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.

Favorite Free Web Tool – Wizer.me

Last month I signed up to take part in the #EdublogsClub – a weekly writing club for educators to blog about a different topic each week. I’ve been so busy that they are on prompt 5 and I am just having time to get started. This week’s theme is to share your favorite free web tools and I’m happy to provide my thoughts on this topic.

Online Worksheet GeneratorWizer.me  Our school is is a GAFE school and the students are 1:1 with chromebooks.  We are trying to get away from running off paper and doing more work online.  However, there are often times when I’d like my 3rd grade students to have a bit more practice in something that we are learning.  With Wizer.me, I can create a digital worksheet for my students to complete.  Once I log in, I select a theme and decide what type of question I need from a wide variety of choices which are listed below.  Some questions also offer an option for students to leave a voice recorded message instead of a typed answer.

Once I choose my question format, it is very easy to write up the questions.  At the same time I write the questions, I can also input the answers so the test will be self marking, or I can leave them open ended to review myself.  When I have completed the test, I save it.  Here is an example of one section of a Science worksheet that I recently made.

My next step is to assign the worksheet to my students.  There are several different ways to assign the worksheet using Google Classroom, Edmodo, a private link, a pin number or an embed code.

I usually assign the worksheet via Google Classroom.  At home my students log into their Google Classroom account and click on the link to view and complete the worksheet.  When they finish they hit the “Hand in Work” button at the bottom.  Then next day I log into my teacher account on Wizer.me and I can view each individual worksheet that a student has submitted to see how many they got correct or incorrect.

My students enjoy this format of homework much more then doing a paper worksheet.  They love using technology so this is fun to them.  I enjoy the fact that they are reviewing the material at home and we didn’t have to waste extra paper in the process.  To preview this entire worksheet, click here –  Ecosystem Science Worksheet

Wizer.me worksheets can be created and completed on any device and it is completely free.  Some of my favorite things about this site are the variety of question types and the fact that my students don’t have to join a separate platform to complete the worksheets.  Another great option for teachers is the ability to search for and use worksheets created by other members.   I am very happy to have found this resource for this school year!

I hope this post was helpful to you!  Feel free to ask questions or share ideas by leaving me a comment.  I’d love to hear about what new web tool you are using with your students this year!