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GEEO Lesson Plan Database

GEEO asks that each educator participant traveling with us create a classroom action for how they will share their GEEO overseas experience with their students. Sometimes this can be a simple lesson plan and other times this can be a program that stretches throughout the school year. Below you will find some examples of action plans that our participants have submitted in the past. If you are traveling with us feel free to use these as inspiration when creating your own action plan. You can sort these plans by subject matter, destination or contributor by clicking "List By" below.

Subject: Principal | Grades: 6, 7, 8

Location: Costa Rica 2011

Contributor: Hector Galicia

Lesson Plan

Creating a cultural week or a couple of days at my school. One of the countries that would be included would be Costa Rica. Every department will be able to pick a country, Costa Rica being one. In addition, they will either look at the food/art(elective classes) music (music dept), government (history), eco system (science) and etc.

Pre-Departure Preparation

Prior to my departure I would need to put it on the school calendar. Also, once I arrive in Costa Rica I will see if any of the places that we visit provide me with information or artifacts that I can bring back to my school.

Preparation During Travel

During my visit I will need to look at art, visit authentic resturants with Costa Rican food, or places of entertainment to get an idea of their culture. Finally, I would like to get any information possible or visit a place that would give me an insight of Costa Rican government.

Subject: Music | Grades: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Location: Costa Rica 2011

Contributor: Megan Ashe

Lesson Plan

I would like to learn traditional Latin American music and have each grade perform a song in the winter concert or spring concert. The performance will be done for two concerts- a school day concert and a concert in the evening for parents and family. I will also display pictures through an online album to share my travel experience with my students so they understand the area of the world where the music comes from and create a few assignments (classroom and homework) based on those pictures. I will also discuss Costa Rica's musical customs and how it is taught in schools over there. A lot of our students are Latina, so I feel it is important they sing music they may be familiar with. On the other hand, it is important that students who are not Latina also have exposure to music from other cultures and feel comfortable speaking in another language- especially since spanish is a major language spoken here in the U.S.

Pre-Departure Preparation

I will research various traditional holiday songs and pop songs from Costa Rica to have an idea what I should be asking for over there. I am also going to work with a spanish teacher here at school to learn some important phrases to make communication easier.

Preparation During Travel

I would like to attend a couple of music events (i.e. concerts or symposiums) if at all possible so I can see their performance styles and their imstrumentation. I would also like to go to a nightclub that has live bands- some of the best music comes out of a dive nightclub! I would like to meet with a music teacher in Costa Rica and speak with them to learn about music customs and traditions. I will also look for recordings of music as well as sheet music while I am there so I can use it for the performance. It is important the music be as authentic as possible.

Subject: All Subjects | Grades: 5

Location: Argentina/Uruguay/Brazil 2011

Contributor: Chaya Harris

Lesson Plan

In fifth grade in our district, students work on several different types of numeric conversions throughout the year. I plan to use money from various countries to teach them a very useful skill through hands-on activities. I will collect money from the countries I visit and ask other teachers traveling abroad to bring back samples as well. In the fall, students will research current exchange rates and figure out how many USD the money is worth and vice versa.

Pre-Departure Preparation

Research Exchange rates and local currency so I know what to collect, ask other teachers to collect money if they are also traveling this summer.

Preparation During Travel

Collect and bring back coins and dollars, stay aware of exchange rates

Subject: English | Grades: 6, 7, 8

Location: Argentina/Uruguay/Brazil 2011

Contributor: Laurel Tanza

Lesson Plan

In groups students will design a tourist brochure/power point for Argentina, Brazil, or Uruguay. In their brochure/power point they will include information such as tourist attractions, local currency, languages spoken, cuisine, methods of transportation, music, and cultural activities, dances, etc. After creating their brochures/power points students will present the information to other classes to try and get students to come and "visit" their country.

Pre-Departure Preparation

I will need to do research on different types of music from each country I am visiting, and find out what cultural activities each country has to offer. I will also need to learn what typical dishes are so that I can eat them, and learn how they are prepared.

Preparation During Travel

I will talk to locals and learn vocabulary that is specific to that region in relation to food, events, and communication. I will attend a dance show, learn how to cook or prepare a meal. I will take pictures of tourist attractions I visit during my trip. I will also take pictures of the methods of local transportation, dances. I will also buy CDs of music from each country so I may share it with my class. I will bring back currency from each country to share with my students.

Subject: Spanish | Grades: 6, 7, 8

Location: Argentina/Uruguay/Brazil 2011

Contributor: Jen Lipson

Lesson Plan

Incorporate culture of Uruguay and Argentina into the curriculum; use money to talk about the exchange rate, let students do a market activity using the money as part of the activity. Current event Friday: Have students bring in an article from either Argentina or Uruguay and share with the class about what is happening.

Pre-Departure Preparation

Research the current exchange rates of the monies as well as see what typical items are sold in each country.

Preparation During Travel

Get samples of money from the various countries, photograph/record types of products found in those countries specific to that country.

Subject: Art | Grades: Preschool, Kindergarten, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Location: Costa Rica 2011

Contributor: Catherine Rae

Lesson Plan

I am an art teacher and I would like to teach my students about art in Costa Rica. I would like to create a couple units where students can make a few art projects based on what I saw and researched from Costa Rica. I am also going to make a power point with photos from my trip and explain the the children all about beautiful Costa Rica!

Pre-Departure Preparation

I will research popular art work in Costa Rica so I not only know some background info, but also what to look out for while I'm there.

Preparation During Travel

I will visit local art galleries, ask locals about popular art in Costa Rica, and take many pictures during the trip to add to my power point presentation. I will also take beautiful landscape photos as inspiration for paintings.

Subject: Science & Business | Grades: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Location: India/Nepal 2011

Contributor: Sharon Willets

Lesson Plan

Since I am a business teacher, I want to teach my students about International business etiquette in India. The students will research India's business etiquette and compare it to other Asia countries and the United States. Then they will present their findings via a PPT and present it to the class.

Pre-Departure Preparation

I will research business etiquette in India.

Preparation During Travel

I will talk to various different business owners. I will also ask the local business owners in the villages that we will be visiting about etiquette in business appearance, dress attire, and communication. I will take many pictures to include businesses and dress attire that students will be able to use in their presentations.

Subject: Social Studies, Language Arts & Religion | Grades: 6, 7, 8

Location: India/Nepal 2011

Contributor: Rosemary Conroy

Lesson Plan

I plan to create some amazing power point presentations on history and culture for my two World History classes that will emphasize the diversity and richness of the Indian culture. I hope to supplement this with craft items, samples of music, art, etc. to create an artifact teaching trunk for our building. Because I teach a world religions unit in my religion curriculum I also intend to do a power point presentation on Hinduism and Buddhism with an emphasis on religious beliefs, commonalities, and forms of worship.

Pre-Departure Preparation

I'm planning on doing a lot of reading so that I can ask focused questions and have a game plan of what I want to focus on.

Preparation During Travel

I plan to take advantage of the opportunity to visit as many historical, cultural and religious sites as possible. I hope to take advantage of any cultural presentations that might be made available to us. I hope to interview or talk to as many local people as possible and to take as many pictures as possible.

Subject: English | Grades: University

Location: India/Nepal 2011

Contributor: Linda Ericksen

Lesson Plan

I will require that students read "Gandhi, His Life and Message for the World" by Louis Fischer. They will have to write an essay on Gandhi's goals, accomplishments, and methods. To accompany the following class discussion, I will present a slide presentation of my photos showing the Gandhi Museum which contains the memorial walk from his simple room to the place of his death and also the Gandhi Memorial with the eternal flame. Both of these sights are in New Delhi.

Pre-Departure Preparation

none needed.

Preparation During Travel

I will take photos at the Gandhi Museum and Gandhi Memorial.

Subject: Gifted | Grades: Kindergarten, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Location: India/Nepal 2011

Contributor: Jennifer Petruska

Lesson Plan

My fifth grade students will complete a novel study about Peak by Roland Smith. This novel is about a boy named Peak who attempts to be the youngest person to climb Mount Everest. Peak leaves New York City for Kathmandu, Nepal, and begins the long trek up the mountain. In addition to practicing reading strategies and analyzing literary devices, my students will learn about the life of Nepalese Sherpas, the struggle between Tibet and China, and the perils of climbing the world’s tallest mountain. My sixth grade students study world leaders through literature. Our second unit of study is Gandhi. First, students read a biography of Gandhi and learn about the Indian culture, religions, language, and caste system. Then, we read the novel Keeping Corner by Kashmira Seth. The novel about a young girl named Leela who is in the Brahman caste. She suddenly becomes widowed and is forced to stay in her home and “keep corner” for a year. While in seclusion, she learns about Gandhi and how he is fighting for the rights of women and to eliminate the caste system. During the novel, we will learn more about the Hindu god Ganesh and the goddess Lakshmi. Students will make a Rangoli design like the characters did to celebrate Diwali. In 2010, I started an International Night at my school. I will add the countries of India and Nepal to this night. I will create displays with my students based on our units of study. My goal is to bring in someone to apply mehndi on the students’ hands and someone to teach Hindi lessons.

Pre-Departure Preparation

I will research important places in Kathmandu as well significant places in Gandhi’s life. I will read more about the current state of the caste system in India. I plan to read memoirs and novels set in Nepal and India to help me better understand the culture. I will buy a Hindi phrase book and an app for my tablet to practice basic phrases.

Preparation During Travel

To enrich my Gandhi unit, I will visit sites important to Gandhi's life such as the Gandhi Smriti in New Delhi where he spent the last days of his life. I will ask my guide for more information about the Hindu religion, the caste system, and Nepal’s views of Tibet. I would like see a traditional dance or musical performance. Whenever I get a chance, I will read local newspapers to find out more information about current events in both countries. To share one way women celebrate religious festivals or weddings, I will try to get mehndi on my hands and videotape the process. My students always enjoy seeing foreign currency so I will save Nepalese and Indian coins and bills. Since I will have a few extra days in Kathmandu, I will plan a trip to Mount Everest so I can give my students more background knowledge. Postcards of famous sites, Hindu gods/goddesses, and Mount Everest’s base camps and summit will help my students visualize important events in the novels so I will be on the look out to purchase as many as possible. Finally, I will take many photos and videos to share what I see and learn with my students.

Subject: All subjects | Grades: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Location: Egypt 2011

Contributor: Jo Ann Summerall

Lesson Plan

I plan to coordinate Egyptian Studies, with our Global teacher for the annual Global Fair. I would like to include architecture, music, art, food, culture and customs for our student body. ( Previously, this school year our class viewed videos and DVDs about Egypt for background knowledge.) I plan to help the students create model pyramids for the annual Global Fair. We will prepare taste testing food items for the Global Fair as Egyptian music and photos are on the Power Point Global Fair Display. Meet with an Egyptian Elementary school teacher to unite our schools for a Global Fair and share school addresses and emails to have an ongoing dialogue with students, if possible.

Pre-Departure Preparation

I have previously viewed videos and DVDs concerning Egypt and Egyptians, culture and customs. Bring my camera and plenty of memory sticks.

Preparation During Travel

I will need to take photos, gather available menus from restaurants, purchase Egyptian music CDs and possibly DVDs and speak with a local teacher about how to coordinate an International Global Fair between our schools,

Subject: Geography | Grades: 6, 7, 8

Location: Egypt 2011

Contributor: Carmen McCurren

Lesson Plan

My geography students will plan their own trip to Egypt. Through researching travel locations in Egypt, they will create an itinerary and write a postcard to a friend describing what they have seen and done while on this trip.

Pre-Departure Preparation

I will begin to find travel and tourism sites my students can use to research destinations they would like to incorporate into their trip.

Preparation During Travel

I will take pictures along the trip to give students some ideas of places they can include in their project.

Subject: English | Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Location: India/Nepal 2011

Contributor: Janet Matthews

Lesson Plan

I will be teaching "The Ramayana" and would like to be photographing temples, sites, and Indian dieties that mentioned in the epic. I also would like to interview some people about the importance of this epic and their knowledge about Rama and Sita.

Pre-Departure Preparation

I will have a list of the setting, deities, and rituals.

Preparation During Travel

I will take pictures and photographs and interview people during my free time.

Subject: ESOL, Reading, English | Grades: 6, 7, 8

Location: India/Nepal 2011

Contributor: Ellen Taylor

Lesson Plan

I will have an "India" day when I read Indian folktales (while wearing a sari). Students will write their version of an Indian folktale.

Pre-Departure Preparation

I will research simple folktales related to the Indian culture.

Preparation During Travel

I will buy a sari! I will ask about Indian folktales, and hopefully buy a book of simple folktales.

Subject: All subjects | Grades: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Location: India/Nepal 2011

Contributor: La Donna Pitts

Lesson Plan

I strongly believe in cross-curricular lessons and I intend to teach about rangoli designs used during traditional festivities in India. Students will then use various materials to constuct their designs which will incorporate geometric shapes and symmetry that they have learned in math class. These designs will be displayed in locations throughout the school, possibly culminating during our annual neighborhood art fair.

Pre-Departure Preparation

I will continue to research how recyclable materials can be used to create these designs. Furthermore to examine how they can be related to our character education program currently in place in our curriculum, having discovered that these designs signify cultural mannerisms and hospitality.

Preparation During Travel

During my time in India, it will be necesary to find examples of the rangoli designs and to discuss with the native people how they were constructed and what the significance of each of the elements are. I expect some of the designs also relate to their religious beliefs and certain deities and while visiting temples, etc., I will explore these connections to the different designs.

Subject: English/Language Arts | Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Location: India/Nepal 2011

Contributor: Elizabeth Kriynovich

Lesson Plan

I am a ninth-grade World Literatures teacher, and a central theme of our curriculum is "The Hero's Journey." We explore various aspects of the journey pattern in literature throughout the year. I am going to include a unit on the life/legend of the Buddha.

Pre-Departure Preparation

I am researching Buddha's life and reading introductory Buddhist philosophy.

Preparation During Travel

I will take photos and gather information in Lumbini, Buddha's birthplace, and Sarnath, location of his first sermon, to add to my lessons about Buddha's life and teachings.

Subject: Science, Chemistry | Grades: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Location: Peru 2011

Contributor: Eileen McNamee

Lesson Plan

I will teach my students about the science used to build Machu Picchu and introduce photographs into the classroom

Pre-Departure Preparation

I will research the science used to build the buildings in the area of Machu Picchu.

Preparation During Travel

Photograph the areas we visit and take notes on the information I learn during the trip

Subject: Biology | Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Location: Southern Africa 2010

Contributor: Deanna Brunlinger

Lesson Plan

I will do a Hunger Banquet with my students and all freshman World Culture classes to bring awareness about people (especially children) in need worldwide of an adequate food supply and clean drinking water. I will also use the examples of biomes when teaching them in my classes. I will compare characteristics of the critters (flora and fauna) found in each of the biomes to those native to Wisconsin.

Pre-Departure Preparation

I will research population, birth and death rate, population pyramid, education, income and crime statistics for each of the countries we visit. I will also research biome and critter distribution.

Preparation During Travel

I will take pictures of the poorer and wealthier regions and people to provide contrast of haves and have-nots. I will also take pictures of evidence of biome characteristics. I will take pictures of every critter I see and attempt to identify it!

Subject: Reading | Grades: 6, 7, 8

Location: Peru 2010

Contributor: Kate Doniger

Lesson Plan

"I am a reading teacher and I would like my students to follow Peru in the news. I plan to have my students read newspaper and magazine articles with topics related to news, politics, history, culture, and natural disasters in Peru. I already have an article from National Geographic Explorer to start the year. The article discusses picking ""The New Seven Wonders of the World."" There is a section in this article with a picture and description of Machu Picchu. Another idea I have is reading a Peruvian Fairy Tale. I have a lesson where students read different versions of Cinderella from around the world. I could add a Peruvian story to this lesson."

Pre-Departure Preparation

I will research Peruvian literature and fairy tales.

Preparation During Travel

I will take plenty of pictures of people, architecture, and the mountains in Peru to share with my students. I hope to use these pictures as a way to get my students interested in learning more. While in Peru, I plan to talk to teachers and other people we meet about Peruvian literature.

Subject: Science | Grades: 6, 7, 8

Location: Peru 2010

Contributor: Christina Luzzi

Lesson Plan

I am a science teacher and I would like to teach my students about Peruvian agriculture and engineering. I will collect climate data and have students compare to New York City climate data. Students will use engineering skills learned to create a design experiment as their 8th grade exit project.

Pre-Departure Preparation

I will research the climate and agriculture of the towns we will be visiting. I will create data tables to collect information on the sites. I will also research engineering and architecture techniques specific to the Peruvian culture.

Preparation During Travel

I will take pictures of the indigenous plants. I will talk to the locals about their culture and traditions in relation to agriculture. I will take pictures of the Peruvian structures, I will also note what time period they were built. On one of the free nights I will attend a museum.

Subject: English | Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Location: Peru 2011 and Argentina/Uruguay/Brazil 2011

Contributor: Kate DeFeo

Lesson Plan

I am a fiction writing teacher. I am planning on using photos from my summer adventures in order to create a photo-fiction unit. The students will pick photographs from an array of places and people....etc and then will generate a piece of fiction based on the photograph that they choose. This will get them to use more creative settings and characters when they are writing their fiction and for them to realize that fiction can be generated from a picture. I would love this to spin into a magical realism unit.

Pre-Departure Preparation

I will be actively reading short fiction from South American authors in order to get a feel of their writing and setting and characters.

Preparation During Travel

I will be actively taking photos during my trips this summer and finding the most creative shots possible to bring back into my classroom.

Subject: Technology | Grades: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Location: Peru 2011

Contributor: Scott Lerner

Lesson Plan

A major part of my third grade curriculum is an archaeology unit where students simulate an actual excavation on one of five civilizations. As a technology coordinator, I am heavily involved in the analysis of their excavated artifacts. My idea is to introduce students to Machu Picchu, the most famous archaelogical site in the world. Through the photos and videos that I will take, students will learn about the site, and compare it with the site they are studying. I will require them to add information and photos to their archaeology site report.

Pre-Departure Preparation

I will research a basic history of Machu Picchu and Inca society to relate to my third grade students.

Preparation During Travel

I will take photos, videos, talk to people and learn about Machu Picchu, the Incas, and current life in Peru.

Subject: Biology/Environmental Science | Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Location: Southern Africa 2011

Contributor: Patricia Van Bergen

Lesson Plan

I will create a bulletin board in my room that outlines the countries I visited, dominant species, as well as environmental problems. I will videotape several components of the trip to show my students, and create a 1-2 day lesson for each unit I teach in my environmental science class that links what we are learning to environmental issues in Africa.

Pre-Departure Preparation

I will research the dominant flora and fauna of the regions I will be visiting.

Preparation During Travel

I will take lots of pictures and video, as well as interview locals as to the environmental problems that are the most severe in their area.

Subject: Elementary - Multi Subjects | Grades: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Location: Peru 2009

Contributor: Lynette Swiger

Lesson Plan

On big area of third grade social studies/science is to look at the climate of different areas of the world. Climate affects jobs, recreation, food, traditions, culture, etc. and I will be sharing the differences in climate between Peru and West Virginia. In addition, since Peru is in a different hemisphere, it will be interesting to third graders to learn why it is winter in Peru when it is summer in the U.S. The climate affects the culture of a people and thus is a meshing of science and social studies.

Pre-Departure Preparation

None

Preparation During Travel

I will take plenty of pictures showing the lifestyles of people in Peru - clothes, food, recreation, jobs - as well as their "winter clothing". These will be the springboard for discussions and lessons - especially as to why their winter / winter clothing is not as harsh/heavy as ours.

Subject: U.S. History/Government | Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Location: Peru 2010

Contributor: Paula Woods

Lesson Plan

As a government and history teacher I will do a comparative politics study between the constitutions and government set up of Peru and the U.S. I will also show photos of Macchu Pichu and discuss the Inca civilization and compare it to the Hopi tribe when I do my Native American unit.

Pre-Departure Preparation

I will find a copy of Peru's Constitution. I will also seek out prior knowledge about the Inca tribe.

Preparation During Travel

Visit government buildings in Lima and take pictures of Machu Pichu as well as learn about the Inca civiliation.

Subject: Math | Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Location: India 2009

Contributor: Kimberly Kurgan

Lesson Plan

In my honors precalculus course, we have a small unit on fractal geometry. The Taj Mahal is said to have ""self-replecating geometry"" which is essentially fractals. After studying fractals, I can bring in pictures of the Taj Mahal and various grounds surrounding the Taj Mahal for students to find examples of fractals used. I also teach algebra 1 and within the curriculum we introduce the students to trigonometry. After learning basic trig, students can learn about Jantar Mantar. Students can solve for the heights of stars, moons, and the sun given two known measurements. We can also discuss the accuracy of Jai Singh's observatory which was built in 1724.

Pre-Departure Preparation

For each possible lesson plan, I would have to do more research after returning to the States. I have already tried to find information involving math (that I actually currently teach) on both the Taj Mahal and Jantar Mantar.

Preparation During Travel

"At the Taj Mahal, I will need to take many pictures from different aspects. Students often see things I do not, so even though something may not seem relevant to me, I should not dismiss it. Also, any literature that is available at the Taj Mahal will be helpful. At Jantar Mantar, I am curious as to how eighteenth century Indians used the structures for astronomy. Actually being there may help spark my creativity on how to best combine trigonometry with a small history lesson on Jantar Mantar."

Subject: Reading | Grades: 6, 7, 8

Location: Winter India 2013

Contributor: Colin Turner

Lesson Plan

"I will be sharing my experience with students by using analogies from my trip to teach about Power dynamics, Social Justice issues, racism/prejudice, sexism, and other broad themes in the reading curriculum. I will also integrate nonfiction articles about Indian culture and society into our Reading curriculum, which I can supplement with pictures and stories from our trip. It will be an invaluable tool for engagement and for broadening students' experiences. I will share my pictures and stories with colleagues, who will integrate them into their lessons and plans in both 7th and 8th grades. For example, the History teacher wants to use pictures, pamphlets, and memorabilia in his lessons on trade with India, and the Writing teacher wants to use them in writing prompts.

Pre-Departure Preparation

Talk with colleagues about types of pictures, videos, and memorabilia to bring back.

Preparation During Travel

Taking pictures of historic sites as well as individuals we meet on the trip, gathering pamphlets and memorabilia from historic sites, talking with and gathering stories/experiences from local guides and people.

Subject: Reading | Grades: 6, 7, 8

Location: Winter India 2013

Contributor: Colin Turner

Lesson Plan

"I will be sharing my experience with students by using analogies from my trip to teach about Power dynamics, Social Justice issues, racism/prejudice, sexism, and other broad themes in the reading curriculum. I will also integrate nonfiction articles about Indian culture and society into our Reading curriculum, which I can supplement with pictures and stories from our trip. It will be an invaluable tool for engagement and for broadening students' experiences. I will share my pictures and stories with colleagues, who will integrate them into their lessons and plans in both 7th and 8th grades. For example, the History teacher wants to use pictures, pamphlets, and memorabilia in his lessons on trade with India, and the Writing teacher wants to use them in writing prompts.

Pre-Departure Preparation

Talk with colleagues about types of pictures, videos, and memorabilia to bring back.

Preparation During Travel

Taking pictures of historic sites as well as individuals we meet on the trip, gathering pamphlets and memorabilia from historic sites, talking with and gathering stories/experiences from local guides and people.

Subject: Special Education | Grades: 6, 7, 8

Location: Eastern Europe 2013

Contributor: Laurel Tanza

Lesson Plan

I plan on bringing the GEEO experience to the classroom by having students engage in an online expedition which will teach about the countries I visited through the program. Students will learn about countries through pictures, maps, landmarks, and culture by investigating a central question or theme. For example they could pretend to be lost tourists who need to get back to their hotel. On their way back they "stop" by various landmarks, etc. and learn about their cultural significance.

Pre-Departure Preparation

I will need to research different landmarks and cultural icons for each country I am visiting.

Preparation During Travel

During my trip I will need to take pictures, collect maps, and money from each country visited. These pictures can then be incorporated into the investigation. I will also need to find video or audio clips of dance and music for each country.

Subject: All Subjects | Grades: Kindergarten

Location: Galapagos 2013

Contributor: Lauren Davis

Lesson Plan

I am a kindergarten teacher and our Science/Social Studies curriculum for the year is about homes and habitats around the world. I plan to integrate what I learn about the animals of the Galapagos into our study of animal habitats. I will create a mini-unit about the animals and habitats of the Galapagos, focusing on how these animals are well-suited for this particular environment and what they need to survive in the Galapagos. I plan to use both personal stories and photos from my trip to enhance these lessons.

Pre-Departure Preparation

I will research the various animals that I expect to see while on the trip.

Preparation During Travel

I will take plenty of pictures of animals and their habitats and take notes about the animals.

Subject: All Subjects | Grades: 5

Location: Italy 2013

Contributor: Alex Piazza

Lesson Plan

I am a fifth grade inclusion teacher, and teach all subjects to my students at various grade levels. I will begin a unit about European explorers early next year that dives into the geography and history of European countries including Italy. This cross-curricular unit will focus on the history of Italian explorers, the geography of Italy and bordering countries, and deal with reading biographies and other texts that help illustrate and explain Italy and its famous explorers. While visiting Italy, I will document my vacation as if I were an explorer discovering the culture and land just as explorers had in the 1400s through the 17th century. I will photograph my adventure as well to show the beauty of this country.

Pre-Departure Preparation

I will research the various regions and geography of the places we will visit while in Italy. I will also research the hometowns of famous explorers who were born in Italy.

Preparation During Travel

I will document my experiences in Italy using photographs, a journal, and by collecting literature to aid my lessons when teaching this unit.

Subject: Reading Intervention | Grades: 2, 3, 4, 5

Location: Vietnam 2013

Contributor: Courtney Kiernan

Lesson Plan

I would like to do a unit on Vietnamese folktales and fairy tales. Since Vietnamese folktales are often about history, customs, explanation of natural phenomenon and values important to the people of Vietnam I will use various items such as pictures and items that I collect on my trip to give them some background knowledge of the aforementioned areas to prepare them for reading the various folktales. I will then pick 5-7 Vietnamese folktales and we will read and discuss these folktales tying our discussions back to the cultural elements seen in the folktales. At the end of the unit we will do a reader's theater performance of one of the folktales.

Pre-Departure Preparation

I will need to pick out the folktales that I want to use with my students so that I know what cultural elements will be included in each one. This will help me to know what pictures and artifacts I want to bring back from my trip to help my students gain a better understanding of each story.

Preparation During Travel

I must take pictures that help illustrate the various cultural elements of Vietnam that I would like to highlight. I will also need to gather artifacts throughout my trip that will help the folktales come to life and that can be used in the reader's theater performance. I will also try to talk to as many locals as I can to get a better understanding of their culture and to ask them about their knowledge of the folktales that I have chosen.

Subject: English Language Development | Grades: 6, 7, 8

Location: Vietnam 2013

Contributor: Audra Hollingsworth

Lesson Plan

My goals are threefold on this trip to Vietnam. First I want to explore how ethnic minorities (H’mong, Dao, Zai, overseas Chinese, Giay, Pho Lu, and Tay) in this country assimilate into the dominant culture while holding onto their own ethnic identities. I am interested in this topic because this is the experience of my students. Every one of my students is an immigrant and they are learning English, navigating American culture and acculturating into life here in the United States. As I guide them through this process, I encourage students to hold onto and celebrate their own cultural heritages, never forgetting where they came from and their own rich histories. Second, through my exploration of Southeast Asia I expect to learn a great deal about these cultures that will help me better understand students and their families from these countries. I hope to gain insight on how these cultures view education and the involvement of families in the educational process. Also, I will learn about what these cultures value so I will be better able to help my students succeed in the classroom. Third, after this trip I will be able to add to my curriculum making it more culturally relevant for this group of students. My experiences will help me have a greater understanding of my students and, from this, be able to create stronger connections for them. Ultimately, all of this will help students be successful in our class and in the entire acculturation process. Through my exploration of Southeast Asia, I will bring these experiences to life for all my students once back in the classroom. In Vietnam I will experience the culture: history, language, food, art, music, dance and stories and be able to share these with my students, exposing them to the rich and complex cultures within this region. On this exploration of culture I hope to help students create connections between cultures and become global citizens with a vested interest and respect for others. "

Pre-Departure Preparation

I have researched Vietnam and I am looking forward to experiencing all that I can during this trip.

Preparation During Travel

During this trip I will experience as much as I possible can. I will talk to locals, take advantage of all opportunities, try new foods, buy handicrafts and be open to everything.

Subject: All Subjects | Grades: 2, 3

Location: Italy 2013

Contributor: Chelsea Bourdess

Lesson Plan

The theme of my classroom next year is "Global Explorers". My students are going to spend the year focusing on the ways that they can constantly be exploring the world around them. The basis of this focus is going to be a large world map where we will pin the places and topics we learn about. I am going to model this pinning and the behaviors that an explorer exhibits through pictures from the trip and information about the places we visit. I plan to refer back to the trip throughout the year especially in art and religion lessons.

Pre-Departure Preparation

I am going to brainstorm some pictures I would like to take and places that I want to make sure to see for the trip and accompanying lessons.

Preparation During Travel

I need to make sure to photograph everything that I see, not just of Italy but of the behaviors of an explorer (i.e. an explorer comes prepared). I want to make sure to write about Italy in a kid friendly way while there to show my students as an example of journaling.

Subject: All Subjects | Grades: 4

Location: China 2013

Contributor: Julie King

Lesson Plan

I am new to 4th grade so I have a few ideas of how to bring my experience to my new classroom. First, I plan on using photos/postcards/books I purchase while in China to have students to inspire their writing skills. This may include describing the picture with adjectives, writing a story based on the picture, or writing a non-fiction explanation of what is in the picture. I also plan on introducing and comparing English to Mandarin, in particular with writing and the characters. For Social Studies, I would like to compare the culture of China and its land to the culture and people in Chicago/Illinois. For Math, I am planning on doing a shape study of sites in China (identify shapes on various sites) and doing an activity to compare the populations of the US and China (when studying larger numbers).

Pre-Departure Preparation

I need to research which sites I will visit to gather pictures. I need to learn about Mandarin. I also need to decide what particular cultural aspects I want to compare with my students.

Preparation During Travel

Take many pictures - in particular, inspirational pictures which can be used to jumpstart a story, pictures with lots of adjectives in mind, and pictures of famous sites. Purchase a few books - I am hoping to find a common American book written in Mandarin so that students can see the characters and know what is being said.

Subject: Global Studies | Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Location: Russia / Mongolia / China 2013

Contributor: Nandini Sinha

Lesson Plan

"As a global history teacher I can use the data from my trip to do a number of activities/lessons. For a 9th grade unit about Mongols, the introductory lesson is about Mongolia's geography, for which I would use my photos and artifacts, I will have collected on the trip. Students can do a gallery walk; they free-write short responses to landscape images. Afterwhich, they can discuss what challenges does the environment pose for inhabitants, which precludes an activity about herding and nomadism. For a 10th grade unit about Industrialization/Environmental Challenges, this data can also be used when students research the process of Mongolia's modernization, how industry has affected it's climate and geology. Students will analyze the effects of industry on geography and climate, they will look at case studies of a specific industry, such as cashmere, and research the process of making cashmere wool, and the effects of overgrazing the goats. Students will analyze the long term and short term effects of the cashmere industry, posit solutions that may mitigate the environmental concerns, and produce a virtual or 2-D storyboard that explains the problem and offers solution(s).

Pre-Departure Preparation

I will research Mongolian 20th-21st centuries government, industry, and impact of climate change.

Preparation During Travel

Take lots of pictures: landscape, cityscape, factory, housing, sewage, cultural activities, etc.

Subject: World Cultures and World Geography | Grades: 6, 7, 8

Location: Morocco 2013

Contributor: Christine Heiler

Lesson Plan

In my World Cultures class, we look at revolutions around the world, and we specifically study the Arab Spring. I would like to look at evidence of French and Spanish influences in Morocco, so that I can talk to my students about Morocco's past and how it was affected by imperialism. I will also be interested in looking at the current political situation to see how Morocco has responded to the Arab Spring. In my World History class, we spend time looking at the influence of Islam on the world, so I would especially like to bring back examples of Muslim art and architecture to share with my students.

Pre-Departure Preparation

I will need to learn more about Morocco's history especially during the periods of imperialism and its current political situation.

Preparation During Travel

I need to be aware of the current political situation and take note of French and Spanish influences on the country. I also need to take pictures of Muslim art and architecture and learn all that I can about it. .

Subject: Environmental Science | Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Location: Ecuador 2012

Contributor: Karen Sondak

Lesson Plan

I am an environmental science teacher. I will use specific examples and pictures when we explore sustainability in a developing country. As much as I can I will document the various roles I observe, from farm worker to eco-tourism operator for example. Students will receive bio's on their person/role and they will discuss what the impacts of industry or practice are and how the country can become more sustainable. Carbon emissions will also be examined.

Pre-Departure Preparation

I will try and become as informed as I can about Ecuador.

Preparation During Travel

I will take pictures and journal as much as possible

Subject: All Subjects | Grades: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Location: Thailand / Laos / Cambodia 2012

Contributor: LaDonna Pitts

Lesson Plan

On the night of the full moon, people in Thailand celebrated ‘Loi Krathong’ when they honor the goddess of the waters by making and sailing small rafts beautifully decorated with flowers, leaves, incense sticks and candles. They also sometimes use these rafts to ‘send away’ negative thoughts and so begin the new year afresh. The rafts are often made of bread as it is biodegradable and provides food for the fish although traditionally they were made from sections of banana tree trunk. Students will construct origami boats to decorate as in the Thai tradition during this festival using recyclable materials and metallic paper leaves, tissue paper flowers, curls, stars, etc. Each student will then put tiny ‘wish letters’ inside, sealed with a star, and then “sail” them away as an invitation for lots of positive energy in our own Loi Krathong ceremony.

Pre-Departure Preparation

Prior to travel I am reading about the history and culture of the Thai people to give significance to what I will see when I visit.

Preparation During Travel

I plan to put together a photo collection to present the culture to my students. While there I will take to the local people to gain firsthand knowledge of their lifestyle.

Subject: Social Studies | Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Location: Turkey 2012

Contributor: Katie Kellogg

Lesson Plan

As a high school Social Studies teacher and I plan on using maps, pictures and the web as a way of sharing with my students some of Turkey's geography and culture. Students will be taking a virtual tour of the country, tracing my footsteps on my summer travels. The first step will be to be to show the students photos of each of the cities that I visit on my trip, along with an oral explanation of what each of the places is like. I will then give the students blank maps of Turkey. Students will locate on the map each of the cities that I visited along with nearby geographical features (bodies of water, important landmarks, etc). Students will then be divided into groups where they will be assigned one of the cities that they identified on the map to create a travel brochure for. Their brochures should contain information on any major geographic features of the city, historical significance, important monuments/architecture, climate, currency and any other information that they feel tourists should be aware of before visiting the city. To complete their brochures they will be able to use the information from my presentation, their maps, textbooks,and the internet. The students will then make copies of their brochures for the other groups and share their findings as the "tour guides" so that all of the students can be pretend "tourists" and experience each of the locations.

Pre-Departure Preparation

Before I go on the trip, I will need to research the geography of Turkey, as well as each of the cities that I am visiting. I plan on creating note card "cheat sheets" for each of the places that I visit, so that I will know what type of information the students will find when they research the area.

Preparation During Travel

While I am on the trip I will need to take pictures of each of the cities I visit, making particular care to include pictures of important historical or geographic sites. I will also be sure to journal about my experiences in each place to help me give my students an accurate idea of what I experienced on my travels. Lastly, I will save any pamphlets, ticket stubs, or other souvenirs that I accumulate while on my journey.