We are in the midst of very challenging times. A global pandemic, in-person school cancelled in many parts of the world through the end of the school year, stay-at-home orders for most of us. In the United States, we've been staying put for about five weeks now and teachers, students, and parents are still trying to figure out work, school, and life in general.
At the Kilmer Library, we've working to create engaging content to keep our students interested and learning without our normal channels for classroom collaboration. One such activity has been our virtual vacations.
I first saw virtual trips brought to life on the amazing Instagram account of Georgia school librarian Martha Bongiorno (an aside: she is a "must follow" for teachers and librarians everywhere). During her spring break, Martha rolled out four different virtual trips (and actually cited elementary librarian Sarah Curran on Facebook as her original source for the idea). I immediately loved the concept, asked permission to tweak it for my students and ran with it.
Each trip that I put together includes:
Sights to See -- links to famous attractions, a virtual video tour of a city or monument, tours of popular museums.
STEAM Activities -- hands-on science experiments or building projects, relevant arts and crafts projects, anything that brings out the maker in my students
Travel with a Book -- links to titles in our eBook or audio book collections that take place in the specific setting we are visiting
I built six trips for our week long spring break and then decided to continue traveling, adding a new vacation spot each week on #TravelTuesday. We are now asking for student requests on our social media feeds to add some student voice into our trips! So far, we have visited:make a copy of my Google Docs trip template. And, you can easily view all of our trips on the Kilmer Library website.
It has been so much fun for me to build each trip, but I also think this would make a fantastic student project. In a World Language class, students could be tasked with creating trips to cities or countries where that language is spoken. Beginning students could make them in English, but more advanced language speakers could develop these virtual vacations in another language. Creating a virtual trip could be a great way for students to focus on setting when reading a novel for English class or to focus on specific historical time periods in Social Studies. Imagine traveling to Tolkein's Middle Earth or to 1920s Harlem?
What other ways could you incorporate virtual vacations into your instruction? And where do YOU want to go?
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