The Global Goals: @vermontkkids123

Collaborative efforts bring awareness, engagement and advocacy from even young children in helping develop an appreciation for the natural world.  It starts through an exploration of what the goals are, why we have them and why it might be important for others to know about them. Then we create a plan of action.

This is our journey…

We created an awareness and listed our goals, talking about why we thought they were important and what they meant to us.  What was interesting is that while we explored them and hung a poster in our classroom, they became part of our classroom culture.  By doing this it was easy for me to connect conversations that we were having with a specific goal.  Through our authentic and genuine curiosity about the global goals, we have all become more aware of not only what they are but why they are important. “The why” is most important because it helped drive deeper thinking and the children then had an opportunity to be reflective.

We have been exploring all year ways that we make a difference for ourselves, our school, our family and community. We started with an essential question…  Where does waste go? So we created an awareness of what we thought and then created a padlet that we could share globally to find out what others in the world are doing.  This was easy to tie into the global goals because as we created our own awareness, we also were able to think about how our actions could impact the climate and life on land.  Yup!  Their just happens to be two global goals, Climate Action #13 and Life on Land #15.

Another way we helped make a difference for others was to build an awareness around hunger.  We were curious if people were hungry, Did children have enough food?  What happens if people need food?  Who helps them?  Again, this is another opportunity to refer to the global goals, goal #2 zero hunger. My students collect food twice a year.  Then we walk to our local food shelf and make a delivery.  This is always exciting for the children.  They have a direct experience with what it means to help others and have empathy.  This is easy to do.  Think of a need that your community has, build an awareness and then create a plan of action that includes your students, families and communities.  Together, everyone begins to connect and weave a thread of caring because it directly impacts a need.  

Now the Global Goals are a part of my classroom culture.  They remind us all of what the world needs.  My students understand why they are important and are creative in their ideas to find ways to make the world a better place. Even in Kindergarten these ideas have an impact.  My students are really genuinely invested in making the world a better place.  I think about the impact this could have if more and more young children were familiar making goals.  Just by building an awareness, through the content I explore, we are finding ways to connect to the goals.  It raises an awareness of the world and really, my students love learning about the world!  Kindergarten seems like the perfect place to begin thinking about how we can collaborate globally to make the world a better place.  We all need each other.  The world needs all of us to care and and make wishes come true for everyone. Why not start collaborating with your students today!

My ELL teacher, Patti Tursi collaborated with me around the goals.  As an ELL teacher she has a special expertise and perspective about students who are from places other than the US.  She becomes a director of our 1st documentary on the Global Goals.  She sets up a filming studio in my classroom with the children and then the children begin to explore the filming equipment and play so they experience what it can be used for.  Later when we film, Patti teaches us about being quiet on the set and other language used for creating a film. This experience is real life and offers my students an opportunity to learn new language with a new expert.

Here is our 1st documentary!

The Global Goals

I paint a map of the world each year with my students.  We add places we visit and people we connect with.  We share how we are having conversations with others and what we are learning about.  Now that I am aware of the Global Goals I can add the goals to our map, as well as when we explore them.  This is another way we can build an awareness, inspire others and think deeply about what we are doing and how.  The why of our ideas is through our own reflection and how we share our voices.

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As our year comes to an end I ask my students to think about why we connect globally?  Why is it important? Do you think others need to connect globally too?

Here are some of their reasons…

  1. When we connect we show we care.
  2. We learn from others.
  3. We solve problems and learn new things.
  4. We like the global goals because the whole world cares about everyone.
  5. I love the world.
  6. We help the world. We love the world. We connect globally because we care.
  7. I love to learn about the world.
  8. It is fun.

I believe in people and have a passion for learning.  I have hope that through our collaborative efforts we will be able to make a difference globally.  This means we all can begin taking 1 step at a time, building an awareness of what we can do.  I am inspired by my Kindergarten students.  They give me hope that we can all learn from each other and work together to keep the world healthy.

Exploring the Global Goals

I have the privilege of being a Kindergarten teacher.  I work in a public school where I am completely supported with my own learning and the learning of my students.  I mention this because as an educator when I am supported by my school, students and their families a very magical synergy begins in a seamless way. This synergy is what supports many different parts connecting and collaborating together to make a difference.

A couple of months ago I became aware of the Global Goals for Sustainability.  This really inspired me and challenged my thinking about how I could bring these ideas to Kindergarten in Vermont.  So I made a large copy of the goals and shared them with my students. I told them that in Kindergarten we all have goals.  One of my goals for each of my students was to teach everyone to read.  This was an example of an individual goal.  When I asked my students about what do you think global goals might be, I was surprised and inspired by their ideas…

“It is when you share your idea with the world.”

“It’s like everyone wants to be kind.’

“I think it is working together.”

“Maybe it is sharing and helping people.”

Then I was able to build on their ideas.  My explanation was simple..  I said; “The world needs our help. Together if we share our ideas we can make a difference.” So we began exploring Life Below Water, then Life On Land and Peace & Justice.  Through our work and exploration of these goals all my students were able to learn new content and also begin thinking about how life on land and life under water is important for everyone.  We created murals, collages, shared our ideas on Twitter and even created a passport where we are collecting stamps of the global goals we explore.

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I now have an opportunity to connect and collaborate with my talented ELL teacher, Patti Tursi, who has a unique perspective and insight.  She offers her time and expertise to have small discussions with the students around the goals we have explored.  Through these small discussions we are now able to create smaller dyad groups where the children can turn and talk about what these goals are and why everyone in the world needs to know about them. Now we have another opportunity to create a movie about these goals and why they matter.

How do I know if these ideas are making a difference?

One of my students was on vacation with her family.  She and her family looked at the global goals and decided that picking up trash in a park was part of goal #15 Life On Land. Children are naturally curious and want to be a part of solutions where they can make a difference.  I share this with my students and they are all now even more interested in making connections with what we are exploring.

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I am grateful for the flexibility and support I have as a public educator.  Through my relationships with my students, families and colleagues I have many opportunities to collaborate and connect.  It is when we work alongside each other, that we are able to make a difference.  It’s not about what we’ve done, but how are we inviting others to learn with us.  Relationships develop, inspiration appears and all ideas are valued and challenged.

Just by having a poster up in my classroom of the global goals I am able to reference them throughout the day.  Giving my students opportunities to make connections and talk about what they understand.  This is an opportunity for me to model ways to care in a global way about the world.  Through our ideas and experiences we are able to share and hopefully others will be inspired by our actions and create their own plan. I think about what the possibilities are to make the world a better place when we all work together.  Endless….

Exploring the Global Goals

Why I Wore Red Today….

Being a public school teacher is an honor and a privilege.  I have the ability to make a difference daily through my work.  The idea that I am able to work with lots of different children and families each year enhances my own learning and perspective.  I am able to support all families and their children as they enter Kindergarten.

Being a public school teacher I do my best daily to ensure quality learning experiences and opportunities that enrich and enhance learning.  My ability to use resources and seek resources that support the growth for all my students is important.  My students and their families count on me to support them, keep them informed and seek my perspective in regards to their children.

I expect nothing less from my country.  I expect the United States Congress to ensure that all children and their families will be valued, supported.  We will offer the best education that we can provide.   We have an opportunity to provide high quality teaching, to  be our best, and to encourage and highlight student growth.

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Today I wear red in solidarity with other educators because…..

I am a proud public school teacher and believe in the public schools.

I believe that communities need to be part of the process in making decisions about what children in their communities need.

I want all children to get the best public education they can.

I support programs that feed families, provide medical care and other community resources that help them and their children learn.

I believe in teacher voice and trust teachers to know what their students needs are and to advocate for them.

I am sad to say that I am not feeling confident in the candidate Betsy DeVos who has been nominated for Secretary of Education.  I expect the Secretary of Education to have an understanding of what it means to live in all areas of socio-economic backgrounds. I think about her limited perspective and how it does not support all families.

I expect that people in high levels of power in our government will be advocates for all the children, that they all matter and deserve the best we have to offer.

I expect education leaders to support teachers’ voices and listen to their ideas about what needs to happen to ensure a high quality education for everyone.

I expect education officials and leaders to be able to speak and be informed about the latest research and current issues we are facing as a nation and have a solution based plan to help teachers, parents, students and other elected officials work together.

I have been an advocate for teachers, children and their families for over 30 years.  The heart of my work is the daily interaction I have with my students.  By learning alongside my students and their families I develop an understanding of what life is like for them, where they come from, what they need and what they are passionate about.  Through my interactions I invite dialogue, discussion and opportunities to learn from them.  My perspective has been enriched and widened.  This helps me explore learning in a more global and inclusive way.

I expect the Secretary of Education to understand these ideas and beliefs.   I ask our elected officials that are representing us – Is this the best you can do for our children?

A Kindergarten Teachers’ Journey…

How Travel Can Influence Education: Kindergarten

Being A Teacher…

On my way to work this morning I was thinking a lot about my day with my students and the activities we would be involved in and why they were important.  So as our day evolved I started thinking about the opportunities I had to highlight the kindness, empathy and care that my students displayed and explored.  This also reminded me of why I am a teacher and yes, it is a privilege and an honor….

We have been exploring worms.  These fascinating creatures helped us think about individuality and how important it is to value all worms because they are like people one of my students reminded me today.  “We are all different too and have different ideas.” “We can all learn from each other even if we don’t like what we hear.”  “Mrs. D. we need to be kind to all the worms.”

We were also able to use Twitter to connect and ask a worm specialist a question about worms.  It is okay not to have all the answers and ask for help and ideas from others.

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We are all living things and regardless of who we are, what we look like, what we believe or where we come from, we need to be kind.

During partner reading time one of my students noticed sight words in a story, but then shared that peanut butter and jelly are now friends even though they are different.  I asked;” What do you think about that?”

As my student shared; “Mrs. D. you are silly you have to be nice to everyone even if they are different.”

A few of my students were using Kiddle to search for forest photos to help them get a sense of what is in a forest in Vermont.  They were so excited to share their text to world connection.  They told me… “Mrs. D. we collaborated and we made a connection.”  I asked what it was. They shared;” We all looked really hard and noticed that a photo in a book was also on Kiddle.” I asked; “Why is this important?” One of my students said; “Because it is helping us with our learning.”

Today as we explored coding one of my students wondered about “how to” get a Bee Bot to create a circle.  So we explored his idea….  This is what teachers do that matters so deeply. We question  and support the ideas that our students have and what they are curious about..
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So today I choose to share globally why I teach because it matters and teachers matter.  We are some of the most important people in a child’s life.  We care, listen, encourage and offer hope continually, no matter the circumstances.  These are some of the reasons why I teach.

As a teacher I have the ability to inspire and support all my students and their families.

As a teacher I am able to connect and engage families with what we are exploring and how.  This is a wonderful way to invite parents to participate and learn alongside their child.

As a teacher I am able to offer hope and encouragement that never ends.  This matters for all my students.  I want them to know they matter and I will be cheering for all of them as they grow.

As a teacher I am able to learn new things alongside my students.  This offers me an opportunity to model new learning and the challenges and excitement that will appear.

As a teacher I make mistakes, but this helps me think deeply and learn more about what I was trying to understand.

I am able to model “how to” connect globally and why this matters.

Today I want to say thank you to all the teachers because you all matter.  We have one of the hardest jobs in the world, but one of the best because we get to make a difference everyday.    Our enthusiasm and excitement for our work is contagious and makes a difference.  Cheers to you all!

 

 

Building an Awareness Globally

I have the privilege of being a teacher.  I look forward to each year with my Kindergarten students because together, we get to learn about the world and build our understanding of what we can do to help others and ourselves.  I appreciate the support I get from my families each year as we all begin to develop an awareness of others through our ideas and personal experiences.

As I begin to explore ways to build an awareness of the world I always think about what are the tools available to use to help capture and enhance the amazing discoveries we are making inside Kindergarten.  So this year I am using Twitter, Kidblog, Padlet, AirServer,Blogger, Skype and GoogleHangout.  These platforms, applications and tools all offer opportunities to share what my students are curious about and also capture their ideas that we share globally.  I think the sharing no matter what platform you use is a wonderful way to demonstrate explicitly what you are exploring and then your students have opportunities to see who in the world is interested in their learning.  This is so powerful for children because they are inspired and excited to see where in the world they are having an impact and who is also interested in what they are learning.

Recently we used Skype as a way to learn about the life of bees with an expert.  My student intern created a unit of study about bees.  She use Skype as 1 way  for the children to ask questions and share their learning.

Twitter is on all day because you never know when you might want to share an idea. This way my students get to connect with others who are sharing what they are learning.  When we “tweet” we are demonstrating and modeling “how to” have a conversation on line. Look here and here to read posts I have had published in regards to using Twitter.

Padlet is a fun and easy way to ask others globally for ideas and to share.  This tool is like a sticky note so when I explain and share with my students I have something explicit to connect this with.  My students were able to see what a pumpkin looked like in Germany and Australia recently via this tool.  A great opportunity to make connections and see what is different, the same and wonder about what all of these plants need to grow no matter where in the world they are. Look here at ours.

Kidblog is a wonderful way to explore ‘how to” write with an audience in mind.  This way my students begin to experience that a larger audience will be reading and looking at there posts, so they become excited and focused on doing their best.  Kidblog also has a map of the world like we have on our classroom wall and our class blog so we have many opportunities to connect and see who in the world is interested in our ideas. Look here, here and here to read posts Kidblog has published.

Blogger is another way to enhance and share your learning and that of your students.  Through our own ability to be transparent and share our voice, we offer invitations to share our students’ voices too. The families of my students love the class blog because it offers  them an opportunity to have face to face conversations with their child about there day inside Kindergarten.  This is important because I want the learning that takes place inside my classroom to be outside as well.  This is whereby students begin to develop an awareness of the world and how many wonderful things we have to share.  Look here to see a post that was published on blogging and here to read about the positive effects of blogging.  Why I blog…..

GoogleHangout is an easy and fun way for parents to read a story to the class as well as share with other children globally about a topic of interest.  Read Across America is a great opportunity for teachers to connect with others globally via a great book!

This year many parents have been emailing me photos of their child making connections with ideas we are exploring inside Kindergarten.  This has been a wonderful way for my students to share their connection with the class and facilitate a discussion.  This type of opportunity also gives all my students inspiration and raises their self confidence.  They matter and what is important to them matters too.

In the photos you might notice a child seeing a rhombus created with light in her home.  This is one of the attributes we are exploring in Kindergarten.  Another child sharing a climb he made also noticing a circular shape on top of a mountain. He shared what he saw as well while on top of a mountain.  This is another opportunity for me to weave in the idea of perspective. Another child creating pizza.  We had an opportunity to talk about straight lines and curvy lines because of what this child created.  We were also able to justify our thinking because we made connections with other things that are triangular.

Interacting with the world has opened my eyes to what is possible to explore even with 5 and 6 year old children.  We are able to enrich our understanding of the world through our ideas and sharing our perspectives with others.  Then we make connections with what we see others doing and we begin to question which is where we think critically and deeply about what we are exploring.