Global Issue Awareness in the Classroom
At McLean School’s recent PD unconference for faculty and staff, I participated in a dynamic session entitled “Global Issue Awareness in the Classroom.” This meaningful conversation, attended by K-12 teachers of various subjects, embraced topics such as facilitating discussions on terrorism and other current events with students; the teaching of understanding about cultures and countries; the importance of both service learning and school trips; and ways to support the development of global awareness. Below are some of the resources that came up during this discussion:
Develop Student Global Understanding
Global Oneness Project is a dynamic resource exploring cultures and people around the world. Geared towards high school classrooms, this site includes resources such as videos, photo essays, articles, and lesson plans centered on topics such as vanishing cultures, climate change, inspiring people, and creativity.
To help students understand the Syrian refugee crisis after exploring the photo essay “Crossing Borders,” Global Oneness Project’s related lesson plan “Far From Home” provides links to news articles as well as meaningful discussion and reflection topics. The 20-minute film “Santa Cruz de Islote” along with the supporting lesson plan “Communities on the Threshold of Change,” helps students explore the impacts that both globalization and shifting resources have on traditional ways of life for remote communities.
Directly Connect to Students Around the World
A great way to introduce students to other countries and cultures is to participate in a “Mystery Skype”. After being paired with a classroom located elsewhere in the world, classes meet virtually through a video call and ask one another yes/no questions in order to guess each other’s location. Find lessons, classrooms to connect with, and even virtual field trips at Skype in the Classroom.
Read about the experiences of an elementary classroom in Kansas, in “How You Can Actually Teach Beyond Your Classroom’s Walls.” These third graders first participated in a mystery SKYPE with a classroom in Brazil, then learned about time zones by connecting to a school in Utah, and then participated in a writing project with a New York City classroom.
Incorporate Geo-Literacy and Current Events into your Classroom
As described by National Geographic Society, “Geo-literacy is the understanding of the Earth’s systems, the interconnections of those systems, and the implications of decision-making on the future of our Earth.” Help integrate geo-literacy into your classroom curriculum by exploring resources from National Geographic Education and finding ways to integrate geo-literacy into all subject areas. Through literature, for example, students can explore maps of the region the stories takes place. Educational news sites such as Newsela provide resource text sets related to literature, science, and social studies that help make connections between current events, global issues, and various subject areas.
Connect to a Community of Readers
The Global Readaloud is a yearly project that connects classrooms around the world through literature. Beginning in October, classroom teachers read aloud a selected book to their students and then find ways to connect with other classrooms reading the same book. Founded by educator Pernille Ripp in 2010, this project has created more than 500,000 connections in over 60 countries and was mentioned in the 2016 Department of Ed’s Office of Educational Technology report entitled Future Ready Learning.
— 4RM (@4RMclassof2024) October 7, 2015
Watch the video of educator Pernille Rip, to learn about the Global Read Aloud: