Looking for Global Partners Early and Hard - We Have Empty Seats:)

With Global Collaboration Day here I decided to try and find some global collaborators for a project we have been doing in the garage for a few years.  How fun is it to write non-fiction word problems about where we live and share them with others?  

If you are a educators, please visit my collaborative slideshow. Consider adding a problem you create yourself that we may use in the classroom and then think about how you see this fit into your classroom.  I have learned not to come to the table fixated on the details of projects and have made changes along the way.

Don't like the media- Let's change it!

Want to add math talks with the problems? -Sure.

Math Mystery Skypes to launch? - In.

No time for anything crazy but see value in the basics- Works for me!

Feel free to take a look around my site to see other ways we can collaborate on global projects.  I am openminded and ready to work together.  

Global Wor(l)d Problems with a Mystery Skype Twist

While over the years we have been successful in finding partners to share our math story problems with, I was always nervous that the project wasn't allowing me to discover as many collaborators.  My fear was that while I was giving someone a project to do, I wasn't meeting another teacher half way and collaborating on how to make it a meaningful project for each side. 

Excited about the responses I got on Edmodo and Twitter this year for the project (Although these don't always work out), I had the boys begin the creation of the 2014-2015 wor(l)d problems before being in touch with Parul from the American School Foundation of Monterrey.  Parul and I were introduced by Jennifer Klein of World Leadership School and within days of our introduction we skyped.  

Parul was excited to collaborate on the project with her 7th graders as she felt that their was a true need for her students to practice more word problems.   However, she really wanted to make sure that they students got more out of it then just problem solving.  She felt strongly that we needed deeper engagement and we began to brainstorm.  Parul suggested a skype call to start the conversation and immediately I agreed with a "yes and... can we do a mystery skype to get the students excited about doing word problems about the other location?".  In full agreement we set forth a schedule for the coming weeks/month. 

While the mystery skype call had to be put off due to service days and vacations, we successfully scheduled two mystery skype calls, with two of our classes, for last Friday.  Funny enough, we had planned to have all my boys do this during snack break but we hadn't considered day light savings time and the fact that San Francisco does spring forward, but that Monterrey does not.  We were able to successfully figure out a solution-thank goodness!  Flexibility continues to be a major component to the success of my global partnerships. 

In true Goggin fashion I wanted to organize the boys for questions and answers, but Parul suggested we keep it a little more "loose" and allow the students to engage in a way that works for them.  While it went against my instincts I accepted this idea, gave the boys a few specific roles (journalist, mappers etc...) for the call and monitored from within.  

The students from Mexico were able to figure out that we were from San Francisco during both calls, but my students struggled to locate the exact city in one of the sections.  This is not surprising, they are likely less familiar with Mexico's cities and towns then the students from Mexico are about California cities. 

The students are currently working on completing each other's word problems (Mexico and San Francisco) and the hope is that during this process the students come up with questions for their new friends.  We hope to Skype in late April/May and discover more about one another's schools, cultures and cities.  I am so glad that we collaborated on this project together as I am quite certain that working together and bringing together different ideas and perspectives will give this project more value to all. 



Come join us. Bring your ideas.  Engage your students.  And Practice Math. 


Global Connections Everywhere!

It's been an exciting few weeks coming out of the garage and I am happy to share the following news from the Garage. Let's just say we are busy going global!

Kiva Council gathered Town School Swag left over from last year and set up sales. During our weekly meeting, the boys opted to make a new connection and with our profits supported an orphanage.  While our club rarely rears off course from lending, and never gives money to other organizations, we took a moment to incorporate Coiser orphanage into our recipient list.  The orphanage's goal is to create a poultry farm that allows them to be financially self sufficient.  Naming a chicken after our school? We are wishing the orphans at Coiser our best and give a big "Hello" to our new Town Garage mascot.  In addition to the $25 we used for our chicken, we raised $275 for Kiva.org.  

I always ask the boys to make loans intentional and to really consider the money, the person and the business.  Here are some of the boys thoughts:

  • Richards is the head teacher of summit primary school. It is a mixed school in a rural area of Uganda. He wants to buy a uv filtration system so his students can get and drink clean water. I believe this is important because water is a necessity in human life and water has been a necessity forever.
  • I think we should loan to Caroline. Caroline will use this loan of 350$ to help pay for her fathers health needs. She is 51 years old and lives with her parents in Barra Puntod, Lopez Jaena. I believe this will really make a difference if she can help her fathers health.
  • We definitely should loan to the Nasommor Group so they can get a water filter. Access to clean water is extremely important so people don't get sick and it is definitely necessary in places that don't always have good water.


6th Grade Advisory has found a new set of friends in Kenya. We hope that this is a lasting relationship and that we will eventually introduce our friends to the 1st graders of Town School when they embark on their country study of Kenya.  I was introduced to Emmily via facebook and I couldn't be happier to engage with her.  My 6th grade advisory was excited to share "A Day in the Life of Morning Meeting" with the children fro Cheery Children Education Center.  While we have noted that a skype call may be difficult with the time zone, Emmily and I decided we could send some videos exchanges back and forth, get to know one another, and take it from there. I am excited to learn more from our friends in Nairobi, Kenya.  Here is a video about lunchtime at Cheery:) 


If you recall, last year's 7th Grade worked on statistics using the United Nations Millennium Goals and came up with some wonderful projects.  In the end they chose to organize a "Walk for Water" during our final week and we raised $300 for Waterproject.org We just got word that our project is finished and the Coleb Primary School currently has clean safe water.  

The 5th Grade Boys spent last week learning about word problems and creating their own to share with others across the globe.  Check out what this year's group came up with!  We are always looking for partners to share problems with so please spread the word. We currently have a collection of problems that you can find here.  Look out for updates on places we discover through word problems throughout the year.

Lastly, 6th grade boys are actively discovering micro finance.  The project was launched last week with a 40 minute simulation from One Hen.  The boys used the simulation to discuss community issues that may exist in rural sub saharan Africa. It was interesting to see them address education for all, healthcare, jobs and opportunity, low incomes, lack of access to banking, and gender inequality to name a few.  All the while they were supporting one another using an informal trust group model.  Today, we had the opportunity to brainstorm how we can model micro-lending in our own community.  Check out what we came up with and discover how you can support the 6th graders upcoming entrepreneurship adventure in the days ahead. 


Where in the World is Sierra Leone? Hmm... I Wonder?

Where is Sierra Leone?

Let's start there. When I was 12 years old, I likely couldn't even answer that question. In fact, I might not have even known to ask it.  But in the last few days I have had the unbelievable opportunity to expose my students and allow them to think and wonder about life nearly 7,000 miles away.  With a little help from www.ifitweremyhome.com, wonder they did...

  • Why is there more of a class divide?
  • Why do they live shorter lives? Why is the chance of dying in infancy so much greater?
  • If they spend so much on health care, what is health care like there?
  • What is it like to make 98% less money than the US but have 2.8 more children?
  • What would it be like to live without electricity?
  • Why is the average annual income only the equivalent of $900 while in the US it is $46,000. 
  • What causes people to die sooner?
  • Does birth control even exist is Sierra Leone?
  • Is their a class hierarchy? 

And to sum it up, I wonder if all of these things are related?  

We had the wonderful opportunity to have the boys listen to Jennifer Klein talk about her 3 week journey to Sierra Leone and address some of their wonders.  We are just at the beginning of our journey, but as we embrace global word problem solving we are sure to dig deeper about the world we share with so many others and challenge our minds.  

Thank you Sierra Leone for sharing these wor(l)d problems with us.  We can't wait to learn more about you, your community and your country in the future!  Word Problems Here:)

Disclosure:  We received these word problems on lined paper and Jennifer was able to lend her camera for the pictures.  I scanned them and placed them in this document to share with others.  Enjoy!