Global Classroom Educators and Global Guides from all over the world co-facilitate Global Classroom workshops in schools and after-schools throughout the NYC-area. Here are some workshop highlights:
Trinidad and Tobago: La Brea Oil Spill
Students simulate an oil spill during a workshop about Trinidad and Tobago.
A Global Guide from Trinidad and Tobago facilitated a Water workshop for students in an after-school in Manhattan. Her workshop focused on the impact of the 2013 La Brea oil spill. Students were somewhat aware of oil spills but had never given much consideration to their impact on the local people and wildlife. They were challenged to clean up their own oil spill: each student had a container with water and vegetable oil, browned by mixing it with cocoa powder. They were given sponges, spoons, napkins, straws and told to think creatively about how they could clean the spill. After struggling with this mini-spill, they recognized how difficult such a task would be on a larger scale and the lasting damage a real spill would have on the environment.
Uganda: Dance with Me
After-School students learn various songs and dances from a Global Guide in Uganda.
At this Bronx after-school program a Global Guide from Uganda led an exciting and personal workshop about his life in Africa and his passion for dance. As he unpacked his bags of drums and bells, the students thought they were going to watch a show. However, they soon realized that they were going to be in the show. The Global Guide taught students basic movements, using their voices, hands, and feet to make the music. He explained that during his childhood he didn’t have games or television, so he and other children created their own dances and songs to entertain themselves. Several students, first- or second-generation immigrants from Africa themselves, appreciated connecting with someone with a similar background. As one student said, “It was fun to learn about someone from my continent.” Students left the class tired and excited to share what they learned with their friends and family.
South Korea: Being Free & Equal
An inspirational letter that a NYC student wrote to a North Korean refugee living in NYC after learning about many of the refugees’ hardships from a Global Guide from South Korea.
In this workshop, a Global Guide spoke about different facets of her cultural and personal life in South Korea. She shared pictures and stories of her hometown, family, and school life with students at a high school in Manhattan. Yoonsun then spoke about her experience volunteering for an organization that supports North Korean refugees in the U.S., explaining the treacherous obstacles North Koreans encounter when they try to defect to countries such as China, Thailand, and the United States. The students were surprised and disheartened to learn how difficult these people’s lives were, and felt compelled to somehow help, even if it was in a small way. Taking action as Global Citizens themselves, the students wrote inspirational notes to the refugees, with whom the Global Guide worked directly and who were currently living in the New York area.
Bosnia & Herzegovina: Conflict and Optimism
A Global Guide from Bosnia explains how there are multiple perspectives to any story or conflict.
A Fulbright grantee from Bosnia & Herzegovina spoke about her experience growing up in war-torn ex-Yugoslavia in her workshops at a high school in Brooklyn. She showed the students slides that demonstrated how often Yugoslavia’s borders have changed, eventually splitting up into six separate countries. She explained that there were many perspectives of the wars, and not just one story. Students were silent and engaged as they listened to her stories about having to go into the basement of her school when they heard air raid sirens, fearing that the bombs might hit their school. She shared how fortunate she was because, while her father went to the frontline every day instead of to work, he always returned, unlike many of her friends’ fathers. Despite her country’s war-torn past, the Global Guide emphasized that her culture tends to be very optimistic, friendly and warm, using humor as a coping tool to get through challenging times. Students were surprised to see a picture of her and her friends smiling after losing their jobs. Some students said that Americans tend to have a less positive outlook, but they can learn something from Bosnian culture. She also showed the students pictures of how beautiful her country is now, after being in the midst of war less than 30 years ago, and many students remarked that they would like to visit one day.
New Zealand: Water Pollution & Sustainability
Students filter water with a Global Guide from New Zealand.
A Global Guide from New Zealand shared about water pollution from a farming perspective with students in a high school science class in The Bronx. She explained that in New Zealand cows often live near bodies of water and when it rains their manure pollutes the water. In New Zealand they use “Riparian Planting,” a sustainable practice, to help solve this problem. Riparian Planting involves planting a vegetated area (a "buffer strip") near the water, which helps protect the water from the pollution, while also allowing the manure to help fertilize the soil of the vegetated area. The students then participated in their own water pollution activity, in which they experimented with different types of sponges and tissue paper (with holes) to determine the most effective methods of filtering water. As a final project students examined a sustainability issue in their local community, and developed their own ideas for addressing the issue.
Germany: Education as a Career Path
Students learn about special needs education by participating in a blind-folded walk with a Global Guide from Germany.
A Global Guide shared about his life growing up in Germany, and how his own schooling influenced his decision to pursue a career in education. He spoke about his experience studying Special Education and working in different Special Education classrooms, which was a relatively new concept for many of the high school students in Queens. He led an exercise where students had to guide each other blindfold, using limited communication. The students had fun, but also were able to think about what life would be like if they had disabilities, or were teaching someone with disabilities.
Argentina: Mate and Tango
Students taste mate with a Global Guide from Argentina
For this high school Spanish class, a Global Guide from Argentina brought her language, culture, and daily life into the classroom through dance, drink, and discussions. She spoke about teen life in Argentina and shared two of her favorite pastimes; tango and mate. First she showed a tango video and brave volunteers attempted to dance with her, while she led some basic steps. Several students commented on how different the movements were from the hip hop or Caribbean dances. She also brought mate, the traditional tea of Argentina. Everyone tried it, most in their individual cups instead of the traditional way of sharing a cup and straw. Some enjoyed it so much that they asked to bring some home. For most students, this was a wonderful, multi-sensory introduction to a brand new culture. Others used this opportunity to proudly share their own Latin American heritage with their classmates and Global Guide.
France: Let’s Play Pétanque
Students play Pétanque, a traditional French game
For most of the elementary school students in this after-school in Brooklyn, this workshop was their first introduction to France and French culture. Students explored French symbols, architecture and even a typical day for students their age in France. They were surprised, and envious, to see the length of the lunch break, but for the most part they found that their days were quite similar to their counterparts in France. The Global Guide taught students how to play Pétanque, a traditional French pastime similar to lawn bowling. She had to adjust Pétanque slightly as there was no courtyard or grass to play in; however, students very much enjoyed the game and hoped to be able to share it with their friends and family.