For this project, I listened to a presentation from the GlobalEdCon 2016 entitled Globalizing the Secondary Common Core Suggested Readings. The presenters teach in a cyber academy based in MIchigan and focused on the fact that the suggested readings from the common core are mainly written by white, male authors. This was a fact that I have to admit that I have not looked at. I tend to look at a book or piece of literature based on the theme it has or lesson it tries to teach more than who wrote the piece. I had not realized how limited my author diversity is in my classroom. The presenters gave alternatives to use and ideas on how to diversify the classroom. They suggested something as simple as taking a story that is well known and finding other versions of the story to compare it to. I know that in the elementary this is done with Cinderella and a few other fairy tales. However, this is not done in the middle school or high school classrooms. We are focused on reading the required readings and not focused on the lack of diversity. I could use this in my collaboration project. If I could find a teacher who is teaching a book with a similar theme but different perspective from the book my students are reading, then we could use that to discuss the cultural differences. I enjoys the presentation and will definitely look at diversifying my reading list.
Global Read Aloud:
I think I am going to try to participate in this next year. My middle schoolers love when I read aloud to them and this will allow them to connect with other students as well. I love that the teachers have the freedom to decide how indepth the global connection will be. The time restraints are minimal in that the teacher is in control. Most of my students are connected on social media already so it would mean that they would be widening their social media presence in a positive way. I would expect friendships and connections to be made and a deeper understanding of the reading to be had by all participants.
I was SUPER excited to find this. I just started teaching (learning) my students this program and will plan to attend Scratch Day in May. Scratch is a coding program from Harvard and MIT that is kid friendly but super fun. My students are just starting and enjoy it. They will be creating large social studies projects at the end of the unit. I will be looking into the Scratch Day information more in depth.
I am working on a collaborative unit for the novel To Kill a Mockingbird. This novel is taught in most high school across the United States and can be used to open up dialogue about numerous important topics such as racism, poverty, social classes, prejudice, and gender roles. This unit will align with the Iowa Common Core Standards: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.1, R.2, R.3, R.4, R.5, and R.6.
During the reading of the novel, students will interact with students from another cultural background to discuss novel and specific passages. At the conclusion of the novel, the small groups will create PSA (public service announcement) that addresses an area of concern for both groups. The students will use quicktime recordings, google docs, google hangouts, and any other internet resources available to create the final product.
Time and time commitments may be an issue depending on the location of the second group of students. Ideally, the students would have class time to met with the other students; however, it will be next to impossible to arrange that. Students will ultimately have to arrange times to met during the evenings or weekends. As the instructor, I will also have to be flexible with my timeline due to scheduling difficulties.
Ideally, I would like to connect to a school that is 1:1 like we are. Our students have access to personal laptops in school and out of school. Last year’s survey of families showed that 95% of my students have access to the internet after school hours. It would be important that the group that works with us has the same access. All students should have access to a google email account or can setup a free gmail to use for this project.
If a partner group was interested in pairing with my class but didn’t read the same novel, the project could be modified for the students to read different literature but with the same theme. For example one class reads The Hunger Games while another class reads 1984. Together they would discuss the theme dystopian societies and governmental control. Teachers would have to work together to decide on the discussion questions and final project focus.
This week I focused on developing a global collaboration unit to use with the novel To Kill a Mockingbird. I start this novel in English 2 class this week so I will not be able to "go live" this year. I hope to have a workable product by the end of teaching this to use next year when I may have more flexibility to implement with another teacher. Given the connections that we are making within the graduate class that I am taking right now, I am not really worried about finding another educator to connect with. I am more worried about timing of the events - matching schedules and so on.
I spend many hours searching on line for units to model mine after but did not find any that matched what I was looking for. I found units that focused on global issues and but none connected directly to any novels. This is the gap I am hoping to fill. I want my student to interact with other students while reading the novel and ultimately discussing the world issues of race relations.
I will keep you posted on the final product.
During this week, we tried to connect as a class with another graduate class in another state. It failed. Like really failed. Even when we emailed the student directly, they ignored us. I was truly not bothered by this - in fact - I was slightly relieved. You see, if my master instructor could have a well planned project go down in flames - then it would be okay if I had the same outcome. We tell students that failure is okay - we make up saying to go with it - FAIL: First attempt at learning... etc... But teachers - we do NOT fail. We are the expects. Well planned lessons never go wrong. We are drilled this in our teacher preparation - if it failed - we did not prepare it well enough.
Well apparently failure can and will happen to everyone. You learn from it and move on. I like that we were reminded this in real time...in a real class... by a real instructor. Best lesson so far!!