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A Holiday Surprise from Belgium

Early in the school year, Tracy Vargas, a second-grade teacher at Poplin Elementary, realized the students in her class had personal connections to many different countries throughout the world. Because of this Vargas decided to have the students learn about these countries. The students created a travel journal and passport and began exploring the different countries.

Their first stop was in England because Amber Thron, has relatives from there. The students learned about the London Bridge and how it is now in Arizona. The class made a video and the school learned along with Vargas’s class.

Stacy Vassilski, another student, has relatives from Bulgaria, which was the class’s next stop. Stacy shared information and the class learned interesting facts. They also created a video for the whole school to watch showcasing what they had learned.

Belgium is the most recent country Vargas’s class has explored. Jett Kauffman, another student, has an uncle who is currently in the Air Force and stationed in Belgium. Vargas arranged to have the students meet Jett’s uncle via Skype in the school’s Media Center. The students prepared questions on index cards ahead of time and during the week of the Skype visit, Jett’s mother brought in Belgium waffles for the class.

During the Skype visit, Msgt. Brent Swaney answered questions about the sixteen years he has lived in Belgium. Students were curious about animals, what Swaney does for fun, how long it takes to get to Belgium from Indian Trail, and about the food he eats. The students received a holiday surprise when Swaney, who plays the saxophone for the Air Force, played a popular holiday song, Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer on his saxophone. “It was really cool to hear Jett’s uncle play Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer on his saxophone all the way from Belgium,” said Abby Brame.

“My class is very curious about different cultures. They get excited when they learn a new fact about a different country. They wanted to share what they learn with the whole school!” said Vargas. “We might not be able to really travel around the world but we can get a glimpse of other countries that interest us, and if only in our minds, we can become world travelers.”

Written by: Beth Medlin, Media Coordinator and Tracy Vargas, Second Grade Teacher
Posted: Dec 16, 2011 by Beth Medlin

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