Larisa Tarasevich is an English teacher in rural Siberia. She has been teaching for 22 years.
Activity: Doves for Peace
I’ve been practicing international collaboration with schools around the world for many years. My classes have participated in parcel, toy, book, and card exchanges; pen pals; and blogging. We use Skype to interview interesting people, for cultural exchange, to participate in Mystery Skype, for video conferences, and research projects.
Kidlink offers lots of exciting projects for students. One of them is Global Landmark game—a challenge in which students from around the world write clues about culturally, historically, and/or geographically significant landmarks. They email these clues to other teams and compete to solve the clues first.
Currently, I’m a coordinator for the Kidlink Doves for Peace project. The idea of the project is sending peace messages to students in different countries. Students of any age can participate. The goal is to create emotional connections between children all over the world. The hope is that they will grow up as global citizens.
Students create paper doves, decorate them, and write peace messages. They also write letters about themselves, the place they live, their school, traditions, etc. Teachers make packages and send them to school partners. The students get packages in exchange. Every step of the project is being photographed and shared in the Facebook project group.
How did this activity impact your students? Did students change an aspect of their behavior or way of thinking?
First of all, participating in any global project gives my students the opportunity to practice English. It creates an authentic situation for them to use their knowledge. Living in rural area in Siberia, Russia, children seldom travel abroad. So, the main way of communicating with native English speakers is using the Internet.
In addition, students broaden their minds. They become more tolerant and respectful to people of all nations and religions because of communicating with peers all over the world. They also show their love for their motherland by sharing these peace messages. It’s so amazing to watch my students while they create their paper doves—how much love they put in it, how they become aware of themselves as a small but meaningful part of our huge diverse world.
What academic topics or standards did you integrate into this specific lesson or activity?
Geography and art are integrated into the process of the project. Students create paper doves and decorate them. They can also create souvenirs and national symbols. They learn geography by studying the peculiarities of the places they get letters from. They also develop their writing and reading skills and practice writing letters.
What advice do you have for teachers who want to get more involved with teaching students about the world across disciplines?
If a teacher is inspired and has a strong desire for global collaboration he or she will find the way! Everything will come to you in a proper moment.
Start with small projects like pan pals or parcel exchanges. Then find the project that is interesting for you and your students! Stay in touch with project partners and continue communication. Be creative and make your ideas live. Give your students an opportunity to touch real things from different countries sent by their peers. Create your own projects and involve your foreign colleagues. To have peace in the world we should start with our children now.
Do you have a favorite book or blog that inspires your teaching?
What is one technology tool or website that supports your teaching?
Do you have a favorite quote that inspires you in your personal life or in your teaching?
Every child is a star and a teacher should support its shining!