Written by Andrew Ellingsen, DCSD part-time Instructional Coach following a visit to the 5th grade classroom of Sarah Nowack
Sarah Nowack’s college friend Staci and her family have taken a leap that many of us have only dreamed of -- they’ve put life on hold and will spend eight months traveling the world. Staci and Mason have left their jobs and rented out the house, son Ian is taking a year off of college, and daughter Lily spent her entire summer completing her required coursework for the entire junior year of high school. (Lily will also submit homework while she’s on the road to fulfill some other academic requirements.)
As soon as Sarah heard about their year, she contacted Lily to hatch a plan that will play out over the course of the year. From time to time while traveling, Lily will send the 5th graders in Mrs. Nowack’s class postcards from around the world -- Decorah students will spend the year traveling vicariously through Lily and her family!
The first postcard arrived on Friday from Ephesus, Turkey. In her note to the students, Lily introduced herself and explained that Turkey is home to one of the ancient wonders of the world, the Celsus Library.
In just a few minutes, Sarah had guided students to connect multiple subject areas with Lily’s postcard.
The excitement in the room was palpable -- students are looking forward to tracking Lily’s travels, exchanging ideas with her as the year unfolds, possibly Skyping with her at some point, and even scheduling an in-person meeting when the family returns to the US in May.
Interested in following along with Lily and her family? You can learn more about their plans in this article published in the Des Moines Register or by following their family’s travel blog. As more postcards are delivered and students continue to connect their learning to the world beyond our school walls, we’ll share updates with the Team DMS community, as well.
How have you connected the curriculum to the world beyond? What extensions can you imagine implementing? Join the conversation and post ideas and questions below!
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