Students love to read the comments that their PenPals leave on their writing, but we know that students need support to leave critical, relevant, and helpful feedback. It’s time to take student writing to the next level with new peer assessment & badging!
Now, students have the opportunity to give and receive specific feedback from dozens of peers around the world.
The new peer assessment reviews are designed to help students improve their writing. Instead of simply upvoting a great response, now students can analyze why the response is great by giving reviews like Inspiring, Uses Facts, and Super Spelling. Students also earn badges based on the number of reviews they receive!
See how peer assessment can improve your students’ writing by enrolling in a PenPal Schools topic.
In “Charting a Course for Success: America’s Strategy for STEM Education,” the Executive Office of the President of the United States states that “the pace of innovation is accelerating globally, and with it the competition for scientific technical talent.” The report lays out a strategic five-year plan to improve STEM education in the United States.
PenPal Schools connects students from 150 different countries, so we know that the emphasis on STEM is not only happening in American schools. Teachers around the world have been inundated with STEM projects, curriculum, and resources. STEM education and innovation is no longer limited to the borders of a nation. Technology allows us to connect and collaborate globally, so it’s critical that STEM education prepares students to be competitive in the global STEM workforce. Thanks to the internet, schools across the country and around the world have more access to STEM curriculum and resources than ever before.
Did you know that one in five jobs are connected to international trade? Our world is becoming more interconnected every day, highlighting the need to help our students develop as globally competent citizens that can successfully work with people around the world. This is highlighted by the UN’s fourth sustainable development goal (SDG), which calls for “inclusive and equitable quality education that promotes lifetime learning opportunities for all”. One way that the UN will track this success is by monitoring schools’ use of global citizenship education.
There are hundreds of different ways to engage students in reading, but it can be challenging to implement strategies that work for every student in your class. One of the simplest ways to engage all of your learners is to provide a purpose for reading, but that’s easier said than done!
Global project-based learning is a great way to provide an authentic purpose and engage students in reading. Because project-based learning challenges students with real-world learning experiences, the purpose becomes immediately clear to students. There are a lot of reading comprehension skills that students improve when they connect with their peers through global PBL, like summarizing, supporting claims, and comparing & contrasting.
“Reading comprehension helps to improve the effectiveness of reading and understanding the given text. It enhances the vocabulary, increases the fluency of reading, develops the comprehension skills and also helps an individual to think critically and come to deductions. A student also learns to summarize the given text in less words which helps to express one's ideas in the most effective way. Hence, I think reading comprehension is an extremely important exercise in the learning of a language.”
Teachers from 150 different countries have been using PenPal Schools to connect their students through global project-based learning. We’ve seen educators emphasize reading comprehension skills in different ways as they participate in projects, so we asked them to share some tips and advice for improving reading comprehension. Here are 3 ways to support reading comprehension with global PBL:
This week, students across the United States are participating in Media Literacy Week, but it’s not just students in the U.S. who are discussing media literacy! Fake news affects communities around the world, which is why students have been connecting with their peers globally in Facts, Opinions, and Fake News. Over 1,000 students are participating in this project right now!
The UN Sustainable Development Goals create an agenda to transform our world by 2030. Teachers around the world are supported to bring the Sustainable Development Goals into their classrooms through TeachSDGs. PenPal Schools can also help you connect your students with PenPals around the world to learn more about the SDGs and take action in your local community.
Global project-based learning through PenPal Schools helps students make changes locally that have a global impact. Through action-oriented projects, students engage with their peers around the world to gain global perspectives about a topic that affects people around the world. Whether discussion immigration or the environment, PenPals are exchanging ideas, solving problems in their communities, and sharing solutions with their peers around the world.
The U.S. midterm elections take place November 6, and countries around the world have been watching the midterm races to see how Americans will vote.
To help students make sense of the upcoming elections, PenPal Schools is now offering American Perspectives, where students can learn more about issues like education, healthcare, the economy and immigration.
Project-based learning challenges students to create something original. There are so many digital tools available, it can be overwhelming to find the best resources for your class.
Since all PenPal Schools projects end with a design task, we asked educators in the PenPal Schools community which tools they love the most. Here are the top edtech tools that global educators recommend for PBL. Create videos, drawings, presentations, collages, quizzes, and more!
Guest post written by PenPal Schools Global Ambassador Gary Kolenbrander from USA
I was delighted when PenPal Schools asked if I’d be interested in writing a guest blog post about what I had conveniently termed a “Growth Cultural Mindset,” a lexical mash-up of scholar Carol Dweck’s popular and influential learning theory with the idea of openness to other cultures. While this is a term that occurred to me in a moment of inspiration while preparing a lesson on cross-cultural exchange via Penpal Schools’ online cultural exchange and learning platform, it’s hardly one that I can claim as my own, as it is a fairly obvious association with antecedents in sociological work on cultural competency, as well as existing academic frameworks that already flesh out the relationships between the two concepts. That said, I am honored to have the opportunity to delve into this intersection of ideas that I am both passionate about and believe is sorely needed in today’s world.
We all know that 21st century learners need to be excellent collaborators, but how do you ensure that students are truly collaborating? There are too many horror stories about “group work” really being one or two people working while the rest of the group receives credit. Fortunately, there are a varieties of strategies and resources to help with every piece of the process - from defining responsibilities, to managing tasks, to discussing ideas and creating deliverables. Here are some strategies and tools to help you ensure that collaborative learning is truly collaborative.