Monday, October 22, 2012

A Crazy Idea...

My name is Will Piper and I am a fifth grade social studies teacher at the University School of Milwaukee, an independent school for students grades PK-12 located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA.

The subject I teach in social studies is "world cultural geography."  Over the course of the school year, my students get a geographical survey of places around the world.  We start the year learning about Australia in August and September, then move on to India and South Asia in October and November, explore China in December, Japan and Southeast Asia in January, Africa (with a focus on Africa South of the Sahara Desert) in February and March, Europe in April and Mexico, Central and South America in May and June.  During each of these units, we explore our year long essential questions: "How does the physical geography of a place affect how people live in that place?" "How are cultures around the world similar and uniquely different?" and, "Why is understanding cultural diversity an important part of being a global citizen?"

Given the modern technology and wonderful global connections that we have with students that I teach this year, I had a crazy idea... what if we took a plush replica of our school's mascot, Willie the Wildcat, and literally sent him around the world to places at the same time we're studying them.  Students, teachers, and families alike could learn the wonderful value of cultural diversity by reading about Willie's travels and adventures on this blog.  Moreover, perhaps, if this project takes off, we could send other Willie dolls on trips around the world, or even have students take Willie with them on their travels.  Who knows where Willie could end up going.

As of now, however, here is our mission: Send Willie to travel and experience culture through people living in: India, China, Japan, West Africa, Germany, and Mexico, and have him end up back in Mr. Piper's classroom by the first part of June 2013.

Will Willie make it home?  We'll have to wait and see.  We hope that working with students' relatives, like-minded educators, and friends of the school that our dear pal Willie can enjoy his world travels and teach us about what culture is like in different places around the globe.

Follow this blog for pictures and updates of Willie's Travels.  This is "Where On Earth Is Willie!"

1 comment:

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