For the past several years, Kim O'Neil's students at Liverpool Elementary have had the opportunity to connect with Marlise Kasper's students from the Albert - Schweitzer - Gymnasium in Germany through multiple video conferencing events.
So when Kasper and some of her students recently traveled to the United States, a stop at LE was on the trip's itinerary.
Kasper visited with O'Neil's third-graders, and spoke with them about what life is like in Germany. She also taught the students how to say their numbers and colors in German, and shared small packages of Haribo Gold-Bears (the original gummy bears) with the students.
In turn, the LE third-graders asked questions of Kasper, the most popular being how to say their names in German, and performed several songs on their recorders.
O'Neil, a Fellow of the Goethe Intitut's Transatlantic Outreach Program, said she believes there is no better way to learn about another country than to travel throughout its borders and experience it first hand. Since taking her students on such a field trip wasn't feasible, she decided to offer them a virtual visit instead.
With the help of the Transatlantic Outreach Program and the Pedagogical Exchange Service in Bonn, O'Neil was matched up with Kasper, who teachers English. Both teachers and their students then embarked on a series of videoconferences that allowed the students to get to know each other by asking questions about their lives.