My niece Kyra, who graduated from college in December, made plans to travel before settling down with a job. She posted her traveling adventures on social media. My heart skipped a beat when I saw the picture to the right. There had to be a way to connect her school with a classroom in my district.
Kyra had signed up to be a short term volunteer teacher at Kishitiz Public School in in Faridabad, India. She was employed to teach 4 & 5 year olds how to speak English. Classrooms are baron of items found in an American classroom and she was using her own money to purchase paper and pencils. Plans A and B were thrown out the window. Plan C – Flashcards.
I partnered with Kim, a 6th grade math and science teacher, and then introduced the Flashcard Project using My Maps, to her Exploratory Class.
The Project Details
- Using Google Docs, I created a blank template and an example
- I copied the blank template 20 times and stored them in a folder that I shared with Kim.
- For each of the 20 templates, I created a shareable link and toggled the settings to Edit.
- Used Google URL Shortener to convert the very long original link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1j8c-xga_D0UD1Ncp54IXDwyXIMlSUQElhJycNxdNw68/edit?usp=sharing to https://goo.gl/QJ7nXE
- Each template was assigned to a pair of students.
The Day Of:
- Introduced the project
- Made sure the students were sitting next to their partner.
- Passed out the shareable goo.gl/ URL to each pair.
- Assigned the left hand column to Partner A and the right hand column to Partner B
- We all created one example flashcard together.
- Passed out themes: breakfast food, lunch/dinner foods, shapes, weather, school supplies, transportation, vegetables, sports, plants/grass/trees, clothing etc….
- Students erased the example and created 6 flashcards that matched their theme.
The Benefits of Google Apps.
Hands down, GAFEs best feature is the sharing button. With a few clicks, a document, slide presentation, sheet or drawing can be shared to colleagues or students.
There are 3 permission settings: edit, comment or view.
- Edit: The person who you shared the document with can make changes to the document. This is the highest permission setting.
- Comment: The person who you shared the document with can add comments that appear on the side of the document. He/she can not make changes to the document.
- View: The person who you shared the document with can only read it. This is the lowest permission setting.
Our students were given full editing rights. Once they opened their template, they could add and erase content. Pictured below: These 2 students used separate computers to collaborate simultaneously on one template.
In Faridabad, India
For the video of teachers and students working with the flashcards, click here
The Follow Up
“I want to see the kids using the flashcards” – 6th grade student
When I scheduled the follow up visit, I had two activities planned. First, Kyra’s video. Second, a survey using Google Forms. As students where logging on to their computers, I observed one student turn to a classmate and say, “I want to see the kids using the flashcards”. During the movie, students reacted positively especially when they noticed the flashcards they made being used. The Google Form provided students with the opportunity to voice their reactions to the project. Listed below are a few of the responses.
- After the video I felt happy that the kids loved the flashcards. I saw how thankful they were. I am very happy that they loved the flashcards.
- It makes me happy to see that because of all the kids smiling faces. It makes me feel good about myself that I did something good for kids, who cant afford all the things that we have.
I felt like I did something good, important, and happy. I felt these ways because, they looked so happy, and excited to learn English. Also, I got excited when I saw Lauren and I’s flashcard. The aftermath, I wish I could learn their language one day.
- I felt like I help a lot of kids learn English words.
- It was fun to make the flashcards
- I was very happy to be making flash cards for kids in India. I had lots of fun making them. I love making people happy and I hope to be doing things like this more often.
- I felt so happy seeing them so happy. I felt so proud
I helped out people that don’t have as much as me and it felt good to help a lending hand.
- I love seeing the look on these kids faces as they learn
- When i heard we were making flashcards for kids in India. I was excited because, I know transferring to a different language is hard. Therefore, I got intrigued in this making of flashcards.
- I felt like I made a difference. Those kids at least learned 20 new words that they haven’t known before.
- I enjoyed making these flashcards because I knew it was going to go to a great cause and i love helping other people. So thats why I enjoyed making these flashcards
- I felt happy and a little emotional because of how thankful and excited the children were about learning.
In May of 2015, I wrote a post titled, A Genius Hour Brainstorming Session – A Wake Up Call. Here’s the opening paragraph:
Last month, my son participated in Claremont McKenna’s 3rd Model UN Conference. The College‘s President, Hiram E. Chodosh, addressed the delegates during closing ceremonies. In his speech, he described 3 values that he believes all students need for success: Creativity, Empathy and Courage.
I often find myself coming back to these 3 words.
I appreciate Kyra’s
- courage to travel thousands of miles away to learn about her own culture
- empathetic nature to volunteer her time teaching underprivileged students in India
- creativity and determination to find a way to connect her students with mine.
I appreciate Kim’s
- courage to run this project with me.
- sense of creativity and empathetic nature for generating more ways to help the students of Faridabad.
I appreciate Kim’s students’
- bringing a sense creativity to the project by determining themes and choosing words for those themes.
- excitement, desire to help others and general understanding of the challenges when learning a second language.
- courage to share their feelings
This is such a creative idea and authentic learning experience! Many teachers in my district have been wanting to have their students collaborate in some way with students abroad and I haven’t taken the time to figure out a meaningful way to make it happen. This inspires me to think more diligently about it.
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