In the face of disaster…

Last week many US and Caribbean schools, including some of our own Generation YES schools were closed while people deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Our thoughts are with you at this time, and we hope that things get back to normal as quickly as possible.

In times of crisis, young people need facts of course (see Hurricane Sandy resources) and they need reassurance that the world is a good place with people who care. As schools resume, it’s never more important for educators to first be caregivers.

Mr. Rogers told stories about his own mother who would point out the helpful neighbors who appear when bad things happen. Volunteers, firefighters, doctors, utility workers – most people are helpful and generous. Disasters like this provide opportunities to find those people and learn about what they do or to even pitch in yourself.

But even more so for those directly affected, young people need to talk about their experiences and share them with others. The digital world provides new avenues for these kinds of collaboration like this one: The Natural Disaster Youth Summit Forum 2013 hosted by iEARN.

This is a year-long event with the theme: Climate Change and Disaster Reduction – timely, eh? Events, forums, sharing, activities and much more are planned for the entire year.

Another idea is to create your own digital space for student sharing, perhaps in collaboration with other educators near or far.

Read about Quakestories, a collaborative writing project for students to share their stories after the earthquake and tsunami in Japan in March 2011.

Kim Coffino, one of the project organizers writes, “Quakestories is a collaborative project connecting several international schools in Japan to collect and share student-created works (writing, multimedia, visual arts) about their experiences during and after the earthquake. First, all student-created works will be posted on a central website. Then, once we have a diverse collection of student work, we will select certain pieces to be published in both a paper and electronic book, with the proceeds of both going towards Tohoko relief (to help those most directly affected by the tsunami).”

And finally, don’t forget the power of play. Gerald Jones, cartoonist and author of Killing Monsters: Why Children Need Fantasy, Super Heroes, and Make-Believe Violence, says “When something troubles children, they have to play with it until it feels safer.”

Smashing, crashing, and playing at being a monster or the super-hero who saves the day can help kids whose lives have been smashed and crashed.

Be safe –


New! Join the ‘Connect All Schools’ movement

Generation YES is proud to be one of over 80 educational organizations taking part in a new Connect All Schools Initiative, which aims to connect EVERY school in the United States with the world by 2016.

Through the Connect All Schools interactive website, schools share stories using text, photo and video about how they are currently connecting their students to the rest of the world through such activities as student and teacher exchanges, global issues curricula, video-conferences and “Exchanges 2.0,” the use of new media and communications technologies to expand, extend, and deepen international cross-cultural exchanges.

Not seeing the video?
Direct link to YouTube video introduction to “Connect All Schools”

“Despite the importance of global competency and engagement, US teachers are not aware of the many options for introducing their students to global issues, world languages, online international interaction and physical exchanges,” said iEARN-USA Executive Director Ed Gragert, who is spearheading the project. “By reading stories of what schools are already doing, additional teachers across the country can learn about specific examples and work with partner organizations to replicate the successes around the country.”

“Imagine the possibilities for our students to learn WITH the world, instead of just about it,” said Dr. Gragert. “Research has clearly demonstrated that authentic interaction with the world’s students across the curriculum results in enhanced learning, improved test scores and a heightened motivation to learn.”

For more information on this exciting initiative or to share your story, please visit:


Global collaboration projects and events from iEARN

Wow, the mailbox was full this morning! Here’s some amazing opportunities from iEARN (International Education and Resource Network) to involve your students in collaborative projects with students from around the world, or for teachers to participate in learning how to integrate global projects into the curriculum. There are even more at Congratulations to iEARN as they celebrate 20 years of global youth involvement in making the world a nicer place.

WALLS TALKING PROJECT. The idea is to ‘listen’ to the graffiti talk around us (on our walls, doors, desks, chairs, floors, T-shirts, schoolbags, etc.), and to record and share interesting finds. If other interested teachers and students respond by posting photos and related info, this could turn into a nice project of the wall/s/talking in our schools, streets, towns, countries, world. Sketches, squiggles, doodles and other more sophisticated street art around us is the part of public spaces usually walked by, unnoticed by most people. More information | Flickr group | Wiki

SHARE YOUR MAGICAL MOMENTS FOR A GLOBAL ONLINE BOOK. Students around the world are invited to unite in sharing their magical moments in a global online book, showing youth that their personal magical moment is part of a human web that transcends borders is of incredible human value. And, it promotes values such as compassion and tolerance. Youth from Iceland, Zambia, Belarus, Romania, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, Sierra Leone, Portugal and Denmark have posted their magical moments. View online books and find out more here.

iEARN-THAILAND HOSTS 3-DAY WORKSHOP FOR TEACHERS, JUNE 11-13, 2009. Hosted in Bangkok, Thailand, approximately 25 English Language teachers have joined together with iEARN-Thailand Co-Coordinators Sonthida Keyuravong and Patcharee Sridakum, and Tina Habib of iEARN-USA for a workshop on how to integrate iEARN global projects into their curricula. Meet them in the online Teachers Forum.

iEARN-MOROCCO (MEARN) TO HOST 16th ANNUAL iEARN CONFERENCE AND 13TH YOUTH SUMMIT IN IFRANE, MOROCCO, JULY 19-25, 2009. Innovative Technologies and Cross Cultural Dialogue For Quality Education. Participants from 45 countries are already registered: Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, France, Brasil, Canada, Spain, UAE, USA, Japan, Mali, Mexico, Oman, Netherlands, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Senegal, Indonesia,Taiwan, Slovenia, Tunisia,Turky, Kenya, Morocco, Azerbaijan, Argentina, South Africa, Lebanon, Yemen, Israel, Belarus, Suriname, Nepal, Malaysia, Palestine, Iraq, Uzebekistan, Thailand, Pakistan, Georgia, and Poland.

Can’t make it to Morocco? Join the Conference Forum and Youth Summit Forum for ongoing discussions and updates.


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