea how to get started.  Here are some easy ways to make that happen.

  • Make Connections with Blogs – Blogging is an easy way for students to get connected with other classrooms around the world.  Two of my favorite websites to use for that are “The 100 Word Challenge” and the “Student Blogging Challenge.”  Each challenge has a weekly writing prompt to give the children a topic to write about and each encourages the participants to leave comments for others.  Both of these challenges are rich with international participants which provide my students the opportunity to get into conversations with children around the world.
  • Video Conferencing – Using Skype and Google Hangouts to speak with other classrooms is a big thrill for my students.  Not only are we learning about others around the world, but the children are learning the 21st century skills of asking and answering questions.  Our favorite type is the Mystery Location where the children ask questions to figure out the location of the other school.  We’ve also done video conferences with scientists studying penguins in Antarctica, a marine biologist who works with sharks in Bimini and several authors.  One of the best places to get started finding partners is Microsoft Education’s Skype in the Classroom website.  If you’d like more information about how to go about doing a Mystery Location Skype, you can read the guest blog post I wrote a few years ago on Corkboard Connections which is linked to the photo below. 
  • Global Projects – Another way to make global connections is to take part in an organized global project.  Here are a few of my favorites.
    • The Global Read Aloud is a global project centered around the love of a good book.  This project kicks off in October.  You make connections with another class and then discuss the book as each teacher reads it aloud.
    • Projects by Jen is a sight that runs several projects throughout the year.  Our favorite is the OREO Project that runs in September.
    • The Peace Crane Project is a project that stems from International Peace Day in September but it runs all year long.  Participants each fold paper cranes with messages of peace and send them to the other school.
    • If you are looking for a more intense project, try a Flat Connections Project.  There are different projects for children ages K-12.  Each project lasts for about 12 weeks and they are rich with international participants.  Julie Lindsay and her project managers run an awesome support system for participants.  This project got me started and made me the global educator that I am today.
    • My students are just getting started in a global project called If You Learned Here.  In this project the participants create a global eBook and use it to ask and answer questions about school and life in other classrooms.

Don’t be afraid to take the plunge and become a global educator!  Trust me, once you give it a try, you will never go back.  You will see the excitement and learning opportunities for your students and realize that it’s easy, fun and totally worth it.

6 thoughts on “3 Easy Ways to Make Global Connections with Students

  1. You are inspiring me to try and do a Mystery Skype with another class. I was thinking of my fourth grade class because we study regions of the US. It would be very interesting to SKYPE with a class in each region as we study that region. I just have to consider the time zones. Wish me luck!
    Thanks for sharing!

    • Yes, that would be a great use of Skype! I noticed from your email address that we are practically neighbors as I teach at St. Ignatius. Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions! Thanks for the comment!
      Tina

  2. Hi Tina. Great blog Interesting to read that it was Julie Lindsay who inspired u with global projects. I’m currently the project manager for her AWL project. Very exciting we have 8 schools 21 teachers 500 students spread around the world! But it was u Tina who originally inspired me through your global classroom pen pals project. Haven’t looked back since but just wonder why every teacher isn’t a global educator – so many benefits for kids. Good fun for teachers too!

    • Hi Christine,
      I love the AWL projects and was once a lead teacher myself! I’m glad that my project helped you to get started. I will have to keep an eye out for your global poetry project for next year. Thanks for the comment!
      Tina

  3. Hi Tina,

    Great blog! I really love the idea of of making global connections in the classroom. It’s a great way for student to share and build their knowledge. I’m wondering if you ever deal with situations where perhaps students are reluctant to engage in video conferencing. Perhaps they are too shy to engage in discourse with other peers, how would you address this issue?

    Best,

    Liisa

    • Hi Lisa,
      Thanks for the comment! I know that some teachers assign students jobs during a Mystery Skype. They could be the people who ask or answer the questions, or the ones who take notes. Other jobs are the think tanks or the runners who bring the questions to the askers. I only assign the job of note takers and let the children take turns asking and answering questions. The students volunteer when they have a question to ask. This year I do have some students who are a bit shy. In the beginning of the year, I did not force them to ask any questions, but now that we have done a lot and they are use to the format, I do sometimes put them on the spot and force them to come up and ask one to give them practice. After we guess the state during a Mystery Skype, we like to share facts about our state with the other school. I put the students into pairs and they created posters of info to share like our population and nickname, state symbols, famous places and famous people born in our state, etc. The students take turns showing the poster and reading the information so they all get practice speaking during the video conference every once in a while. I was very shy growing up so I am sensitive to shy students, however, I feel that they still need to be pushed out of their comfort zone once in a while to try it and get some practice with this important life skill.
      Tina

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