Jennifer Brenner, OLu's US History teacher, is passionate about giving her students the best learning experiences possible. She loves her subject, and when she talks about teaching US History to students, she overflows with enthusiasm.
When the opportunity arose to embed global citizenship education into her course this year, Mrs. Brenner leaped at the chance.
"I love that we are equipping students to think about others before self - that is a beautiful thing! I believe true change starts with the heart, intrinsically, and on our 'homefront' here in our OLu community first. Then we can overflow into the lives of others on a more global level."
Looking at the US History curriculum for semester 1, many entry points surfaced for connections to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and aspects of Service Learning. Working with Service Learning/Global Citizenship Coach LeeAnne Lavender, Mrs. Brenner chose two lessons she wanted to redesign to include a global citizenship component.
The first was related to themes of immigration-related to Unit 4 (Urbanization and Immigration). This was the perfect unit for students to learn about MISO, an action research method used in Service Learning. In addition to using the internet to research a topic, MISO teaches students how to use interviews, surveys, and observations to do research. In this case, students learned how to conduct a MISO interview and then chose a community member to interview about being new in a community. They compared and contrasted the experiences of community members in the current context to stories from their US History curriculum featuring immigrants to the US in the 1900s. After conducting the interviews, students reflected on their learning by summarizing what they had learned, how their perspectives had been changed, and how their conversations connected to the UN SDGs.
"This was a very rich learning experience," says Mrs. Brenner. "The students learned valuable real-world communication skills and fostered new connections with community members, in addition to having a deeper engagement with what we were learning in class."
A few weeks later, while learning about the Progressive Era, students took the idea of being progressive and applied that to their own health and well-being. They engaged in personal surveys and reflected, learned about the wellness wheel, and created goals for personal well-being. They even learned about a new app to help them track their wellness goals.
"Engaging in this work is exciting, and I am definitely going to build on these experiences to design more global citizenship opportunities in my classes," says Mrs. Brenner.
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