Guest post by Paula Ford @prford5, Kindergarten Teacher at Manuel De Vargas Elementary School in San Jose, CA. This post is a continuation of her post on Traveling Toy Animals with her learners in California and with Ashli Engle’s class in farming country in Indiana.
Our question: How is the city and the farm the same and different?
We have now concluded our PBL, and would like to share the rest of our adventures with our traveling toy animals. The children worked together to answer all the questions their friends posed in Ashli Engle’s Kindergarten class in Indiana. Each child sent a letter to their Indiana friend, individually answering their questions. In addition, our class worked together to make an iMovie about what it is like to attend school in Silicon Valley.
Some of the questions from our Indiana friends asked about what our children’s parents do for work. To help answer that questions, some of the children took iPads home with them to spend a day at work with their parent.
The children in Indiana mailed letters back to us, answering all of the questions we had posed.
They also sent us a few videos. The first was of the children walking around the perimeter of their school (they took the mice with them). We were amazed by the all the trees and the horses right on the edge of their school site!
Here is a video of what it is like to attend school in a farming community in Indiana:
Many of our children have never seen the snow, and were excited to see that our friends in Indiana play in the snow at recess. This video had a strong message for us: though we may look different on the outside and do different things, everyone has something in common. For example, they had a pajama day and read books to celebrate Read Across America day just like we did. We are not so different after all.
Our mice looking out the classroom window in Indiana
Toy horses from Indiana
After receiving the videos and answers to our questions, we found that we still had more questions we wanted to ask. We arranged a Skype video session for our children to ask and answer follow up questions.
Following the Skype session we reflected on our learning and revisited the original Driving Question: How is the city and the farm the same and different? We realized that now we are experts on this subject, and we shared this knowledge with our friends and family.
Our PBL Wall
Though this PBL has officially ended, it really is just beginning. Originally, we intended to return the mice and horses back to their original owners. However, the children decided that they would like to keep the animals they received as a special memory of this PBL. In addition, the children have requested to share their contact information with each other so that they can continue to communicate together, and include their families in this process.
Our friends in Ashli Engle’s Kindergarten class in Indiana
Mrs. Ford’s Kindergarten Class with the horses and letters from our Indiana friends
I graduated from University of California at Davis with my Bilingual Cross-cultural Language and Academic (BCLAD) multiple subject teaching credential, and have been teaching for over twenty years. I began my career in bilingual education, and then moved to teaching second language learners.
I taught kindergarten, first grade, third grade, and have been a resource teacher for grades transitional kindergarten through fifth grade. The majority of my career has been teaching low-socioeconomic English language learners. Currently, I am teaching kindergarten at Manuel De Vargas Elementary School, and I absolutely love it. I’m happy that Barbara has provided a space for me to tell the stories from my classroom collaborating with others and was able to continue from the last post Traveling Toy Animals so we could finish the PBL activity with you.