During my days in the classroom, I had a section where souvenirs were displayed from family travels. Students were also invited to bring their souvenirs’ to share. That section in my classroom became the, “Let’s see where to visit” place. Sometimes as a filler activity, I would call on one or two students to share where their souvenir is from with the whole class. There was no content assignment tied to what students shared. It was just plain fun for everyone to learn, enjoy and get ideas on where to visit next.
I still remember one student’s trip to the Ice Caves in Alaska. It was fascinating to hear about her experience. Her and her family got lost for some hours in the cave they visited until tour guides found them. Though, we have been to Alaska, I am yet to visit the Ice Caves. Perhaps because of the cold ice or getting lost in the caves have not been too convincing.
Since out of the classroom, I still get to hear fascinating travel experiences from friends, colleagues and especially from our adult daughters. Our oldest daughter had a first-hand Mardi Gras experience this year. Our middle daughter just toured parts of Europe for her spring break. For all of us back home, it’s unbelievable she was in Brussels a few hours before the tragic explosion last week. We give God a thunderous praise and thanks for His grace and goodness. She is becoming an adept traveler discovering where her medical mission would eventually take her as a pediatrician. Our youngest daughter enjoys the benefits of business travels while experiencing the beauty of the places she visits.
During a recent family trip to Mexico, we had a chance to explore the culture of the wonderful people there. Pictured in this post, my husband and I visited a local shop. The people wanted to know about our culture and we spent some time-sharing some similarities in cultures and learned some new things. We did not leave without having a prayer time. For those of you that know us well, you know this is our sweet spot :).
As educators how can we utilize this travel theme post? One major way is to give students the opportunity to explore while learning. You might not be able to physically take your students on an international, national or even local field trip. However, you can empower their imagination for exploration through reading. This is exactly what the noted quote from Saint Augustine implies, “The world is a book, and those who do not travel, read only a page.”
Recent research from David K. Dickinson et al (2012) clearly connects literacy development with oral language development. It authenticates the fact that reading books have the sway to create interactional contexts that nourish language development. Furthermore, the research looks at the connections between language and the later practice of reading, environmental elements linked with language learning, and interventions developed in different countries for encouraging the practice of reading. The importance of reading cannot be over emphasized; it is essential to learning.
“The more that you read the more things you will know, the more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” Dr. Seuss
Dickinson, D., Griffith, J., Golinkoff, R., & Hirsh-Pasek, K. (2012). How Reading Books Fosters Language Development around the World. Child Development Research, 2012.