The social issue my video conference would address is bullying in adolescent years and how to cope with it. I would focus on this social issue because from september to november, we work on a ELA unit that discusses how adolescents cope with challenges such as bullying or fitting in with their peers. This unit is tailored to 6th grade students but could be adapted easily for multiple grades. The unit allows students to see different perspectives on how young people cope with challenges of everyday life while showing them the format of narrative writing. Before we read the texts from this unit, I provide background knowledgs on what bullying is and some techniques for coping with it. Global encounter would be a great way to show students that bullying is a real world issue and that this unit has an important message.
For this video conference, my ideal guest speaker would be Jermey Lin, an asian-american basketball player. I first came upon Jeremy's story on NEWSELA, where it talks about his challenge with not being the typical basketball player. People would mock him for being different, however, he didn't let it hinder his career. I have read this article with my students before and they enjoyed seeing someone they could relate to. Jermey Lin is also a great speaker for the demographic of my school since over half the population is Asian-American.
Involving other classrooms around the world would deepen our discussion of this social issue because it would bring it to that global scale. This would allow students to understand that not just kids who look like them but all types of ethnicities and personalities deal with bullies. It also would be great to hear about other students experience with coping with these challenges, the same way the students are going to read about it in the unit. For students to be ready for this discussion they could answer writing prompts about their experience with bullies and how they coped with the challenges. They can use their responses as a reference when speaking to other students around the world during the conference.
After the conference, students could deepen their learning by making a connection between their experiences and the experiences of others. I could assess their participation by having students fill out a graphic organizer designed for them to take notes on the speakers. Not every student would be required to share their stories during the conference but all students should be listening, reflecting, and being respectful.
My goal from this video conference would be to have the students have a deeper understanding of the topic from the unit. If they can relate and understand the issue on a global level, they might be more engaged in the readings.