Travel the world from your own classroom!

8:28 AM

I know most teachers are getting ready for Back to School (or still avoiding everything having to do with school!), but I'm not quite there yet, mainly because I'm teaching summer school.  Many of my  friends think I'm crazy for loving summer school, but I think it's so much fun!

During the school year, I teach 3rd-5th grade Resource Room; I have groups of students who come to my room throughout the day for extra reading, writing, and/or math support. Over the summer, though, I get to work with kids who need a 12-month program.  I love that during the summer, we can do fun projects that incorporate all the academic areas, as well as cooking, art, music, etc.  I typically don't have that opportunity during the school year as I have only 30 minutes with my kids before they go back to their classrooms and the time we do have is spent on targeted ELA and math instruction.

One of my favorite things we've done this summer is an "All Around the World" unit.  As a former history major, incorporating Social Studies into our summer program has been so fun for me!  I think it's so important to show kids that there's a world outside of their town.  Since traveling the world is often not an option for many kids, there are other ways for the kids to travel the world from your classroom.

Here are a few ways that you can help your students travel the world from your own classroom:

-Have your kids create their own maps - SuperTeacherWorksheets has a great map activity that has your student color each continent a different color and cut/paste the names of the continents and oceans.  This has been a great reference for my students throughout our unit! (Map activity)

-Read books about different countries - I found some great books on Reading A-Z for each country I wanted to focus on during our unit.  We read these books during our center times so that I could really focus in on reading decoding and comprehension skills with each student. (Check to see if your district has a membership to Reading A-Z - if not, you can also sign up for a free trial!)  I also visited our school and town libraries for books on these countries and read them during our Morning Meeting time, as well as placed them around the room for the kids to read during any independent reading or free time.

-Watch videos about other countries and/or do a Virtual Field Trip - There are so many great videos on the internet that can give your students even more information about the country (and an up-close look at what it's like there!)  When learning about Brazil, we talked about how the Amazon Rainforest is there. Since we can't actually go there, we watched a Virtual Field Trip video on TeacherTube.  My kids were then able to see all the amazing wildlife in the Amazon Rainforest!

-Learn about the food of other countries - When learning about Australia, we discovered in our research that Granny Smith apples originated there. So, for snack one day, we ate Granny Smith apples!  The kids were amazed that something they have had before (and that even grows in our local orchards) originated somewhere else.  You can also cook using recipes from other countries (and maybe even tie in fractions and measurement to your lesson!)

-Do art projects - It's so interesting to see art from other countries!  In my summer class, we talked about how people hunted with boomerangs in Australia, and then we looked at dot paintings that are popular there.  I then had my students combine these and create their own boomerangs and painted them similar to the dot paintings we had looked at.

-Listen to music from different countries and maybe even DANCE!!

-Incorporate math - Have your students make charts and graphs for population of a country, create word problems using facts about the country you are learning about, and even find the distance between your location and another country.

-Participate in the Global Read Aloud - I posted about the GRA in my post last month.  It has truly been one of the best projects I have done throughout my teaching career.  Your students will get to connect with others kids reading the same book in any way you choose (Skype, Twitter, Padlet, etc.).  Last year, my students were able to connect with students in Australia, Canada, and other states.

-Find a class to Skype/Google Hangout/FaceTime with - maybe you know another teacher or have a friend living in a different state or country, connect with them!  The Skype in the Classroom website has so many ideas to help you connect with others around the world.

-Use search engines to help your students research other countries - I love using Kiddle!  For my younger students, or my students who have difficulty with reading, I often point them towards Pebble Go.  I love that there is a feature that reads aloud the text to the kids.  It helps them to be independent, while supporting them with the reading.

-Have your students create an iMovie trailer as a research project about another country!

-Create a classroom "Passport" - As we finished a country, my students had their passport "stamped!"  I know I love seeing all the placed I've visited in the world in my own Passport, so I thought my students would enjoy seeing all the placed they've "visited."  They also had to write at least one sentence about something they learned.  The amazing stamps came from Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah Design's TpT store.  I printed the country stamp and then my kids glued them in the Passport.

How do you help your kids travel the world from your classroom? Share your ideas below!

Happy Traveling!

by Lauren

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