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.
Do you remember learning rhymes and poems when you were younger? Poetry is a fun way to develop language skills, remember lessons, and share stories! However, surveys show that fondness for poetry fades as children grow older, with only 11.7 percent of the adult population reading poetry in the last year. Reading and writing poetry has several benefits for students, including increasing empathy, building vocabulary, improving public speaking skills, and chunking information into memorable pieces. So, how can we teach poetry to help our students develop these skills and maintain a love for the genre?
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:
Teach the SDGs: A student from Ukraine speaks out for the environment in this project based learning example
Poverty, the environment, health, energy, equality: these are just a few of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals for education. These problems will take global collaboration and teamwork to solve. Teaching the SDGs with global project based learning helps equip students with the skills they will need to help create a brighter, healthier future with peers around the world.
Today’s PenPal Star is Dariia from Ukraine. Dariia participated in Joining Forces for the Environment to learn about the biggest issues facing our planet and the actions that people are taking to protect it. Through global project based learning, Dariia was able to collaborate with students around the world and plan how she could take action to help our planet. Her school in Ukraine emphasizes project based learning to develop global citizenship.
Over 2,000 students from around the world participated in the Global School Pride Contest, sharing what makes their school special in the PenPal Schools project Schools Around the World. We’re excited to announce the winners from this contest: Iris, Ava, Lauren, and Catherine from Trinity Preparatory School in Florida, USA!
Researchers and scientists think that when people show gratitude, they make themselves and those around them feel even happier. What are your students thankful for? In November's special PenPal contest, we invite students from around the world to discuss and share their gratitude through photography!
This week, we are excited to celebrate Mrs. Cain’s 6th grade Digital Citizenship class from Georgia, USA as our newest PenPal Stars! They participated in A World of Food, learning about different foods and cultures through project based learning with students from around the world. This class of 6th graders worked in teams to create global cookbooks, share about secret ingredients, and compare meals from different countries around the world! Check out their incredible work in this project based learning example:
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.