This year, Mrs. Keller and Mrs. Holden's class established a culture exchange with the second grade students of Ms. Guzman and Ms. Mena from the Academia Británica Cuscatleca in Santa Tecla, El Salvador. The students initiated the project by writing letters about themselves and exchanging stuffed class mascots (ABC sent us a stuffed bulldog, while EMS sent them a stuffed teddy bear - pictures here, here and here). The culture exchange continues throughout the year, with sessions over Skype, where children ask questions, learning about similarities and differences, as well as a Voicethread project, where multi-media information can be shared. It is important to note that the project is also really fun and engaging for children. You can follow the project on this EMS Culture Exchange page.
Second Grade Skypers
When some start confusing Australians with Austrians, or (as with the more recent and unfortunate circumstance) confusing Chechens with Czechs, we can start to understand on the simplest of levels, the importance of folding a global education and awareness into our curriculum. Knowing where countries are on a map, in geographic relation to each other, is valuable knowledge for children growing up in a global society. But, the greater priority may be gaining an understanding of people, perspectives and cultures different than their own. This is the focus for the second grade's culture exchange, which exhibits just one of Elisabeth Morrow's grade-level efforts to use conferencing and collaborative technology to engage and connect our young students with the larger world in which they live.