Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Our Little Earth

Wow, it's time I start writing again about my teaching year. I will start with thoughts about how to educate students about current world events. Since we live on a tropical island, it can be challenging to help students see what is going on elsewhere in the world. I have to say, there are times I find the island culture similar to rural, midwestern culture, where I grew up. As a kid, it was hard for me to understand what life was like outside of rural Wisconsin. However, I developed a love for other cultures later in my teen years and early twenties, mostly because I was attracted to how others live. Anyway, one way I educate students about current world events is through a website called Our Little Earth.

Our Little Earth is an electronic newspaper that writes about currents events in a kid-friendly way. I use it as part of UHM, or Star Homework (check out Whole Brain Teaching---they're awesome!). For homework each night, my students have a choice for practicing reading comprehension. One of their choices is to read an article on Our Little Earth and write a "good fifth-grade paragraph" explaining what they read.

To me, using this website has been a huge success. I have a handful of students who chooses to do this assignment on a weekly basis, including those who are ESL. We take time some mornings for students to share what they read on Our Little Earth. Some even ask to pray about situations in other parts of the world that they read on the website (I teach in a Christian school).

Since the writers update the website with new articles every two weeks, I am planning on reading and writing or discussing the events as a class later on in the year (after the busy Christmas season is over). For those who are looking to broaden their students' horizons, I highly recommend it!