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         This is a random one… so fair warning! #1  An enormous THANK YOU to those who nominated iLearn Technology for the Edublog awards (also known as the Eddies).  It is enormously encouraging to be recognized for this little “hobby” I started almost 5 years ago.  You all push me forward, challenge me, encourage me and keep me striving for what’s best for kids.  I appreciate you!  The Edublog awards is a great place to learn about new edu resources that are worth keeping track of. Take a look at the nominees for instant inspiration! Cooperative Catalyst (this certainly has NOTHING to do with me lately…has been a while since I have contributed…but the other bloggers are AMAZING) was nominated for Best Group Blog iLearn Technology was nominated for Best Ed Tech Blog Reform Symposium was nominated for Best open PD/unconference/webinar #2  I am addicted to Pinterest. Addicted. Sometimes I don’t blog because I spend 3 hours lost in Pinning goodness. If you haven’t checked out Pinterest, now is the time. Now, if only I could tear myself away from Pinterest to actually DO those things I pin. 🙂  You can find my boards by searching “Kelly Tenkely”. #3  On Saturday I will be hosting the first annual “Staci” awards (pronounced Sta cee).  Those of you who are fans of the Office will remember the Dunder Mifflin “Dundie” awards.  We have the Anastasis Staci awards. It is going to be epic.  We have some pretty amazing (read hilarious) awards to give out to our teachers and board members.  When you build a dream team staff, get togethers are a WHOLE lot more fun!  The jury is still out for picture sharing from the event…there is no telling what will happen. #4  Speaking of Board Members, we have an incredible board at Anastasis. They are incredibly supportive and approved our desire to send ALL of our staff to EduCon this year!  Philly, I hope you are ready for our awesome. Bam. #5  Only the best for our Board Members, since they all have iPhones, this is the Christmas gift I am giving this year.  Koostik makes iPhone speakers (amplifies sound without power) out of gorgeous wood. Full disclosure: I’m a big fan of the creator of Koostik.  I like to call him dad. He is a genius. And really talented.  And practically perfect in every way (anyone pick up on that Mary Poppins reference?).

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If It Were My Home: Compare Countries Visually

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Anastasis Academy, Evaluate, Foreign Language, Geography, Government, Interactive Whiteboard, Knowledge (remember), Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Understand (describe, explain), Websites | Posted on 11-02-2013

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What it is: We are just heading into a new inquiry block at Anastasis Academy.  The kids are exploring world communities and our interdependence on each other.  If it Were My Home is a fascinating website that asks students to consider what their life would be like if they were born in a different country.  Would they be the same person?  If it Were My Home is a country comparison tool where students can compare living conditions in their own country to those of another.  When students select a country, there is a visual overlay comparison of maps.  Students can easily visualize relative size of another country based on their own state or country.  Students will also see a break down of death rates, HIV/AIDS, birth rate, electricity availability, oil consumption, economic comparison, health care, and class divide.  Students have the ability to compare the country they selected with another country of interest.  Students can learn additional information about the country and vote to show if they would rather live in the chosen country.  Additionally, most countries offer a recommended reading list with books about the selected country.  When students click on the mini-facts, they get a full description of the fact along with the original source.  SO stinking cool!

How to integrate If it Were My Home into the classroom: If it Were My Home is an outstanding way for students to visualize and compare other countries to their own.  I love that this site helps students with geography, but also reveals that there is a real world community that is interdependent and diverse.  This site helps students recognize the unique place they are in the world and how it relates to other countries.  I love the added awareness of human rights and social justice issues that this site encourages.  In our inquiry unit, we are looking at what the facts listed on the site mean about the government, belief systems, human rights, equality, social justice and landscape of the countries they represent.

This is a site that can be used to help students ask bigger questions.  To see a fact about another country, and ask what bigger problems might be revealed, what we can learn from other countries, and break down some stereotypes that students may have about other countries.

Ask each student to choose a country to compare to their country of origin.  Have students pair up with a partner and compare their chosen countries to the country of origin.

Choose “Disasters” from the menu at the top of the screen to view some natural and man-made disasters that affected the lives of millions of people.  Students can view the scope of the disaster in relation to where they live, helping them to better visualize the impact that man-made and natural disasters can have on a population.

Tie in a creative writing project and have students imagine that they are moving from their country of origin to their chosen country.  Students can use the information and comparison as inspiration for their fictional story about what life would be like in their new home.   Students could also write a short autobiographical story about growing up in their country of origin, followed by a short “autobiographical” type story about their life growing up in a different country.

Use the statistical data in If it Were My Home for some real world mathematical comparison between countries.  If Rwanda has a 10.7 times higher chance of dying in infancy, how many infant deaths does it expect on average per year?  If Rwandans make 98.06% less than Americans, what would you expect an average salary to be?

I used Rwanda as my example because Rwanda is where we started our first Anastasis sister school.  Our 2nd-3rd grade class has been absolutely fascinated with Rwanda and poured over this site to learn more. 🙂

Tips: Encourage your students to read one of the recommended books about the country they chose. This will help them understand more about the country they chose, and give the people in that country voice beyond the facts listed.

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using  If it Were My Home in your classroom.

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