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Global Read Aloud Program 2017

October 10, 2017
Emmetsburg News

by Tracie Christensen, Middle School Principal

The Emmetsburg Middle school reading classes are involved in the the Global Read Aloud project for the second year in a row. Global Read aloud was created in 2010 with a simple goal in mind; one book to connect the world. From its humble beginnings, the GRA has grown to make a truly global connection with more than 2,000,000 students having participated.

The process is simple; we pick a book (from the global read aloud selections) to read aloud to our students during a set 6-week period and during that time we try to make as many global connections as possible. Each teacher decides how much time they would like to dedicate and how involved they would like to be. Some people choose to connect with just one class, while others go for as many as possible. The scope and depth of the project is up to the teacher. While there are official tools you can use such as Skype, Twitter, Write About or Edmodo, Padlet, Deck Toys, Flipgrid, Facebook, etc., the teachers and class choose the tools that will make the most sense for them.

The 5th graders are reading A Wild Robot, a fiction story about a robot with artificial intelligence that allows her to adapt to survive in the wilderness. In preparation for that, the 5th graders have read nonfiction articles about robots, new technology, and artificial intelligence. What seems to be a fictitious story, may not be so far off, after all. The students have responded online to students from many parts of the United States, Canada and Argentina, so far.

The 6th graders are reading A Long Walk to Water, a book based on a true story of one of the Lost Boys of Sudan. This is a story about survival and the strength of human spirit, intertwined with learning how other people in the world live with incredible hardship. In preparation the 6th graders have read and studied the Lost Boys of Sudan, and are working through some materials in small groups where they read and do activities about life in Sudan in the 1980s, and what it was like for the children. They are learning about cultural, economic, nutritional, and educational differences between themselves and children of the Dinka tribe in Sudan. We will also be studying water, and how crucial clean water is for this area of the world. The students are extremely excited about the book and their connections. They just finished mapping some of the places we are connected to.

The 8th graders will also be reading A Long Walk to Water, however their focus will be on how the two main characters seem to be outsiders or outliers in their respective worlds. This book will tie into the Outsiders/Outliers unit which explores people who don't seem to fit the mold, yet the world is a better place because they are a part of it. They have made a connection with a middle school in New Jersey and will connect with them through various Google apps and tools. They will also blog using Write About and tweet with Twitter both of which will allow connections with anyone reading the book.

A Monster Calls is the read aloud book for the 7th graders. It is a fantasy about the challenges a young man faces in school and his home life and the dreams brought on by them. The 7th graders will also use the Write About blogging platform as well as their own blogs they created using Blogger. They have connections with 3 other classes, one in state and two out of state. Those connections will take advantage of many Google apps, Padlet, Twitter, and other tools.

Global Read Aloud provides an avenue for students to connect with students from places they know nothing about. They get very excited with each and every activity that involves connecting with others. There are also a multitude of resources developed by teachers and shared with all. It is exciting for the students and the teachers!



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