Relationships and shared personal connections are a huge part of making learning fun, real and something that we remember long after a school year has ended. They are also great for developing empathy, broadening the mind to the experiences of others and cultivating a global mindset. The challenge for schools developing in countries like China is: How can we help students cultivate this global mindset and experience when nearly all of their classmates are from the same country and culture? Bringing teachers from around the world can go long way, but there’s something extra special about kids being able to connect with other kids and share with someone from a far-away land on their own level.
“Hi, my name is Alice; I am from Ghana.” The sweet, soft voice of our first global partner video appeared on the big screen in our classroom. Shivers went down my spine as cheers erupted from my girls. Suddenly, the project became real. After weeks of preparing, thinking about it and discussing it, we finally had contact. For me, it was as exciting as seeing the Apollo landing as a very young toddler…suddenly, the whole world expanded and grew closer at the same moment.
Robbins, North Carolina, is a rural town that just 1,180 people call home. Many of the children in this quiet community don’t have an opportunity to travel to see distant places. However, twenty-five of our 4th-grade students now have good friends more than 7,900 miles away in eastern Africa.
In March of 2016, I departed for Ukraine, and after three months of intense culture and language training, I received my site placement in the small town of Zalishchyky, Ternopilska Oblast. I was assigned to Zalishchyky State Gimnasia which is a specialized Middle School and High School that ranks among the top schools in Ukraine due its uncommon access to resources and passionate teachers. My primary role in the school is to serve as an expert English Language Teacher. … My third role is to create and implement projects for our school and community. Level Up Village (LUV) has become one of many projects.
“That’s why my brother’s thumbs are so long!” The once silent room erupted with laughter. The students were engaged in creating a fictitious family based on particular genetic traits. One student had the revelation that his biological brother was not, in fact, an alien but that a dominant trait in his family’s lineage must have caused his brother to grow really long “alien” thumbs. This activity was part of Global Doctors: DNA, a Level Up Village (LUV) course I taught last spring at John F. Kennedy Elementary School in Windsor, Connecticut.
Greenwich, Connecticut – November 20, 2017 – Level Up Village (LUV) and Zaniac Greenwich today announced they are teaming up to bring one of LUV’s innovative global STEAM (STEM + Arts) programs to Zaniac’s vacation camp this December. LUV’s Global Inventors course will provide students the opportunity to connect and collaborate one-on-one with peers from Hong Kong on a 3D printing project applied to real-world issues.
Level Up Village (LUV) has introduced some exciting new features to its global communication platform in recent months. Two additions, in particular, are proving to be extremely popular: LUV Live Video Chat and Teacher-to-Teacher chat.
By Amanda Spurling, 3rd Grade Teacher, Fayetteville School in Talladega County, Alabama
Education has seen major shifts in the past decade. Rather than providing students all the information they need to learn, teachers now take on more of a facilitator role, guiding students to think and locate information they need for themselves. Moreover, the careers that students are being prepared to enter are changing. As educators, we are challenged to prepare students for careers in a global economy by providing engaging and authentic lessons that tap into important 21st Century skills. One way my school district is tackling this challenge is by partnering with Level Up Village (LUV).
One of the most exciting trends we’ve seen at Level Up Village in the past two years is how our courses are increasingly being offered by schools looking to combine global cross-curricular projects with foreign language. Educators are well aware that they can supercharge their students’ foreign language learning by providing meaningful, real-world opportunities to practice their communication skills. In fact, researchers have learned that second language learning is most effective when students are really excited about the task they’re working on and language is merely the tool they need to get the work done.
“So, what is your favorite subject? Hope you had fun learning about my school day. Tell me about yours!” exclaimed Paige Travers ’25, an exuberant fourth-grade student on the Short Hills campus. She was just wrapping up one in a series of self-made videos in which she explained, with liberal use of hand gestures, her typical school day, her favorite hobby, and what holiday celebration she most enjoyed. Shortly, the video’s recipient in Kenya, would eagerly receive it and respond in kind with a video of her own.