Hi Everyone and thank you for your interest in Traveling Teddy! My name is Pana and I am the founder of the project. Here is a little summary to share a little more about us and what we are about!
Traveling Teddy began as a question I asked myself:
“How can I incorporate more hands-on experiences into an online global collaboration?
Being an early childhood educator, I was eager to find authentic ways to connect my class to the world. I found that there were many online global collaborations and projects, but not many were geared toward younger children. At the time, projects that I found lacked the physical, hands-on experiences that are are the heart of early childhood education.
Before digital and online tools entered classrooms, global collaboration already existed through projects such as pen pals, or using “snail mail” to send packages from one class to the next. It dawned on me that I could take traditional global collaborations which contained tangible objects that students could experience, and combine it with the digital world of blogging, video chats, and social media. This is how the idea for a tech-savvy traveling teddy bear was born! The beauty of the project is that students get to touch, cuddle, and play with their bear, and then follow the same bear around the globe through our blog and on social media. The connection becomes much more personal.
Traveling Teddy began in 2014 as a small collaboration to test the concept. We started with one teddy bear traveling through six classrooms in six countries, which included my own class. In 2017, Traveling Teddy decided to take on the Sustainable Development Goals to help spread awareness and ignite action. My hope is that Traveling Teddy will act as a platform and resource to bring SDGs into the classrooms of our youngest learners.
The project entails that each class contribute the following:
- Create at least one blog post to travelingteddybear.com to document the bear’s visit with your class
- Learn more about your bear’s SDG using the resources in the passport or the participant Google Drive folder
- Make a QR code that can be linked to any type of media. Print it out and stick it into the passport for the next class to scan
- Stamp the teddy bear’s passport which he or she travels with
- Discover what the teddy bear packed with him/her from the previous destination and learn about it
- Decide what to send along with the bear to the following destination, which could include finding out what the weather is like or what the next school is like.
- If time zones permit, video conferencing with the class before or after yours is a fun way to learn about where the teddy bear has been or will be heading. Otherwise, connecting through the blog, or on the Twitter hashtag #GlobalEdTed is also an option
Since that first year we now have grown exponentially! Traveling Teddy involves an estimated 1,500 students each year, but probably more!
If you would like to join our teddy adventures, signups open in mid August of every year. Until then, you can also sign up to receive an email notification. I look forward to watching the bears travel to touch the lives students around the world for years to come!
Founder of Traveling Teddy