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Freeman 6th Graders Learn From Canadian Students

Temperature readings in Celsius, not Fahrenheit, playing hockey and going skiing prioritized over football and basketball, provinces instead of states, and washrooms instead of bathrooms are just a few noted differences that stood out to the sixth grade students in Bob Floth’s classroom from Freeman Elementary School when Skyping with their new friends from just outside of Toronto, Canada. The social studies curriculum for sixth grade at Freeman is based on a World Geography text. All areas of the world are covered, but each area is limited to just a few pages. During a class discussion, the class decided there was more to learn than what their book had to offer. They could explore the wonderful world of Google for information, but it’s sometimes hard to tell the difference between fact and opinion, so they decided to find a primary source, Canadian students!


Mr. Floth is active on twitter, where he follows and is followed by teachers from not only the United States, but other countries. He sent a direct message to Ashley Michaud (me-show), a grade 4 teacher from Kleinburg Public School just outside of Toronto, Ontario, asking if she would be interested in having their classes video conference in order to learn more about Canada than what their text provided. Ashley enthusiastically responded in agreement! Mr. Floth emailed a scanned copy of the information from the text so the Canadian students could check its validity. After giving the students from Kleinburg time to review the material, the students used Skype to discuss the text. The students were excited to hear that the majority of the information was accurate, but not equally emphasized over the reality of living in Canada. The Freeman textbook repeatedly talked about the cold weather and the northern parts of Canada, even though most people, cities, and economic infrastructure are in the southern provinces. That led the students to more and more questions! The teachers and students decided to take some time, compose more questions, email them to Ms. Michaud and give the Kleinburg students time to research and respond.


During their last Skype session, the students learned they had a lot in common with their Canadian counterparts. Baseball, basketball, volleyball and soccer are played in both schools. A lot of the students from Kleinburg have parents who work in finance, construction, are business owners and some have stay at home moms, not unlike our students at Freeman. The students were excited to listen to a student introduce herself in French, which Canadian students begin to learn at grade 4. They learned the students are only 2 hours from Niagara Falls, that Canada has roughly 36 million people and that Toronto is a very diverse city filled with authentic restaurants from all over the world. The students at Freeman are excited to receive questions from the Kleinburg students after Christmas break about the United States, so they can share what they know about living in the United States.

This real world experience of video conferencing was a great introduction to how businesses and corporations function on a daily basis. It also provided a great opportunity for students to step out of their comfort zone and learn from others a country away. All students did a wonderful job participating and they look forward to making a connection with students elsewhere in the future. If anyone has any connections to teachers or citizens of another country that you think would be willing to share in a similar experience, please contact Bob Floth at Freeman Public School at his email: bfloth@freemanschools.net   

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Freeman Public Schools415 8th StreetP.O. Box 259Adams, NE  68301

p. 402.988.2525f. 402.988.3475

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It is the policy of Freeman Public Schools not to discriminate on the basis of gender, disability, race, color, religion, marital status, age or national origin in its education programs, administration, policies, employment or other district programs.

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