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Poplin First Graders Learn about the Philippines

Caroline Gopun's First Grade Class. Top right: Traci Raine-Assistant, Chandler Blackstock, Braxton Martin, Garrett Simpson, Alexandre Pola, Alex Potter, Noah McIntyre, Carson Bloom, Tennyson Douglas, Caroline Gopun-First Grade Teacher. Middle right: Zoe Logan, Rory Hood, Anatasiya Korotkova, Katrina Harlow, Jillian Vargas, Chloe Stevens, Emma Boyer, Allyce Key, Aubrey Pace. Bottom right: Emily Robinson, Alina Matias, Jade Knight, Kate Miller.

Teaching is something Caroline Gopun, a first-grade teacher, at Poplin Elementary always wanted to do, especially since her mother was a teacher for 35 years. Gopun is from Iloilo City in the Philippines. Gopun is teaching at Poplin Elementary this school year because of the Global Gateway program, which was developed by VIF International Education. It is a Chapel Hill based organization that helps K-12 schools start and maintain language and global awareness programs. Students in a Global Gateway grade level, which at Poplin this year is first grade, have a unique opportunity to develop knowledge of a world region, to interact with students and teachers from that world region, and to develop 21st century technology skills. 

The Philippines is the region Poplin first graders will be interacting with this school year. Gopun is sharing her Filipino culture in the daily learning activities within her classroom, through books about daily life in the Philippines, and Poplin students are interacting with Filipino students via Skype. “Teaching elementary school children during their formative years is the best time to expose children to the world and open their minds about other cultures,” said Gopun. Already she has taught the students songs and words in Tagalog, which is one of three languages Gopun speaks.

Gopun grew up in a Barrio, which is like a small town, in Payao, Binalbagan, Negros Occidental. “Most residents know each other and we had a simple life where agriculture, mostly rice fields and sugar cane plantations, are the main means of living,” said Gopun. Iloilo City in the Philippines is where Gopun’s husband of 13 years and two daughters, ages five and twelve, currently live. “Iloilo City is called the ‘City of Love’ because of the hospitable and accommodating people,” Gopun said. “It is a beautiful place with beaches and lots of tourist destinations showcasing mansions built as far back as the 1800s.” During Gopun’s short time living in the United States she has discovered new things about the people, which she says she loves and visiting the beach.

Not only will Gopun expand the students’ knowledge of the Philippines, but Poplin staff will participate in learning activities this school year as well. “It is exciting to offer this opportunity for increased global learning to our students and staff,” said Principal Stephanie McManus.

Written by: Beth Medlin, Media Coordinator and Caroline Gopun, First Grade Teacher
Posted: Nov 29, 2011 by Beth Medlin

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