Poplin elementary’s carnival will feature cultures from around the world
After attending a fall 2010 World View Conference in Chapel Hill and appointed as a UCPS’s 21st Century Teacher, select teachers from the Porter Ridge High School cluster came up with a plan to meet regularly. Labeling themselves a “Globalization Committee,” their goal was to identify ways to share conference learnings with other teachers within the cluster, and to come up with a plan to use technology to help students communicate with others around the globe, according to conference attendee and Poplin Elementary School Media Specialist Beth Medlin.
This year’s “Global Stage,” a last minute addition to the Poplin Elementary School Spring Festival filled with fun-filled family-friendly activities like inflatables, games, prizes and an auction, is part of this plan. “We want our students to experience other cultures first hand through music, clothing and dancing,” fellow conference attendee and Poplin Elementary School First Grade Teacher Michelle Ruby explained.
Taking place on Friday, April 8 from 4-8 p.m., the Global Stage will highlight different cultures with help from students and teachers from Porter Ridge Middle and High Schools. Scheduled performers include the Porter Ridge High School Spanish Club, who will represent the Dominican Republic in song and with a Meringue dance, Native Ukranian and Russian students from PRHS students who will sing Russian songs, and an interactive “Spanglish” song and dance presented by the Porter Ridge Middle School Spanish Club.
Select Poplin Elementary students will also be on hand to play South African drums and perform two Spanish dances. To close the evening, guests can enjoy Irish dancing courtesy of the Walsh Kelley School of Irish Dancers.
The Spring Festival and Global Stage are free and open to the public. Wristbands to participate in games and inflatables cost $10.
While the 12-person Globalization Committee has been quite busy in past weeks preparing for the Global Stage, they have been hard at work for months putting other ideas to work in the classroom. In many instances, the group has been able to incorporate cutting-edge technology to make this a reality. “The conference encourages teachers to bring information in from other cultures,” Ruby said.
To this end, efforts have included using Skype technology so that students can videoconference with international authors, Medlin said. According to Medlin, teachers regularly incorporate a CNN video stream that presents local, national and international news in a child-friendly manner, into classroom discussions. She also notes the use of Google’s “wonder wheel,” a graphic that helps Internet users organize research information in a new and easy to digest fashion.
“Culture Kits” have also become popular instructional tools and have made the classroom rounds within Poplin Elementary according to Ruby. These interactive, hands-on kits contain a country’s flag along with child-friendly objects that represent a foreign culture.
Plans for the Future
The opportunities are endless when it comes to plans for the future. The Globalization Committee is especially excited about the potential for sharing information about other cultures via the Global Stage. “We want to make it bigger—more groups, more international, more global,” Medlin says. “We are just getting our feet wet.”