After a whirlwind of travel through Vietnam, up to Bangkok and back to KL just in time for an excellent weekend workshop on leadership in international schools, I’m finally back in action!

This semester I’ve decided to try to focus on having our students collaborate with as many other students as we can manage (I’m hopping on the “Flat Classroom” bandwagon). Our first project will be an “International Teen Life” media production. The project was initiated by Clarence Fisher, who describes the project as:

“The purpose of this project is to have teenagers from different locations around the globe exchange their thoughts and perceptions of what their lives are like. By viewing, reading, and listening to the perspectives of others from around the globe, they will gain a greater perception of the similarities and differences of people’s lives around the world. I DO NOT want to do an international project where kids learn about the holidays, foods, etc, of another nation. I presume we have all been through enough of these already. I am looking to dig deeper, to have kids dig, read, write, etc. I want them to explore issues, and work intensely to gain a clearer understanding of concerns that people have in a global world.”

We will be collaborating with students in Cartagena, Columbia (Jamie Hide); Snow Lake, M.B., Canada (Clarence Fisher); and Virginia, U.S.A (Lee Barber). For our students, this will be the first time they are directly collaborating with students outside of the school, and they are really excited. We are approaching this project through the upcoming Poetry unit in English class. In addition to authoring their own poetry, students will be asked to present their poems in any multimedia format. We’re thinking digital video, podcasts, slideshows, soundtracks… The possibilities are endless!

I am so excited to begin connecting with other teachers and students around the world. As international school students, our kids have a world of experience in travel and life abroad, but I don’t think they often get to reflect on how their lives are different than other students that stay in their home country, or how living in a third culture influences their lives from childhood to adulthood. During my teacher training, I did a lot of reading about Third Culture Kids (I was in a special program for international school educators) and there is so much research and information about how living in a third culture can impact children, but this is not something we readily address in international schools. I would like to try to take advantage of this opportunity and bring some of this information and research to the kids. I think it will also be an interesting slant for the students in the US, Canada, and Columbia (even though it’s an international school, I think many of the students are also Columbian). I’m really looking forward to delving deeper with this particular group of students because they are so articulate and thoughtful already. This will be an excellent area of growth for them, and the perfect place to integrate technology in a meaningful way.

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