On a chilly 45-degree day, students bundled up and gathered on the playground to meet their peers in a kindergarten English class at Barstow’s partner school, Colegio La Merced in Córdoba. It was 81 degrees and sunny on that campus — a difference that surprised and delighted the children from both classrooms.
The video conference
required collaboration not only between the schools, but also among Barstow’s kindergarten teachers, the Global Education and Technology Departments, and director of lower school Todd Nelson.
“This gives our students an entry point for inquiry,” Nelson said. “When they return from break, they’ll learn about continents and weather. We’ll pull in some astronomy so they can understand the Earth’s position in relation to the sun. They saw during this lesson that Earth is so big, that it can be an entirely different season in another country.”
Students asked each other questions about time, temperature, seasons and customs to develop an understanding of differences between their Kansas City and Córdoba. Students in Argentina sang about a spring garden, while Barstow students sang about snowmen.
The kindergarten teachers said the students were amazed to find out that while we are getting ready to go on winter break, they are getting ready for summer vacation. The classes plan to reconnect later in March when La Merced students return to school.
“This lesson really personalizes learning by connecting our students with kids just like them,” Nelson said. La Merced students will begin their summer break as Barstow students begin winter break.
Grades 3 & 4 Students Connect Through Letters
Students in grades 3 and 4 are also making friends at La Merced through a letter exchange. In grade 4, students wrote to and received letters from students in Argentina written in Spanish. In grade 3, students learned about each other and their countries through letters written in English.
Ilsy Blachly, Director of Global Education, says the students will continue to collaborate later in the school year in math and social studies. They are also connecting with students at our partner school, the German School of Madrid, in Spain. Because of the time difference, the grade 3 classes can’t communicate in real time, but they are making and sharing videos about holiday traditions in each country. Blachly said she hopes each grade has the opportunity to share letters, videos, live visits and other activities with partner schools throughout the school year.
Global Education Opportunities
Four international trips are scheduled for participating upper school students during the second semester. Students and faculty members will travel to partner campuses for short-term stays in Costa Rica. Argentina, Spain and France between February and May.
For more information about the Barstow Global Education program, travel opportunities and the Global Scholar program, visit our web page.