Help Your Students Go Global and Cross Cultures

By: Mike Fisher

cross cultures
Photo: RBFried/iStockPhoto.com

The folks at Twisted Sifter shared a really cool compilation of maps this week in their article 40 Maps That Will Help You Make Sense of the World. These cool maps gave me a chance to reflect on the world from different perspectives and I wondered how awesome some of these conversations would be in the classroom.

The Twisted Sifter post was a great reminder, especially here at the beginning of the next school year, that educators have a responsibility to share other perspectives around the world and invite those perspectives into the classroom.

In fact, it’s one of the seven College and Career Readiness Capacities that are the umbrella over the entire ELA Standards document. This capacity asks that students come to understand other perspectives and cultures.

I thought I would share some resources and opportunities for taking your classroom to the global level this school year. There’s so much online now to connect us all and there’s never been a better time to learn to “flatten” your classroom!

Here are 14 great sites to get you started:

  • What The World Eats from Time.com – Photographs by Peter Menzel from the book Hungry Planet.
  • Skype in Education – Connect with teachers from the around the world!
  • Postcrossing – Postcrossing is a project that lets you receive real postcards from around the world!
  • Gapminder – shows the world’s most important trends
  • Kiva – Empower people around the world with $25 loans. (This is the website Janet Hale and I wrote about in our book, Upgrade Your Curriculum, in the Microloans chapter!)
  • Leading for Global Competency” – article from Educational Leadership about our global responsibilities in the classroom.
  • Around the World With 80 Schools – website created by our colleague Silvia Tolisano (Langwitches) that helps to connect teachers and schools around the world!
  • Global Education – Teacher resources that encourage a global perspective across the curriculum.
  • Global Education Partnership from Discovery Education. (Currently being revamped but still has some resources with much more to come!)
  • The GLOBAL tag at the Curriculum 21 Clearinghouse.
  • Project Explorer – bring the world into your classroom with a vast amount of multimedia resources!
  • The Global Ozone Project – connect with schools around the world that measure air pollutants on a regular basis!
  • NewspaperMap.com – Extremely cool interactive site that lets you explore newspapers from around the world in multiple languages and includes archives that, in some cases, go back over a century!
  • The Asia Society – From their website: The Asia Society is the leading educational organization dedicated to promoting mutual understanding and strengthening partnerships among peoples, leaders and institutions of Asia and the United States in a global context.

I know that there is a lot here! For now, just pick one thing. Or better yet, let your students choose and perhaps teach each other (and YOU!) about connecting to and learning about and from people around world.

We live in an awesome time of connectivity and there’s never been a better time to plug in! Go global this year and give your students the gift of different perspectives, the gift of understanding our global commonalities, the gift of discovery about other cultures. In short, give your students the world this school year!

Special thanks to my good friend Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano, a global education expert! Several of the sites I shared were pilfered from her Diigo account! If you have a Diigo account, she would be an EXCELLENT addition to your network!

If you know of any additional awesome global resources, please share them in the comments section below!

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One thought on “Help Your Students Go Global and Cross Cultures”

  1. Newspapermap.com is pretty cool! We are going to be utilizing this resource this year for current events in our Spanish 4 Honors course. Looking forward to see how the kids like it.

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