When I was serving on the Weekly Reader National Teachers Advisory Board, all of us who were state representatives brainstormed with the Weekly Reader editors about what kids should learn from the publication. They asked me to create a way to teach kids about geography and cultures of the world.
That became a huge task but I love challenges so I took it on.
One night I woke up at 2 a.m, rushed to the computer and began jotting down my ideas. I had read a story about a little bear that traveled around the world so I decided to create a geography project about traveling bears. Why not have all my students send teddy bears around the world? As it turns out, this became an 11 year project that I did with each team of about 80 kids a year. I taught social studies and Language Arts so what better way to incorporate geography and social studies with Language Arts?
I was then asked to be a guest presenter at the NELMS (New England League of Middle Schools) to share my GeoBear project at their convention. I felt very honored to be able to teach other teachers around New England about it. Much to my surprise, there were about 6,000 educators who attended and they were also from Canada, and other countries. What surprised me the most is that HIGH SCHOOL teachers attended my sessions and couldn't wait to try it with their students!
Actually teddy bears are a way to make learning fun and personal. The high school teachers felt that it would motivate their students to become interested in different cultures and ways of life. That was my goal to begin with because I was teaching different cultures and geography at the time.
Next to come... What steps to take in order to get the project off the ground....