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“I live with my family. I like to play football. My favorite food is chicken and pizza,” said a Cambodian student in a video played for Love Elementary School third graders during a recent visit from David and Marissa Troxell from the Rotary Club of Jamestown.
“So is football the same in Cambodia as it is here?” asked Mrs. Troxell.
“No, it’s soccer in Cambodia,” said a Love student.
Mr. and Mrs. Troxell shared the videos from the Cambodian students as part of an on-going partnership between the Rotary Club of Jamestown and Love School. Love third graders had created videos for the Troxells to take to Cambodia to show what going to school in Jamestown is like. The Cambodian students were so thrilled by the videos; they created their own to show Love students their lives.
“I didn’t know that Cambodian children used wooden balls, not rubber ones. It is different because here in school because we have computers to do our work but they don’t have that in Cambodia,” said Love third grader Caden Mancari. “But it is the same, because they eat breakfast and lunch at school and so do we. I think it’s important that kids learn about other countries and new places so that they know more about the world.”
The partnership came about when Love teacher Danielle Russell read an article in The Post-Journal about the work the Rotary Club of Jamestown was providing to a school in Cambodia. The club created a green space that students could use for recess. When Mrs. Russell read the article, she thought it was a great opportunity for Love School to get involved and help out another school. The first year of the Rotary Club of Jamestown partnership, Love students raised money to buy playground equipment that could be used by the Cambodian students. This year, the Troxells helped the Jamestown and Cambodian students to create video exchanges. The videos were a great way to bring to life the similarities and differences between the students school life in Cambodia and Jamestown. Actually seeing and hearing the Cambodian students and their school really gives Love students the opportunity to put real faces with the content they are studying.
“The lack of access to books and education that the school in Cambodia faces was a perfect real-life connection to what we were studying in ELA and so it was a great fit,” said Mrs. Russell. “The Troxell’s have visited Love four times over the past two years and we have plans in place for next school year as well.”
During ELA, third grade students learn about the power of reading and the access that students have to education and books around the world. They spend time studying different countries and how their access to books and education is different than the access we have. Students research a given country and what the access to books and education is in that country and work to write a paragraph or two about that topic.
“This community connection has helped me greatly in the classroom as it gives me the opportunity to share something from around the world with my students that otherwise I would not be able to share with them,” said Mrs. Russell. “The fact that the Troxells go to the school in Cambodia and work with those students and then come here and work with our students is very unique. My students love the idea of being in contact with other students around the world. This connection really adds life to our curriculum.”