Digilit Sunday: Looking beyond the comfort of our classroom

diglit sunday

Digilit Sunday was created and is hosted by Margaret Simon @ Reflections on the Teche – join us and share your digital teaching ideas!

Every so often, I use our class writing blog to ask my students to  look beyond the comforts of our classroom and examine what students around the world (as well as in other parts of our own country) experience. YouTube makes it possible to find very brief video clips which make for powerful viewing, thinking, and reflecting.  This is not a research project, or a writing prompt that calls for many paragraphs and very specific requirements.  This is, really, just meant to be a reflective thought shot – a way to get my students to think about the world they live in.  After all, hanging in front of our classroom is this quote from “To Kill A Mockingbird”, when Atticus Finch counsels Scout:

“First of all,” he said, “if you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks.  You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view-“


“-Until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

…and I would like my kids to value the experience of being able, in some small way, to do just that.  Here was last week’s post:

download (6) (1)

This week’s SOL has to do with going to school. Watch the  videos below sometime this week and then write a slice reflecting upon what it is like for some children around the work to go to school. What did you learn about what school is like for these kids? How do they feel about school? How does your experience contrast or connect?








And here are just a few examples of what my kids thought: 

M: After watching these videos, I realized how thankful I should be for the community we live in and the education we get! We can just easily drive to school, but they can’t and it makes me feel terrible just looking at their faces. They are so scared! These kids have to risk their lives just to go to school! The second video was absolutely heart shattering! These poor children have to climb across rope, sideways, just to get to school. In that video, a girl was so scared she was crying. I also noticed that here, we would say, “I hate school!” but they are passionate about school! They are happy they at least get to go to school. They wouldn’t take the big risk if they didn’t want to. I think it is terrible that they have to go through this, but it is worth it in the end. I can’t imagine what it would be like if a kid fell! That would be absolutely terrible! This is dangerous and now that there are videos about it, people should consider fixing this problem! I thank these kids for being brave. They are heroes!


M: I watched the videos about the kids going to different schools around the world. In the video’s I realized that kids here in the U.S. will say “I hate school”, or ” I never want to go to school”, but the kids in the videos had a passion for school. If I had to go to school climbing a wooden ladder or going across the bridge I would refuse but the kids there think of learning as a special moment. no one would get up in the middle of the night or risk their lives climbing across a bridge or up unstable ladders unless they wanted to. From these videos I learned that some kids have a passion for school and they love it.

T: From the four videos that I watched, I learned that I have to be thankful for the community that I live in, and that I don’t have to risk my life to go to school. These kids have to carry their backpacks, and go to school, in these crazy ways, with not even their parents helping, at such young ages. Most of these kids seemed frightened, and scared, even after they’ve done it a lot of times. The school that goes, at night, and the school that goes on the mountain, seems to really like their school, but the other students from the other schools don’t seem to like their schools.
These schools are different from my school because I don’t have to climb something, or walk across something that’s broken to get to my school, I also don’t have to go to school at night, and luckily my school does have electricity, which I am very lucky for.

All my kids felt that their eyes had been opened to the lives of kids very far away…we had “walked a mile” in our own way, we felt that we had been changed, and writing helped us frame our thoughts and share our reflections.


5 thoughts on “Digilit Sunday: Looking beyond the comfort of our classroom

  1. Tara,
    What a beautiful way to think about “school” around the world! It’s so important that students consider life beyond the four walls of the classroom, the school, and even the community!

  2. You are such a thoughtful teacher. I am stealing this too. Our students don’t always have an appreciation for what they have. Thanks for posting for DigiLit Sunday.

  3. Wow, Tara, what powerful stuff on so many levels. I love the way you offer such deeply layered tasks that contain multiple purposes — perspective-taking, writing, being a world citizen and a thoughtful person, to name just a few. You and the other learners in your class are inspiring!

  4. Pingback: The Slice of Life Project…with a “twist” | TWO WRITING TEACHERS

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