By Veronica Bonadeo
At OakHill Pilar school in Buenos Aries, Argentina, a Kindergarten group and a First Grade group are both participating in Level Up Village’s Global Storybooks Engineers course and having tons of fun! They’re reading each book with the help of Miss Mai and Miss Pipi. Each book leads to a project that stems from the story: they have worked hard to make spaghetti towers to help Strega Nona and Big Anthony, and then a shell cover to protect Jabuti the Tortoise. They also used the Engineering Design Cycle to build a boat to help poor Monkey avoid Crocodile and shared videos and pictures of their projects. Since we were unable to obtain the necessary robotic parts in our area for the robot rabbit project, we thought creatively and collaboratively about solving the problem and discussed and drew pictures instead.
The girls were in awe watching and interacting with real children who live more than 7,000 miles away. They were thrilled when they found out their partners were waving to them like surfers because they’re from Hawaii, really close to Moana’s island! From that moment on, they’ve been waving “ALOHA” on every possible occasion.
Another Kindergarten group is enjoying the Global Sound Artists Course, learning about sounds from around the world and different kinds of instruments. They’ve created their own guitars and Japanese drums and are working hard to show their progress to their U.S. friends.
One of the kid’s mothers told the school this hilarious anecdote: Grandma had called her, concerned about the little boy’s fantasies: “He says he’s working together with children from the United States,” she said. “I know kids tend to have imaginary friends, but isn’t this going too far?” Mom told Grandma about Level Up Village and she was excited too!
Meanwhile, a group of our 9th graders have completed the Global Programming Designers course. Even though they were somewhat shy about recording videos to their partners, they had an interesting experience learning about Scratch and sharing their work with their partners. The level of collaboration differed in some aspects, but that is why the experience felt so authentic and helped students learn to do their best work.
All in all, I believe LUV has given us a great opportunity to open our minds, share and learn from other cultures, and the most important thing is that it has provided real life context for children to work and communicate. It’s certainly not the same when kids ask for help to speak correctly because they’re completing a worksheet than when they ask for help because they need to tell something to their new US friend. We are very thankful for this opportunity, and looking forward to more LUV projects!