This post was writen as a collaboration between the 5 teachers involved in this project. Thank you, Lori, Daniela, Mark, Sandra, and Jennifer!
Global collaboration projects are an outstanding way to help your students understand their place in the world, and offer them authentic ways to develop and practice language skills. It also exposes students to others outside of their own region or country, gives insight to different cultures and geographies, and offers new perspectives on quality of life. Read on for what happened when 5 teachers came together to offer all of those elements to their students.
Creating Captain SMART
The Captain SMART Global Collaboration began at the 2016 SMART Exemplary Educator Summit in Calgary, Canada. Five teachers met and decided to collaborate, creating the concept for ‘Captain SMART’.
Our project included five classrooms from three different countries:
- Mrs. Landertinger’s 4th grade from Volksschule (Primary School) St. Pantaleon in Oberösterreic, Austria.
- Mr. Hartwright’s Year 2 from Castlechurch Primary School in Stafford, England.
- Ms. Wallace’s (and Mrs. Thornsberry’s) 3rd grade class from Pine Grove Elementary in Columbia, South Carolina, USA
- Mrs. Headland’s (and Mrs. Pierce) 1st grade class from Cathcart Elementary School in Snohomish, Washington, USA
- Mrs. Kellermair’s 4th grade class from Volksfeststraße 7-11 in Linz, Austria
Our collaboration included a variety of monthly projects that each class participated in. For the first project, each class created part of a SMART Notebook file that introduced their class to the other classes. Each class provided information about where they live, what they like to do and also created a SMART lab activity to quiz students about where they are from. For the second part of this project, each class worked on a portion of our Collaboration Logo. Each class had the opportunity to design one of the star points.
For the second project, each class designed holiday cards to send to the other students participating in the Global Collaboration. Students also included stickers, pencils and other goodies for their new friends.
For another project, all classes read The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. Upon reading the story, students were to discuss what gifts they have to share with others – such a meaningful and inspiring thing to do! A SMART notebook file allowed all the classes to engage with the same content about the book and related reflections.
As an ongoing element of our project, Captain SMART himself (see inset) visited each class and went on adventures with the students. Students at Pine Grove took Captain SMART with them on their field trip to Atlanta, Georgia. He enjoyed his trip and learned a ton! Captain SMART visited Georgia Aquarium, Center for Civil Liberties, and the Coca-Cola Museum. The students really enjoyed being able to tell the collaboration partners all about Atlanta. These and Captain SMART’s other adventures were documented on his very own blog, plus he got to be in a movie, too!
For the final part of this global collaboration project, students were given freedom to create a project that represented their class. Students from Pine Grove created a green screen video sharing information about their school and state. Students from Cathcart Elementary created a video reader’s theater of the book Stone Soup to share with the other classes. It was great to watch students create these fun projects together.
Overall, the teachers and students involved in the Captain SMART Global Collaboration project really enjoyed the experience. The students looked forward to having Captain SMART visit their classroom and were sad when he left to go to the next classroom (but excited for thier new friends!). The students learned new ways to engage with classroom technology, developed an inspiring variety of skills, and increased their confidence.
It’s totally worth it.
Take the chance to do some collaborative planning with teachers outside your school, whether national or international, and you will see your students grow and learn in unexpected ways! They will be excited to hear about the other classes, and learn lots about geography and culture. They can practice their reading, writing, speaking, and language skills with an authentic audience. And, they will be more engaged and have more fun than any other activity you do in class. For us, it was a valuable project, and we really hope you’ll try it yourself! For some details on starting your own global collaboration prject, join us on our website here.
Stay tuned to the blog for more lessons that these five teachers learned from working together, and additional tips on starting your own global collaboration project.