At the start of Term Four, I launched an exciting global project with my grade two students.
As I have previously blogged about, I have found global projects to be one of the richest ways to use technology in the classroom.
My class has collaborated globally with others both informally and in a more structured way such as through our Collaboration Corner blog project with Mrs Yollis’ class and skyping with experts, however I felt like there was something missing.
I wanted my students to be able to use these global connections for a greater good; to raise their social conscience, help others and learn more about the world in which they live while acting collaboratively for a common purpose.
One day in August this year, I was reading my Runner’s World magazine, when I came across an article about a woman who ran to raise money for the women of the Democratic Republic of Congo. This article planted a seed and I got to thinking that I could have my students do a run/walk “alongside” their global buddies to raise money for children less fortunate than themselves.
It didn’t take long to find a worthy cause to support. The African Rural Schools Foundation strives to provide affordable education to disadvantaged students in Uganda while also supporting children who are affected or orphaned by HIV/AIDS.
The foundation is doing amazing work, running the ABC Divine Foundation Primary School in Mutundwe, Uganda, Africa. There are over 400 students who attend the school, about half live there and many of those are orphans.
Rev. Renee Waun, the founding sponsor of the Foundation from the USA, has been more than helpful in getting our idea off the ground. She has been an excellent link to the Ugandan students and has provided invaluable information and support.
When I shared the idea with some of the teachers of classes we collaborate with across the world, they were very keen to jump on board with the project. We have spanned our Ugandan Global Project across four continents- Africa, Australia, North America and Asia.
The partners of our project include
* The African Rural Schools Project and students at The ABC Divine Foundation Primary School in Mutundwe, Uganda, Africa.
* 2KM in Leopold, Victoria, Australia
* 2KJ in Leopold, Victoria, Australia
* Mrs Yollis’ class in Los Angeles, California, USA
* Mrs Ranney’s class in Los Angeles, California, USA
* Mr Salsich’s class in Connecticut, USA
* Team Toa, Shanghai International School, China
Mrs Yollis and her students made this fantastic video to launch the project.
To raise the social conscience and global awareness of our students through fundraising for The ABC Divine Foundation Primary School in Mutundwe, Uganda, Africa
Primary school “blogging buddies” from around the world will collaborate together to raise money to help purchase land adjacent to The ABC Divine Foundation Primary School in Mutundwe, Uganda, Africa. The land will be used as a play area for the school. Read more about the goal here.
We exceeded our goal raising a massive $20,000 and earning enough money to make a BIG difference to the lives of many Ugandan students.
Each class completed a one hour run/walk around their school or community at 10am on Friday 22nd October 2010.
The one hour walk signifies the effort the Ugandan students make to get an education. Many students travel long distances to get to school and some live so far away they have to stay at the school.
From the school director: “Many families in rural areas live in abject poverty, with no school within a 6-mile walk. In areas where schools are available these poor families cannot afford the fees, and so their children grow up without any education at all.” Read more from the school director here.
Students collected donations from their friends and families for completing the run/walk which have been passed on to the Ugandan school.
The Ugandan Global Project Blog has been a place for students to share and learn about each other. Posts have included: cultural and geographic information, “a day in the life”, songs, the run/walk events, time zones, currencies and fundraising efforts.
Through participating in this project, our students have been able to
• Help people less fortunate than themselves
• Develop their social conscience
• Improve their fitness
• Learn more about the world in which they live
• Develop their friendships with their blogging buddies
• Improve their understanding of different cultures and ways of life
• Improve their ICT skills
• Feel good and have fun!
Kathleen, thanks for sharing this amazing post with us. So, many people advise against blogging, especially with the young ones, and yet, you have taken that risk and empowered your students with learning that no textbook could ever give them. What was the reaction of parents? How did the students feel? It must have given you such pride and enabled those students to be true global citizens. The world is a better place when the young can take some ownership of it.
Kathleen, thanks for sharing this amazing post with us. So, many people advise against blogging, especially with the young ones, and yet, you have taken that risk and empowered your students with learning that no textbook could ever give them. What was the reaction of parents? How did the students feel? It must have given you such pride, such sense of achievement and feeling of satisfaction. You have enabled those students to be true global citizens. The world is a better place when the young can take some ownership of it. What will you do next?
Thanks for you comment!
I think the students were honestly amazed when they realised how much their lives differed to that of the Ugandan children and they were definitely amazed when they realised how much money they made!
The parents were extremely supportive and many made a point of remarking how much they value the project. Some parents were extremely generous with their donations and I think through our blog posts they were able to get a real understanding of how deserving the cause is.
I would say this is my best teaching moment yet! To think, a small seed of an idea a few months ago when I was leisurely reading a magazine has lead to all this!
What will I do next? Good question! I’m sure I’ll come up with another idea soon!