Creating Global Connections for PK-12 Students

1. Local Travelers
When preparing for a trip to the Dominican Republic, I required all of my Level I students to write introductory postcards on large index cards. I took their pictures and pasted them on the postcards. When I arrived in the Dominican for a mission trip, I worked with the local organization to plan a “Postcard Day” for the neighborhood organization. Neighborhood kids each took a card and wrote a response. Upon my return, I had the responses and a description of the community. Our school then sent back a gift of school supplies for the neighborhood organization.

2. Connection Services
Organizations like Reach the World and Skype in the Classroom pair you up with travelers or classrooms in other countries allowing you to question and discuss cultural understanding.

3. Book Clubs
Help your local and school library to provide literature that has a global connection. Plan activities that engage learners such as sampling food described in the text or using Google Earth to see the locations in the text.

4. Listen Up
Listen to music and news from other countries. One of my favorite global connections is Playing for Change. PFC unites musicians from around the world in phenomenal performances in multiple languages. PFC also provides documentary videos about the creation of the music. The documentary collections directly addresses global impact and understanding.

5. Take a Trip
Travel with students can be an intimidating proposition. Plan well. When possible, work with other schools from your region. Consider using a service like EF Tours or Explorica if you have never led a trip before. Remember that even with tours, you can actively seek opportunities to use the language. Make your expectations clear to both parents and students. Most importantly, have the students keep logs and report back in real time through social media or a website. When they return, encourage the students to be your ‘experts’ and to speak about the experience.