As the rhinos travel around the world it is always very uplifting for me to see and hear what they have been getting up to on their travels, and that is why I appreciate it when teachers (or students) blog about their experiences with the visiting rhinos. Here is a blog post by Pru Thomas, year 6 teacher at Roseville College Junior school in New South Wales, where Lesedi has just been visiting:
We feel very privileged to have enjoyed a visit from a rhinoceros over the past few weeks. Lesedi is one of 5 rhinos from Cape Town in South Africa who are travelling the world to inform children everywhere about the plight of the world’s rhinos.
We learned that there are 5 types of rhino and they are all in danger of extinction.They are hunted and killed for their horns. Rhino horn is made of keratin just like our fingernails but many people believe it can be used to cure all sorts of medical problems. This is not true. So rhinos are killed for nothing.
Lesedi has already travelled almost 22 000 km from her home to visit us in Sydney. You can read lots more about her at http://saveourrhinos.wikispaces.com/The+Travelling+Rhinos
- You can read the original post on the Year 6RC blog here: http://goo.gl/QqiQ0w .
Thank you to the Pru Thomas and the Year 6 students at Roseville College for taking such good care of Lesedi and for spreading the awareness of rhino poaching!
Today I woke up to a very pleasant surprise – a blog post about The Travelling Rhinos Project written by a teacher in Korea (Nick Corben) whose class will be hosting a rhino soon. I was very impressed by the post and very honoured to have my project promoted in this way. Below is the blog post as it appears on Nick’s blog (http://goo.gl/KLkdO), with his permission, of course!
The Travelling Rhino Project
In my last post, Have you thought about Going Global? I stated:
‘The new school of education is global collaboration. Open the door to find a whole new world!’
Actions speak louder than words. Practice what you preach. If you’re going to talk the talk, you’ve got to walk the walk!
You’ve heard all these clichés before, they all mean the same thing, back up your talk with actions…
So, after thinking about it for several days I thought, ‘Why not now?’ ‘What am I waiting for?’ I decided that I didn’t want to do the same Flat Classroom project that I did last timeand through my Twitter feed came across the Global Classroom Project.
After spending some time looking through this informative and intriguing website I signed up to be a ‘Mystery Skype caller.’ Essentially, I was added to a database of other teachers from around the globe who are interested in connecting their students. The Mystery Skype provides an engaging and fun way for individuals and classes to interact with each other, while developing communication, critical thinking and mapping skills. The project goals are listed here.
Further down the homepage I came across several good global collaborative projects my students and I could really get involved in. One of these really stood out for me; run by mentor teacher, Karen Stadler, an ICT Integration Co-ordinator for Elkanah House’sSenior Primary campus in Cape Town, South Africa.
The Travelling Rhino Project began life in July 2012 when Karen visited Kruger National Park and saw these magnificent animals up close and personal. Little did she realise these rhinos were under attack from greedy poachers who have been killing them at such a rate, they will likely be extinct by approximately 2020.
The aims of the project are to educate children about these animals; to raise awareness of their situation; to unite people of the world in protecting the rhinos for future generations and a hope that action can be taken against the perpetrators.
I chose this project because I loved the way that Karen has a real personal interest and passion in the rhinos and I felt very persuaded when I read the information on the wiki she had made. I felt that my students and I could try to make a difference and help the cause.
The activities Karen suggested are good because they allow for individual, small group or larger team activities which could be done at school or home. Additionally, I will get my students to think about and develop their own ideas, allowing their creative juices to flow! Speaking of being creative, on 29 October 2012, Karen and her team managed to form a human rhino on their school field, comprising of 414 pupils!
As there are other schools around the world taking part there will be lots of opportunities to share, collaborate, evaluate and discuss. We will be able to use my Facebook and Twitter accounts to keep up-to-date with developments, Skype for real time communication and the wiki, blogs, Google Drive and other web 2.0 tools for our own project developments.
I will also use the iste NETS standards to guide and evaluate what the students are doing.
The NETS set a standard of excellence and best practices in learning, teaching, and leading with technology in education.
When I received the good news from Karen that my class and I would be part of the Travelling Rhino project, I was very excited as you might imagine! (It was 3am and I received a tweet on my phone)
I think Karen was happy too!
Whilst laying in bed and almost falling asleep, ‘What does it mean to disconnect?’ I had a good idea for my classes big ‘project kick off.’
I thought this would really make a good connection with my students, stimulate their minds and motivate them into action. It wouldn’t take more than 5 or 10 minutes but would be very powerful.
Now that my class and I have been accepted into a global project, isn’t it about time your class did the same?
If you would like to follow the project developments or be part of it yourself, here are the contact details.
‘LIKE’ our page on FACEBOOK :
FOLLOW us on TWITTER:
Use our hashtag: #travellingrhinosproject
EMAIL project co-ordinator, Karen Stadler: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you Nick for such an in-depth review of my project. I am looking forward to seeing what your class does when Zindzi arrives!
Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that a photograph of 5 rhinos taken in the Kruger National Park, the inspiration for my Travelling Rhinos Project, would spark off such interest and enthusiasm amongst the classes that have signed up!
What started off as an ambitious idea has grown into something so much more than just a project. It has sparked conversation, debate, inquiry and creativity.
The Twitter feed is constant, with daily feedback and photo sharing, and the Facebook page is a hive of activity with the number of ‘Likes’ growing at a steady pace. With 35 classes from around the globe already signed up, and more inquiries coming in, I can see this project running for more than just the year I had originally planned.
I’ve become a Skype expert overnight, having had Skype calls every week for the past four weeks! I’ve had the pleasure of doing two Mystery Skype calls – one with a Grade 7 class in Bridgenorth, Ontario, Canada (they took only 9 minutes to pinpoint my location) and another with a Grade 4/5 class in Guelph, Ontario, Canada (they took 11 minutes to pinpoint my location). I have also been interviewed by the Grade 5 Denton Dynamos in New York, and just last night I had a lovely chat with Grade 5 class in Surrey, BC, Canada. I’ve learnt that I have to have my answers ready – the children have good questions and they require informed answers!
The quality of the contributions by the different classes is simply astounding. They have created art works, videos, presentations, written letters to their local newspapers, designed t-shirts and more. The reaction to this project has been nothing less than astounding! I cannot wait to see what else the other classes come up with!
It’s a new year with so many new possibilities!
In November last year I launched a new Global Classroom Project at school and it went national and global on 7 December.
Inspired by this photo that I took of five rhinos drinking in unison at a waterhole in the Kruger National Park, South Africa, in July, I had five small rhino soft toys made out of genuine African fabric (one side shweshwe and the other an African print). Each rhino was given a truly African name (through a competition amongst our students). These rhinos are on their way to classrooms far and wide – one to South African Schools and then into Africa, one to Australia and New Zealand, one to Canada and America, one to America and South America and one to Europe and Asia. Through global connections I have made in the Global Classroom Project and via Twitter, I have sourced schools to send the rhinos to and currently have 33 classes signed up for the project which will run until December this year, or longer. (It is similar to a Flat Stanley project, but this time with Travelling Rhinos).
Each class will host the rhinos for a week or two and in that time the teacher is asked to educate the students about the rhino situation (in the world, but especially SA), they are asked to dispel the myth that rhino horn is medicine and then they are asked to get their children to contribute to a class page in a wiki that I have created (I have put together information they can use and provided websites for more information). They can write letters of appeal/make videos/do art work – anything which gives the children a voice in the fight against rhino poaching. They are then asked to send the rhino on to another class in their country. Of course they must also document the visit with photos and we will track each rhino’s journey on a Google map. The rhinos will travel for the whole year (or more).
The motivation behind my project is to educate and to use the children’s voices to highlight the gravity of the problem to other countries. After all, it is their children and grandchildren etc. that we want to save the rhinos for, and we rely heavily on tourism in South Africa, so I believe we can make a difference in this way.
Ultimately, once we have many classes participating and contributing, I would like to bring the project to the attention of the powers that be in government. I’m not sure how or who yet, but I have time to work that out!
To find out more about this project visit the wiki: http://saveourrhinos.wikispaces.com
Visit our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TheTravellingRhinosProject
Follow us on Twitter: @travellingrhino