Guiding Question for Travel and Reflection

One useful strategy the Fulbright TGC had us use to help frame our travel was to devise a “guiding question” before we left. This insured that the travel would be more than just an adventure, it would be a gateway to research and learning.

To develop your guiding question you need to consider “what overarching themes or concepts you would be interested in exploring further during your international field experience. The topic you focus on should be relevant to your practice in your community ( an issue that affects your school, a curricular theme that you teach, etc)”.

For me, as a teacher librarian who also works with elementary student journalists, I knew I wanted to focus on how students in Morocco  used technology to gather information and share stories.

Having a guided question helped by giving me something to focus on as I was bombarded by new experiences in the field.

It was not feasible for most of us to gather much specific data for our guiding questions during the 10 days we were in the field. But when we all gathered back together in Rabat for debriefing we did have the opportunity to share our guiding questions and collect data from each other.

Attached is an example of these, using my Information/Stories/Technology guiding question.

Guiding question on gathering information
example of a guiding question that is annotated by others

Global Educational Student Assessment Tools

All good teachers know that before you begin teaching anything, it is always best to assess what your target group aka students or teachers or admin, already knows about the topic.

This holds true when working to bring in a global perspective to your classroom or school or district curriculum.

And you don’t have to reinvent the wheel, because there all kinds of assessment tools out there. However, most of what I have found is focused on the secondary level (middle to high school). I found I had to   to do some digging and some adapting for elementary students.

The best source that actually addressed elementary level students (along with high school students) is The Asia Society’s Global Educating for Global Competence.

It is set up as a series of I Can statements to be used as a rubric.


Digital Learning Enviroment

There are sooo many possible ways of connecting to and participating in global education that it can be pretty overwhelming. These five are all free.:

So here are my top 5 favorites:

  1. Flipgrid  and Gridpals
  2. Google Maps
  3. Google Earth  (not the same thing as Google Maps!)
  4. Blogging (link is to Edublogs, the site I use, but there are many others)
  5. Skype for the Classroom


Flipgrid :

I  used Flipgrid to participate in the Global Read Aloud.  It is easy enough for even Kindergartens to use with just a bit of support. It provides a simple platform to record a short (90 seconds is the max) video clip. The students can replay it and rerecord very easily. Flipgrid also has a method of connecting with other schools thru Gridpals.


An example of a Global Education Unit Plan

As part of the work we were required to do for our Teachers for Global Classrooms (TGC), we were expected to develop a Global Education Unit Plan that we would actually use in our school setting.

I chose to develop a plan for my elementary journalism students. I and a fellow teacher work with students from 1st-5th grade who make up our school’s newspaper staff.

Attached is a link to my Global Education Unit Plan. It is in Google Docs. Please contact me if you are unable to open it.


State and District Based Learning Standards

I am fortunate enough to work in a school district (Tuscaloosa City Schools) that understands the importance of a student’s global education.

A TCS graduate is expected to be a:

Global Citizen-
Identifies with being part of an emerging world community and whose actions contribute to building this community’s values and practices.

Continue reading State and District Based Learning Standards

Alabama International Resources

I am dividing this page into 3 sections in the hopes that it will help both my local colleagues as well as my state-wide peers find resources that they might be able to use.

Tuscaloosa/West Alabama:
Tuscaloosa Sister Cities 
University of Alabama/College of Education


NEA (National Education Association)
Asia Society/Center for Global Education
UNICEF/ Lesson Plans


*The 2018-2019 Fulbright Teachers for the Global Classroom had 4 Alabama representatives; the year before had 3.
We Alabama folk are hoping that the 2019-2020 have a strong participation as well.



Heeding the words of experience, even when they are a bit confusing

Before we TGCs (Teachers for Global Classrooms) even left the USA we were cautioned to be ready with an elevator pitch aka a less than 90 second summary of our experiences and/or our position on global education.

But we were also warned against the danger of the “single” story (which is eloquently explained in Chimamanda Ngozi’s TED talk ) To put it much less elegantly and eloquently than she it, it is the danger of stereotyping or oversimplifying a culture.

These are two things worthy of consideration, but just how are we supposed to balance the need for brevity with the desire to do a complicated situation justice?

I suspect every TGCer who comes back from their field experience has the same dilemma.