Conservation pals is a project that will connect schools from around the world, via the conservation projects within the OPCA network. It takes the idea of ‘pen pals’ into the computer world of 2021.
Focusing on different topics that will be set by OPCA, we aim to open a discussion within and between different schools around the world. Students of all ages will be able to connect to students from other countries by answering and asking different questions. We aim to inspire a sense of discovery, focusing not only on the environment, but the lives of other students around the world.
How does it work?
Each month OPCA will send a prompt, a poster that will introduce the topic. Just a few simple paragraphs introducing a concept or idea. There will then be questions to act as conversation starters. These questions will start off simple to accommodate younger years/lower ability English. There will then be some deeper thinking/activity questions for the older students to engage deeper into the topic.
Teachers/projects will then display or give this poster to their class. The prompt aims to open a discussion within your classroom. The students can answer the questions, engage with the activities and also come up with some questions they would like to ask the students from other countries.
The outcome can be ‘recorded’ in different ways. Students can send in pictures of their work, pictures of what they are discussing or can send in videos answering and asking questions. This will all be sent in to a central Google Drive, each country will have their own folder, within which each school/class can also have a folder if this is what is needed. All participants will have access to the other folders, so a class can dip in to see what Uganda has been doing for example.
OPCA will put together a ‘highlights’ of each month’s responses, this will allow classes to get a roundup of what everyone involved has been up too. Using this drive system means that schools can dip in and out as they wish, there is no commitment needed. *only project leaders and school leaders will have access under the permission of OPCA in order to protect safe guarding of students*
As the project goes on, particular schools, classes and even students can build stronger relationships and contact can be increased if desired. OPCA will act as a facilitator, giving monthly prompts, but this is not a limitation, the schools and projects can always take things further and add ideas.
what we will focus on
We will focus on the environment and conservation. The older the students, the more complex topics can be explored.
We also want to allow students to share other aspects of their life. For example, what foods can you get at your local market? What does your village look like? Giving students a glimpse into life in the different countries.
The prompts will be used as discussion starters, teachers and students can feel free to interpret the theme however they would like to.
what we need you to do
As project or school leaders we want you to share the conservation pals program.
If you are a project leader: Introduce the program to any local or international schools that you work with. Tell them about what we are doing and give them access to the google drive.
If you are a school leader/teacher: It is your job to run the program. By this we mean you have to find a time in your school to present the project to your students. Show them the prompt and start a discussion. You can also link this in to any further learning you might have planned in your lessons.
It is also the role of school leaders to 'collect' your students response. Whether this is through videos, photos or written work, we want you to collect your students response and share it in the drive so that the other schools can connect with you. In the next session you can start off by looking into the drive to see what the other schools have been doing and see if they have sent any questions for you students to interact with.