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Reaching Across the Globe Through ePals By: Michael Casey (Gallon Jug C. School) Presentation Outline Gallon Jug Community School-Belize The Global Coalition & Integrating ePals Utilizing National Geographic Content and the ePals Global Warming Project

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Reaching Across the Globe Through ePals

By: Michael Casey (Gallon Jug C. School)

Presentation Outline

Gallon Jug Community School-Belize

The Global Coalition & Integrating ePals

Utilizing National Geographic Content and the ePals Global Warming Project


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Gallon Jug Community School-Belize & ePals

  • Gallon Jug Community School is located in the remote, northwestern section of Belize (Central America) on the Gallon Jug Estate. We are situated on 130,000 acres of semi-tropical rainforest.

  • The school is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. We are a small, private school with 5 teachers, and approximately 80 students in a K-8 program. We have a looping system in place whereby each teacher instructs 1 class for 2 years with student to teacher ratio of 15:1.

  • The school’s mission is to educate 2 small villages with a population of roughly 230 members. We are the only school that serves this remote community.

  • Students must meet the standardized tests established by the Belize Ministry of Education in order to graduate from 8th grade and continue onto secondary learning.  The surrounding environment of Gallon Jug offers students a wonderful, natural learning atmosphere to learn in and maximize educational opportunities.

  • Our school began using ePals 5 years ago in conjunction with the Global Coalition (Bethlehem, N.Y.) on a limited basis due to the fact that we had no Internet connectivity. Students would type emails for their ePals and save them on a disk. These would then be sent to their ePals through the only satellite, Internet system in the area.

  • 2 years ago we installed a school satellite system thus our capabilities grew with ePals into daily emailing, sharing videos on school projects, exchanging art, poetry, and culture with other Global Coalition schools connected through ePals.

  • This year we completed the National Geographic's Global Warming Project as part of our Science, and Social Studies curriculum. We hope to complete more National Geographic Projects this year.

  • School Website: http://gallonjugschool.googlepages.com/home


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The Global Coalition & ePals

  • The Global Coalition was started shortly after 9/11 by educator & friend Bill Reilly from Bethlehem Middle School in Bethlehem, N.Y. in response to the tragedies that occurred. Gallon Jug Community School has been a member since 2001 representing the Central American region.

  • The mission of the Global Coalition: We are an international community of schools dedicated to the cultural exchange of knowledge, ideas and projects.  Our international website publishes news, essays, art, poetry, ideas, and solutions that are of a global concern for participating students and educators.

  • ePals has been The Global Coalitions means of communicating since 2001 connecting over 30 schools from all regions of the world. Teachers utilize ePals with English, Social Studies, Reading, Science, Geography, and Math content areas. Gallon Jug began use of ePals with the Global Coalition in 2003-2004.

  • Schools are reintroduced at the beginning of the school year, and broken into “ePal Groups” of approximately 25 students per group. Students are then given topic areas to write on each week communicating their thoughts and ideas with their group in a continuous, yearly exchange.

  • In addition to emailing, Global Newscast are developed by contributing schools and aired on the Global Coalition website. ePals allows us to make these newscasts public by informing all interested schools via email. The newscasts are also discussed through ePals using email.

  • The Global Coalition, Gallon Jug Community School, and all member schools also share culture, art, dance, poetry, and much more through ePals.

  • Global Coalition Website: http://bcsd.k12.ny.us/middle/Global/global.htm


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Implementing National ePals’ Global Warming Project and National Geographic Content into Classrooms

  • Gallon Jug Community School 7th & 8th graders integrated the Global Warming Project into their Science and English curriculum during the 2008 school year.

  • Students were broken into groups of 4 with class objectives as follows:

    1) Students will be able to identify the elements of global warming.

    • Learn about global warming, greenhouse gases, the greenhouse effect, and climate change.

    • Learn about what causes global warming.

      2) Students will be able to discuss the effects of global warming orally and in writing.

      3) Students will create presentations that explain how people can reduce global warming.

    • Advocacy presentations will demonstrate understanding of:

      • global warming (responding to the essential and supporting questions);

      • one effect of global warming;

      • what is being done to contain that effect.

    • Advocacy presentations will include calls to action with specific action plans, such as conserve water by... reduce energy use by... reduce pollution by..., etc.

      (National Geographic)


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The Global Warming Project National Geographic Content into Classrooms

Project Elements Overview

This project has four parts:

  • Engage, Activate Prior Knowledge and Build Context;

  • Exchange of four informational emails between ePals;

  • Create an advocacy presentation that demonstrates understanding of global warming as a culminating activity; and,

  • Reflect/Assess

    The Project Details

    1) Students were issued the following rubrics:

    Project Rubric: http://content.epals.com/projects/info.aspx?DivID=CActivity_Rubric

    Email Rubric: http://content.epals.com/projects/info.aspx?DivID=Email_Rubric

    2) Students were also issued the project calendar:

    Project Calendar: http://content.epals.com/projects/info.aspx?DivID=GlobalWarming_Calendar

    3) Students explored the Global Warming Project through the ePals website. The student forum and teacher forum were explained.

    4) Students were engaged and prior knowledge was activated using the following National Geographic resources from the project site:

    A) http://Ecobridge.org. B) tutorial on greenhouse effect C) global warming quiz

    5) Students were placed into groups of 4 and timetables were established.


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Emails and Advocacy Presentation National Geographic Content into Classrooms

1) Set up email groups. Students followed the email rubric and exchanged emails within their “ePal Groups.”

Note: It may be helpful to link up with other schools, teachers, and students using the forums prior to starting this project. This ensures that students acquire appropriate, substantive feedback about the topic of a specific nature.

2) Final “advocacy presentations” were scheduled to be Power Points completed by the students adhering to the culminating activity rubric: http://content.epals.com/projects/info.aspx?DivID=CActivity_Rubric

Advocacy Projects were based on the following content areas:

How do human activities cause global warming?

How does global warming impact the planet?

How can people slow the rate of global warming?

What is global warming?

What is the greenhouse effect?

What are the interdependencies of plants and animals in habitats?

What is climate change?

How do we distinguish between natural climate change and human-caused climate change?

What are the effects of global warming?

How does global warming affect your lives?

What are individuals doing to reduce global warming?


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Examples of Final Advocacy Projects & Extended Learning National Geographic Content into Classrooms

Gallon Jug Community School Advocacy Power Points

On Global Warming

Student Samples of Advocacy Projects

Go to: http://gallonjugschool.googlepages.com/gjcsphotogallery

Extended Learning Ideas (National Geographic)

Discuss a radio broadcast on global warming

Role Play