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The Power of Music and Global Collaboration: Mountain Brook Elementary & Colegio Santo Tomás

Global Music

This past October, two classrooms from Mountain Brook Elementary (Alabama) and two classrooms from Colegio Santo Tomás de Aquino (Buenos Aires, Argentina) kicked off our first Global Sound Artists collaboration in the new platform. In this 8-week course, the classes have used asynchronous video exchanges to meet and learn together about how sounds are created, rhythms are produced, and instruments are made. Their learning goes far beyond building instruments and making music, though. These curious young students are also learning about the lives of children across the globe, discovering the power of global collaboration, and developing their global perspectives.

“I want my kids to have a greater understanding of the world than what is just inside our classroom and our community. Having experiences like these allows us to make positive connections with those who may differ from us,” said second grade teacher at Mountain Brook Elementary, Katie McMahon. Her students are excited to explore the tasks and create with their hands. They love building instruments and sharing their creations with peers in Argentina via video exchanges. “We get to talk with people on the other side of the world and hear how they speak!” exclaimed Austin, one of Katie McMahon’s students.

First grade teacher, Joy Palmer added, “This partnership has been invaluable for my students. They are so engaged, excited to learn about different cultures, and have enjoyed partnering with a classroom of students their age. They are now interested in learning more about our partner country during free time and look forward to watching our video exchange. This week, they enjoyed making instruments and learning about another country. Some students said it was their ‘highlight of the week.’ They cannot wait to see how our partner classroom made their instruments, how they are decorated, etc.”

At the Santo Tomás School, students are participating in the exchange as part of a broader unit on Arts & Aesthetics. In their first video, the students showed off their amazing English skills to talk about their favorite things—soccer, holidays, friends, and music among others. In their second video, the students performed a song with the first instruments they built (Ecuadorian Panpipes), along with footage of the students visiting the Colón Theater in Buenos Aires.

“We understand that learning of a second language is a door to expanding the students’ general knowledge, the understanding of other realities. The language learned is not only a means of academic knowledge but more importantly, a door to communicating with others,” said Celina Gismondi, the Director at Santo Tomás. She shared that exchanges like LUV’s Global Sound Artists not only allow children to use their new language in real context, but they also give them a glimpse of a life in another part of the world.

Celina’s students love watching their peers’ video and excitedly await a new one each week. They also ask lots of questions about what they see in their peers’ videos and make observations about what they have seen:

“Look! They don’t wear a uniform! Why?”

“They have round tables!”

“They are very tidy and silent.”

“In Argentina we say futbol to talk about soccer. They use soccer and football for the different sports.”

This is inquiry-based learning in action!

Today’s children are growing up in a world that is becoming more and more interconnected and interdependent, where global competency skills will be essential to their future success. Exposing children to other cultures and teaching them global perspectives help them grow into global citizens with empathy and an appreciation of others. LUV courses such as Global Sound Artists help create learning experiences that not only elicit young children’s curiosity but also engage them in opportunities to appreciate and learn from different cultures and ways of thinking from an early age.