Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Connecting Globally with Projects by Jen

Let's face it.. getting kids to realize that there is a lot more in this world than their own little town can be a tough task, especially for the little ones.  The whole world revolves around them, and trying to build cultural and global awareness can be difficult to achieve, especially when it doesn't align to the standards.  Ok, yes culture is embedded into the CC with reading... but I want my kids to do more than just read about the cultures, countries, and different people that live around the world.  That doesn't stick.  So how do you get kids to latch onto the fact that there are different people and cultures in the world?  Today, I 'm bringing you a wonderful site that will connect you and your students with classrooms around the country and world, all while linking to the standards.  The works already done for you, what's better than that? Oh yea, its Free (Except for maybe a few dollars to participate in certain projects or stamping letters..) 

At the beginning of this school year, I was lucky to stumble across a wonderful sight that hosts global projects to bring to the classroom.  Projects by Jen holds multiple projects throughout the school year that connects you with other classrooms across the globe (Yes- the whole ENTIRE globe!) all while linking to some super important standards and allowing some unforgettable learning opportunities!
This year, we participated in 2 projects.  First, the Holiday card project where we got to make and receieve snow globe holiday cards all while learning about different schools, and cities across the globe; including the average weather at that time of year. PERFECT for when we were learning about weather.
Currently, we are participating in the Picture It! project and I seriously LOVE this project! This year, the theme is Mondrian with a twist.  To save time & reading, I won't explain the project here, just click on the link to read more about it & consider joining next year! (This is still a fun art project to do if you have some extra time without the global addition- Psshht extra time? I know what was I thinking...)  Here's what we've been up to with our Picture It! project!
First, we learned about Mondrian, the type of art he did, and how he influenced many people...
(Click on one of the photos to take you to google docs to download the smartboard file)
Then.. we reviewed vertical and horizontal lines, squares, and rectangles.  We used our rulers to draw & connect vertical and horizontal lines. (Sorry, no pictures of this).  Then we even found the perimeter of the largest square & smallest square on our papers and compared to other kids at our table. 
The next day came the fun... PAINTING!
Of course, we were sure to only use blue, red, yellow, and leave some white so that it was truly Mondrian!
They had SO much fun!
(BTW this is not a project requirement, I just decided to extend it and add my own little fun learning opportunities!)
We let the paint dry and drew thick black lines between the paint & here is what they looked like...
How fabulous are they?!
We hung them in the hallway underneath our Collaborative artwork bulletin board.  For this project, each classroom is given one section of a piece of art to color.  Each classroom sends 1 of their section to each classroom in their group and by the end, you have one collaborative piece of art! 

This is when our board wasn't so decorated.  As we receive each section we will add the colored piece on top of the B/W piece, write what state they come from, and add the "About Us" sheet that each classroom must fill out to send with their section.  This way everyone can see our similarities and differences with other classes around the world!
We've only received one section but are expecting them to start pouring in very soon!
Oh, did I mention that stuffing & addressing the envelopes was fantastic practice for my kiddos?  I know most of the teachers do it themselves by printing out labels, but I love putting the kids in charge.. and they TOTALLY ROCKED IT!

We have had a blast with this project so far and it will be even more exciting when we see the finished piece!  You will not regret joining in on this or any other project hosted by Projects by Jen, so you should definitely consider joining!! :)

Oh and before I go...

We got these little babies yesterday.  21 days til we have some chickies!


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