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Friday, May 5, 2017

How should we strive to communicate as global citizens?

Sixth Grade Pen Pal and Mural Project
Leila Huff, Grade 6 Homeroom and Language Arts Teacher
Stevie Olson, Grade 6 Homeroom and Social Studies Teacher
Berhane Zerom, Grade 6 Homeroom and Math Teacher

In the first exchange of letters, BB&N students discussed the question: "How should we strive to communicate as global citizens?" To understand the question more deeply, the students broke it into two questions: "What is a global citizen?" and "How should we strive to communicate?"

Students reflected that being a global citizen meant respecting the people and world around you by being understanding. They thought that a global citizen has responsibilities to contribute to and participate in the well being of a community. He, she, or they must take action to improve the world and seek unity.  According to the students, a global citizen should strive to communicate with people around the world, empathize with them, and even meet them. A global citizen must listen and be in thoughtful while trying to connect to others. A global citizen must attempt to avoid bias that separates people while breaking down biases that already exist. A global citizen seeks to inform their own ignorance. A global citizen listens and seeks to apply what they learn.

Some students reflected on how they felt after receiving letters back from their pen pals:
“It made me feel good because our pen pal was so eager to learn about us and for us to learn about her. She was so careful to answer all of our questions and ask plenty too.” –Caroline
“If I had met them for the first time in person [instead of writing to them], I would hold biases because I would think we didn't have many similarities. However, after reading this letter, I realize that they're very similar to us, and there isn't a difference between us even though society often labels us as coming from different groups.” –Colin
“I thought our pen pals would be very different people with different personalities. But, after reading the first letters, my pen pal seems a lot like me, and someone I would want to be friends with.” –Tait
“After reading the first letter, I realized we enjoy the same things because many stereotypes I know reinforce our differences." –Dylan
“I thought our pen pals would be very formal and proper because I didn't know what they teach you in an Islamic school. When I received my letter, my pen pal wrote in ‘text language’ and spoke just like me. Even though we have different religions, we still can have so many other similarities" –Charlotte
"We have so many similarities with our pen pal. This is surprising because I thought he would be very different from us" –Beau

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