Innovation on Earth

Global Citizenship Resources for Innovation Academy and Beyond

Archive for the month “April, 2012”

Dinner on Orthodox Easter

For your viewing pleasure, here’s my first video from Ukraine.  You’ll see the many courses we ate tonight at our first Ukrainian feast. I get the sense that there will be many more to follow.

I am, indeed, stuffed. And now, I must sleep, sleep, sleep.

Arrived in Kyiv

After a long journey and little sleep, I have arrived in Kyiv, Ukraine!  I have my own hotel room and it is lovely, so I am taking a minute to relax and catch my breath before dinner.  Here are some photos of my journey:

I left Boston at 4:30 pm, and arrived in Frankfurt, Germany at 11:30 pm Eastern Standard Time. However, on Germany time it was 5:30 am. So, I ate breakfast and basically missed a night of sleep.

Loki enjoyed the flight, which included a yummy dinner, breakfast, and a showing of The Muppets

We arrived to a gray, drizzly day in Kyiv, Ukraine.

My first challenge was figuring out which was the ladies' room. This?

...Or this?

Driving to the hotel, we got our first glimpse of the Dnieper River, and the city.

I need to review my Ukrainian azbuka (alphabet)! And check out that green car.

This is the view from my hotel room. We are right next to the stadium for Euro Cup 2012.

Tonight we are going to dinner. Most places in the city are closed because it is the Ukrainian Easter.  However, our group will be busy getting oriented to being here!  More posts coming soon.  Thanks to everyone who is following, commenting, and wishing me safe travels.

On your mark. Get set. Go! Write!

It’s hard to believe, but tomorrow I will be getting on a plane for Ukraine.  While I am away, you are invited to be a part of the journey. Students in 5/6 Social Studies will get credit for completing the following work. If you are not in our classes now, ask your teacher if he or she will give you extra credit for completing this.

Student Assignment: You must answer at least three questions below, each based on a different blog entry.  Extension credit will be given for additional answers here, or thoughtful comments on posts. Make sure to use complete sentences.

Packing is under way: I've got the guidebooks, passport, and IACS bracelets to give as gifts to Ukrainian students. Don't worry -- I won't try to fit my bird into my suitcase! She'll stay in Massachusetts to greet me upon my return.

If you’d like to download a copy of the worksheet, click here. I will be blogging away, so I hope you will be reading along and responding.

The Questions:

1. Fun Experiences: Choose something that Ms. Krakauer did that you think would be very fun to do yourself. Write about what it is, and why you’d like to do that too.

2. Challenging Experiences: Choose something that Ms. Krakauer did that you think would be very challenging to do yourself. Write about what it is, and why you’d find it challenging.

3. Culture: Name an aspect of Ukrainian or Turkish culture that Ms. Krakauer encountered. Describe what Ms. Krakauer saw and what this says about the local culture.

4. Religion: Did Ms. Krakauer experience anything relating to the religious beliefs of people in Ukraine and Turkey? Describe what she saw, and how it is similar and/or different to religions that you know about.

5. Education: Read a post about Ukrainian or Turkish schools. What did you find most interesting, surprising, or different compared to our school?

6. Landscape: Describe an aspect of the landscape in Ukraine or Turkey. How does it affect the way people live in that place?

R.I.P. Mina the Newt

Today, Mina the newt passed away.  I believe that I got her around the time that I started working at this school, so she was around 9 years old.  She will be missed by many. She spent many years in the classroom and visited the homes of many students during vacations.

Homebase Salk has decided to bury her amidst the peace rock garden, their global citizenship project. I leave for Ukraine on Saturday, but if I can, I’ll post photos of Mina’s memorial after it’s set up tomorrow.

Mina — you were a good little newt and Innovation Academy will miss you.

UPDATE: As promised, here are a few photos of our Peace Garden and Mina’s grave.  Thanks to Homebase Salk of 2011-2012 for a sweet goodbye to our friend.

Crazy Hair Takes Over

Some of you might be wondering who will take over my class while I am in Ukraine and Turkey.  Don’t worry – students will be in good hands.  Alex McNaughton has been co-teaching one section of Social Studies with me since September, and will be taking over both classes.  Here are some photos of our team enjoying today’s spirit week theme: Crazy Hair Day!


Global Citizenship Projects

We just ended the quarter with a challenge to our students: design a class project that shows good global citizenship.  We gave them a week and some criteria, but the students had a lot of room to be creative.  This is what they came up with, and I couldn’t be more proud.

Homebase Barton decided to make a video educating the public about the issue of child labor. They researched, wrote the script, composed the music on Garage Band, made the art, and starred in the film. I did some facilitation, camera work, and editing, but this is truly their creation:

Homebase Salk decided to make an international rock garden for our school. They wrote, “The flags symbolize that we all come from different places but we are all united and a part of the same community. Homebase Salk created this for our Global Citizenship Project in Social Studies class. Through this project we are all aiming to become global citizens. A global citizen is willing to help people inside and out of their communities. We should all try to respect others and their heritage. Homebase Salk hopes that you will try to be a helpful community member. We hope this project will teach everybody that even the smallest things count.” The actual garden isn’t set up yet, but here are some pictures of the painting process.

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Congratulations to Homebase Barton and Homebase Salk! It’s been a pleasure working with you this year, and these projects show that you have truly grown into active global citizens!

Isn’t travel too expensive?

The open roads of Peru

“You can travel to any country where your heart leads” is a line from one of my favorite songs, Everything Possible, by the fabulous Fred Small. I hope that my students leave my class knowing that the world is their oyster.

But, wait a minute– is that really true? Let’s face the facts.  Travel is expensive and many people live their lives without ever leaving the country, much less the state. Fear can hold us back, but even more real and all powerful is the way money controls our lives. Is everything really possible?

In Western Samoa as a high school student

While I wish that everything WERE possible, I know that my list of countries is far longer than most people’s lists.  I’d love to say that I earned all of these opportunities with my smart choices, creative job searching, and hard work, but I can’t take full credit. In fact, I was born into a family that valued travel and had the financial resources to allow me international experiences at an early age.  When I was fifteen, I spent my first summer abroad, studying French.  At seventeen, I participated in a service-learning program in Western Samoa. These experiences were hugely influential to who I am today, and certainly helped me get into the university of my choice, Northwestern. Negotiating awkward situations trying to navigate dinner conversation in French and sleeping on a straw mat on the floor offered me more than a sense of independence. Traveling abroad in high school taught me that connecting with people despite cultural, racial, and linguistic differences is hard… but worth it. My life is so much richer for all of the experiences I’ve gained learning about other peoples and places. I feel extremely lucky.

Making balloons in Mali

They say that “with privilege comes responsibility.”  My hope is that I can use my experiences and opportunities to help others realize their dreams.  Since I know a lot about international travel, I want to make this offer to any readers out there. Can I support you in finding ways to get overseas? Please get in touch if you are seeking advice in how to get yourself or your children abroad.  I would love to help.

In the meantime, here are some tips for anyone interested in international travel.  Visiting other countries can be part of anyone’s life, but it won’t necessarily be easy.  The first step is really wanting to do it. Get a passport and learn about all the places that are out there. Educate yourself by talking to other people who have gone where you want to go. Then, don’t let money get in your way and start getting creative:

This is the actual ad that I answered in 2000, and this job brought me to Nepal, Thailand, South Africa, Pakistan, and India.

1) Find ways to get paid to travel — My first job after college was as a private tutor for an American family traveling around the world.  I got it by answering an ad in the Boston Globe, and a few weeks later, I was getting paid to hop on a plane to Nepal.

2) Find ways to travel for free — Whether you are a student or working professional, there are all sorts of organizations that sponsor volunteering and studying abroad.  For example, as a teacher, there are lots of grants and volunteer opportunities that will pay for your flight and expenses, like the Teachers for Global Classrooms program.  If you speak English, there are people all over the world who would love to learn from you, and they’ll often help get you there in exchange for your language tutoring.

My homestay family in Guatemala

3) Travel on the Cheap — A hotel room in Western Europe can often cost hundreds of dollars.   However, when I traveled in India, I was able to find a decent room for less than two dollars a night.  Likewise, in Guatemala, I attended a language school that provided one-on-one private Spanish lessons for five hours a day, as well as room and board (all meals and a homestay) for $150 per week. If you look around, there are ways to travel very inexpensively. If couchsurfing and WOOFing aren’t part of your vocabularly, look up these organizations and others that help people travel on a budget. Alternatively, ask around and see if any friends of friends might be able to host you.  Staying with a local is always the best way to really get to know a place, AND you’ll save on lodging costs.

4) Save up— It’s easy to think that we need that new video game or iPad or car, but do we really?  I’ve decided to make choices in my life to save my money for travel.  I don’t own a house or any fancy furniture, but I do have a lot of great stories to tell about experiences that I’ll remember forever.

A moment to remember, the Okavango Delta in Botswana

Love from Vancouver Island, Canada

Of course, it isn’t necessary to travel internationally to have these kinds of cultural experiences, but I wish with all of my heart that each of my students will one day get to experience another country. Most likely, it won’t come cheaply. It’ll take a long time to save up and a whole lot of work.  Probably, at some point while traveling, there will be a moment that is super unfamiliar or lonely or scary.  There will be other moments that elicit a smile from ear to ear.  And it’ll be worth every cent.

So when students say they want to travel like me, I tell them that anything is possible if they make it a priority in their lives. They probably already have resources all around them.  It’s just a question of finding them. And there’s one resource who just wrote this blog entry.

Here I am on a microlight over Victoria Falls, on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe

“Fly the great big sky. See the great big sea. Kick through continents. Busting boundaries… Roam if you want to, Roam around the world… ” — The B 52s

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