Last year I finally had enough of telling my students what the holiday season looks like in different countries and cultures around the world. I wanted to give them an authentic experience of learning about Christmas and other holidays. So last year my grade 7 classroom was the beneficiary of the amazing Twitter platform and teachers who, just like me, wanted to enrich their classroom. And, in the world we live in, we as educators can and should do much better than handing out worksheets about Christmas in Uganda.
So last year, I placed a tweet asking teachers from around the world to join a project where kids shared their Christmas stories, using a new hashtag #christmaswhereweare. And WOW what a difference it has made. My students connected with Australia, Finland, Ethiopia, South Africa, Ghana, Netherlands and Sweden. They learned traditions, similarities and differences. They also learned that regardless of where you live, family is at the centre. My students didn’t just love learning all about celebrations globally but they also loved and felt proud to share their own traditions and talk about their own values. The project brought kids together and families together. The engagement and authentic learning could not be matched.
This project is starting up again. The guidelines are simple. If the time zones match-up then organize a videoconference. Add as many classes to your chat as possible. If times zones don’t match-up then create a video or play, expressing your cultures and traditions. (Examples are up on the Twitter hashtag) Lastly, if those modes don’t work simply blog about it or open up a Twitter chat. Really the only rule is you post it on #christmaswhereweare so the world can learn from and with you.
So please join this project and enrich the experience for your kiddos. They will thank you for it!
If you wish to participate in this project add yourself here to connect with other teachers.
If you require any additional information please contact me on Twitter @rondorland