Sunday, August 12, 2012

Virtual Field Trip

Here is the link to my virtual field trip:  EDIM 508 Final Project

For my final project for this course, I created a virtual field trip that takes my students to a few places around the French speaking world.   When I first thought of an idea for this project, I thought that I would just have students learn information about various French speaking places.  Then, I thought that I should try and include some grammar and vocabulary into the assignment.  Culture is easy to teach, but it’s difficult sometimes to find assignments that involve grammar that my students would be interested in.  Therefore, I decided to have my students write a journal entry in the past tense that describes a trip they took around the French speaking world. 

This assignment would help my students develop their respectful and ethical minds.  This virtual field trip exposes students to aspects of the life and culture in four distinct areas of the Francophone world.  It brings in aspects of daily life, art, geography, animals, landmarks, and much more.  This assignment allows students to look at other cultures and places in a way that is exciting and motivating.  “We can no longer simply draw a curtain or build a wall that isolates groups from one another indefinitely” (Gardner, pg 94).  It is vital that our students learn about other ways of life.  So many of my students have never left the greater Baltimore area, and they have no idea what life is like in places outside of Maryland.  It is especially important for me, as a French teacher, to help my students see beyond Maryland.

It is important for “human beings to accept the differences, learn to live with them, and value those who belong to other cohorts” (Gardner, pg 94).  A big concept that I teach is “different, not weird”.  When my students begin learning French, and learning about the various cultures, I hear the word “weird” constantly.  I work hard to change that way of thinking.  My students eventually come to understand that other cultures are not weird, they are just different than what they are used to.  “Respect for others should permeate one’s life”, and I hope that through assignments such as this one, I can help my students learn to respect other cultures (Gardner, pg 111).

Project Resources:

Gardner, H. (2007). Five Minds for the Future. Harvard Business School Press: Boston, MA

Eiffel tower. (2008). Retrieved from
Reinhardt Dining. (Photographer). (2012). Paris cafe. [Web Photo]. Retrieved from

Consulate General of Madagascar. (n.d.). Madagascar tourism. Retrieved from

Travel Tahiti. (Photographer). (n.d.). Dance. [Web Photo]. Retrieved from

Pioch, N. (19, September 2002). Gaugin, paul. Retrieved from

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Respectful and Ethical Minds

This week’s topic of the Respectful and Ethical minds was one that I related to very quickly.  As I have mentioned before, I teach at an IB-MYP school.  So much of what we do in our school is related to developing these minds.  One of the biggest connections I thought of was the Learner Profile.  These are ten characteristics that we try and get our students to embody throughout the MYP program.  These characteristics are posted in every classroom and throughout the school, and are part of our school’s vocabulary.  The characteristics are:

·         Caring

·         Communicators

·         Respectful

·         Principled

·         Risk-takers

·         Balanced

·         Inquirers

·         Knowledgeable

·         Open-Minded

·         Thinkers

“Humans exhibit a deep-seated tendency to create groups”, and I think that these Learner Profile characteristics help our students learn how to interact appropriately within their groups (Gardner, pg 92).

In my classroom, I work very hard to help develop respectful and ethical minds.  I teach not only the French language, but I teach about various cultures throughout the French speaking world.  Most of my students have never left the greater Baltimore area, so world cultures are completely unknown to them.  Knowledge of other cultures around the world leads students to understanding and compassion”, and I certainly try to expose my students to other cultures in my class (Reed, 2007).

In her article, Reed suggests the use of e-mail in order to promote global learning.  I would like to try this in my class this coming school year.  My school district has finally approved the use of e-Pals, and I can not wait to try it out!  In speaking with language teachers from other districts that have used e-Pals, they have nothing but praise for the site.  They have linked up with classes throughout the world, and exposed their students to other cultures.  It also provides a wonderful way for students to communicate in French.

Another project I would like to do that promotes global learning is podcasting.  Getting my students to communicate orally in French is a struggle.  I think that they would be excited to create podcasts, and would therefore be more willing to speak in French.  If I can link up with a classroom through e-Pals, my students could share their podcasts with other students throughout the world.  It would also be exciting for them to hear podcasts from their e-Pals.

My school certainly promotes developments of our students’ respectful and ethical minds.  The IB-MYP curriculum framework is very much geared towards global learning and character development.  There are many exciting things that I would like to try in my classroom to help promote these goals.


Gardner, H. (2007). Five Minds for the Future. Harvard Business School Press: Boston, MA

Reed, J. (2007, September 28). Global collaboration and learning [Web log message]. Retrieved from