We are so lucky to get to work with and support incredible educators from around the world. This week, meet Liz Bailey, our Global Ambassador from New Zealand. She’s taught students in the USA and New Zealand, and expands PenPal Schools projects to connect them with other school-wide projects! Learn more about Liz and why she loves PenPal Schools.
How long have you been using PenPal Schools and what do you love most about it? How has learning with PenPals impacted your students?
I have been using PenPal Schools for about 10 months. I use Penpal Schools to give my students authentic opportunities to learn about the world around them. They also are learning valuable 21st Century Skills, like online communication and how to investigate further. I love that no matter what our topic is, they are learning about Geography and Communication.
My students have a purpose to write well because they know their PenPals will read what they write. They are also much more engaged in their writing because they are learning about things that interest them and that are part of the world. I am seeing students taking what they are learning through PenPals and investigating it further outside of class. It has really inspired by students.
Liz asked her students what they like about PenPal Schools, and they told her….
"(I like) that you can learn off it and talk to people that you don’t know but in the end you will get to know them and what they like and what I like."
"I like how you can talk to people around the world and see what happens in other countries and also learn about more about someone else."
"It helped me in knowing more about other people and about history."
"We get to learn more design and creativity."
"The pollinator one helped me by inspiring me to plant some flower. A bee was on my ear but it stung me I feel bad for the bee because it died."
"I guess only by helping me learn more, inspiring me to protect the planet."
What is your favorite PenPal Schools project?
I loved Protecting the Planet because it tied in so well with our Inquiry and it led to some great classroom discussions. These are some of the things my students said about their favorite projects:
"I liked learning about all of the different types of flags and what the design is called. I quite like art so I liked creating my own Pipland flag!" (Flags of the World)
"I liked this project (World Explorer) because it was my introductory to PenPals and I liked the way I got to experience what other countries do in day to day life. It was very intriguing."
"I liked it (Robotics) because I found out more stuff about robots and the stuff I found out I found interesting."
Check out this National Geographic’s Educator Spotlight feature Liz and her students who participated in Protecting the Planet!
What advice do you have for teachers that are new to PenPal Schools?
Get involved with the projects and integrate them into your plans, giving students time to really dive deeper into the topics.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
Portugal or Greece. I love different cultures and am fascinated with history. I would love to be immersed in new language, culture, food, history, etc.
You can get in touch with Liz in our Facebook group for PenPal Schools Global Educators or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks Liz for being a great Global Ambassador!
Are you an innovative global educator? Learn more about our Global Ambassador program here and apply today!