Today was a first for a few. I worked with Carol's Room 3 class at Paengaroa and then a surprise presented itself to work with Kathy's Room 2 class as well afterwards. Both are venturing into travel buddies and I am only too happy to share my experience, over 10 years of travel buddies. I just love this way of learning for students, mainly because they love it so much too. It provides a great learning tool for children from 5 to 13 and their teachers! Over the years we have had exchanges to Ireland, England, Scotland, Nova Scotia, Alaska, Canada, USA, Australia and even a kibbutz in Israel, to name a few.
Travel buddies involves an exchange of a soft toy between classes of a similar age. While your class hosts the other classes buddy the children write in the buddy's diary, email the other class regularly, share information about each other's cultures and learning and a myriad of other activities. The children become very attached to the toys who have names, a passport, a persona, a date of birth etc. The students see their travel buddy very much as another class member.
It is great to see the uptake and how contagious this has become within our cluster. Travel buddies provides such a rich, real and relevant context for learning. It provides a genuine purpose in writing and reading and a scaffold for students to share and celebrate their own learning. It provides a stimulating environment for all of us to discover and learn about other people in our global neighbourhood. In learning about others we end up learning so much more about ourselves.
To find out more visit http://rite.ed.qut.edu.au/oz-teachernet/
I have a resource kit too with some of the examples and sample of work I have done over the years.
One wonderful addition to this activity is the development of a classroom blog to support the learning, and after school this afternoon I shared Classblogmeister with the staff at Pukehina School....