Places and Perspectives Learning Circle
The material in this section parallels the Teacher's Guide
and presents suggestions or ideas that are specific to
the Places and Perspectives Theme. This is an outline of the content in
this section related to the different phases of Circle interaction. This
file can be read from beginning to end to understand the Places and Perspectives
theme. Or, using the "hypertext" links from the phase structure of Learning
Circles, you can move easily back and forth from the general structure
of a Learning Circle to theme specific examples. At the end of each set
of theme related examples and ideas, there is a button to make it easy
to return to the general description of the Learning Circle phase.
OUTLINE OF THIS FILE:
Introduction to Learning Circle&endash;Places and Perspectives
Phase 1: Getting Ready&endash;Places and Perspectives
Phase 2: Opening the Circle &endash;Places and Perspectives
Phase 3: Planning the Projects &endash;Places and Perspectives
Phase 4: Exchanging Student Work
Phase 5: Publishing the Journal of Places and Perspectives
Phase 6: Closing the Circle
Introduction to Learning Circles&endash;Places
Places and Perspectives Learning Circle
Places and Perspectives encourages students to explore regional
history, culture, government, and geography by sharing their knowledge
with people from different locations. Often students assume that their
lifestyles and thinking patterns are universal; they are unaware of differences.
The goal of the Places and Perspectives theme is to expose students to
places beyond their own schools and communities in order to expand their
outlook on life and broaden their views. This helps students understand
how historical events and geographic conditions interact to help shape
their lives and gives them a deeper understanding of themselves, their
families and their communities.
Each classroom sponsors a project for a section in the Places
and Perspectives Review. For instance, a classroom studying history
may sponsor a section on local legends, interview native inhabitants or
the elderly, or describe the historical attractions of the area. A classroom
studying government might sponsor one of these sections: Examining local
constitutions, Monitoring Elections, or Issues in Local Politics. A geography
class may sponsor projects such as location descriptions, travel guides,
comparisons of weather patterns, map studies, or studies on how geographic
locations affect social patterns.
The purpose of this guide is to establish some common goals,
to share ideas and suggestions from other teachers, and to support you
in your teaching and learning through Learning Circles.
Learning Circle Task
To accomplish this goal, teachers and students share a taskÑ
the creation of a Circle publication featuring and summarizing the projects
sponsored in your Learning Circle. This task will help students develop
technical and computer expertise as they use the technology to accomplish
important educational goals.
to "Introduction to Learning Circles"
Phase 1: Getting Ready&endash;Places
Thinking about Geography
One way to prepare students for their Learning Circle project
is to discuss similarities and differences among people in different locations.
Here are some ideas that might help you introduce
the topic to your students.
to "Phase 1: Getting Ready"
Phase 3: Planning Places and Perspective
Sponsoring a Places and Perspectives Project
Sponsoring a Learning Circle project involves selecting
a topic, proposing the type of information you want to receive from the
other sites, organizing the project material exchanged on the network,
and preparing a section on your project for inclusion in the Circle publication,
the Journal of Places and Perspectives.
An effective way to integrate networking with your classroom
instruction is to take an activity that you already do in your curriculum
and extend it by inviting students in different locations to contribute
to it. For example, one New York teacher was doing a history unit on the
Native American Iroquois tribe. One part of the project involved collecting
local legends. She asked Learning Circle participants to share local legends,
particularly those of any early indigenous people. This example illustrates
the four characteristics shared by many of the successful Learning Circle
Here are some ideas for involving
your students in the selection of your Learning Circle project.
Lesson Plans for Circle Projects
--Places and Perspective
You are encouraged to select a project to sponsor that is
integrated with your curriculum. One of the ideas in this section may
be appropriate. It is likely that these ideas can be modified to fit the
work of your students. Or they may help you think of something from your
classroom that will work well on the network. Other teachers in your Learning
Circle are also a great resource for project ideas. You might want to
look through the Ask-Eric
archives of lesson plans in Social
Some of the ideas are written to appeal more to younger
students like "Backyard Dinosaurs," and "Local Animals," while others
like "Land Use and Local Politics" are written for older students. However
all topics can be modified to make them appropriate for any age student.
Where in the World Are
More on Dinosaurs
Regional Legends and Local History
Land Use and Local Politics
Transportation and Geography
Local Business and Industries
If you cannot download images, a text
only version of project ideas is also available.
It is a good idea to print this form
for listing your own project ideas as it is never too soon to start
the planning process.
Introducing your Places and Perspectives
Project Plan to your Circle
Here are examples of message that were sent to a Places
and Perspectives Learning
Circle during the Project Planning Phase:
Planning message (elementary school teacher)
Planning message (high school teacher)
Planning message (elementary class)
Planning Message (secondary class)
"Circle Update" Message from a Learning Circle Facilitator
to "Phase 3: Planning the Projects"
Phase 5: Publishing the Journal
of Places and Perspectives
Example of a Project Summary for
the Journal of Places and Perspectives
Here is the table of contents
and the first three pages of a project
summary written by one school as their section of the Journal of Places
to "Phase 5: Organizing the Circle Publication"
to List of Themes in the Overview
This Web guide was written by Margaret
Riel and is based on the Places and Perspectives Learning Circle Curriculum
Guide she developed for the AT&T Learning Network. Report all problems
Margaret Riel, Copyright © 1997, Revised 2002. All rights