News & Events

Dreams & Friendships Exchange 2016-17

Published on Sep 22 2016

in News

Dreams & Friendships Exchange

This year we’re offering the entire Dream Flag community an exciting year-long school connection program based on one developed by the U.S. State Department.

Established by the Cultural and Youth Services Office of the U.S. Embassy in Macedonia, The Dreams & Friendships Exchange creates a series of live interactions between students in different school that helps them get to know each other and, ultimately, share their dreams with Dream Flags.

Each month, a new lesson focused on Hughes Poems will be offered to the schools so that they can prepare for a monthly Skype class where students respond to poems by Langston Hughes, share their own writing, play games, and interact.

The commitment is to arrange for 6 monthly Skype classes, starting in November and ending in April with the sharing of Dream Flags by each class. The technical requirement is that you have a computer that can do Skype video calls in front of your class.

In the past two years, schools in Macedonia have connected with schools in the US for this program with great success. Some of the fun activities have included “ball toss across the Atlantic,” and teaching local culture songs and/or dances. Students have also written with great insight and fun about each other. One benefit is that by sharing about themselves with students from another school, the students in the same school often get to know each other better.

The most significant challenge is finding a time when you and your collaborating teacher actually have class at the same time or can arrange to, but participants have found that it’s well worth the effort.

Here’s an example of an introductory game: Ball Toss Across the Atlantic

Before Skype Class:
>Teachers send names of students in the class to each other.
>Teacher posts names of student on the board.
>Each teacher has a soft small ball.
>Teacher tosses ball to student. Student says their name and something they like that starts with the same letter.
>Student then says “I’m tossing this ball to ______” and fills in a name from the other class. Student tosses the ball to the teacher. Teacher checks the name of the list (so all get called.)
>Teacher in the other classroom tosses the ball to the student named. That student responds in kind.
>Keep going until everyone’s had a chance.

This can also be played with simple questions the other student answers, or with questions about a poem both classes have read.

To see a full lesson plan of the second Skype Class, click HERE.

The schedule for topics is the following:
November: Introductory Class with  Overview and Ice-Breaker Activities
December: About Me with poetry about likes and dislikes. See Lesson Plan
January: My Family. Possible poems: “Mother to Son” and “Aunt Sue’s Stories”
February: My Culture Possible poems: “Drums,” “Dream Variations,” and "Danse Africaine”
March: My Challenges. Possible poems: "Homesick Blues," and ""Wide River"
April: My Dreams. Sharing of Dream Flag Poetry.

Process for Participation:

By October 15:
1) Register for the 2016-17 Dream Flag Project HERE. (If you have any technical trouble just email and say you want to register.

2) Fill out linked form HERE  to provide your name, email, location, number of students, grade level(s),  time zone,  and normal class meeting times for the Dreams  & Friendships Exchange.

By November 15:
>We will make matches between schools and be in touch with you.
>We will send you a lesson plan for each month. It will be appropriate of for upper elementary or middle school students but can be adapted for high school or lower elementary.

By the end of November you will have your first intro Skype class.

You will continue monthly Skype classes  at your own pace.

By the end of April you will create and share Dream Flags with your partner school.

By the end of March you will fill out a brief program evaluation survey.

That’s it! If you have questions, please email I’d love to hear from you!