Brings the World into NYC Classrooms
Pola Rosen, Ed.D.
and students recently came together in a culminating activity
that really connected them to other countries and peoples, clearly
demonstrating the success of Heather Halstead’s program
Reach the World. Founded just a few years ago when Halstead
graduated from Princeton University with a passion for teaching
and for sailing the seven seas, her not-for-profit endeavor
was the perfect union of her interests. With the purchase of
a large sailboat, the Makulu II (“big momma”), Halstead
as skipper and classmates and friends as crew, plotted a course
around the world. As they circumnavigated the globe, beset at
times by rough seas and engine trouble, they continued to make
contact with classrooms in New York City via satellite. Students
could “sail” as armchair travelers while learning
about the countries, customs and peoples that the Makulu visited.
Not only could students track the voyage and ports of call on
a map, they were also able to email crew members with any questions
they had. Teachers could design curricula around any facet of
the Makulu’s voyage and the crew could provide the “hands-on,
reality base” for the lessons.
At the final activities and festivities recently, students from
Mrs. Moon’s fourth grade class in PS 163 Manhattan discussed
the animals that Makulu II had seen on its voyages. Among them
were sharks and snakes, which the children described with interesting
The 6th graders at IS 145 in the Bronx presented a project on
the Galapagos Islands. Eight groups of four gave written reports
about various topics. Students continuously tracked the ship
through www.reachtheworld.org. Collaborating teachers included
Kelly Kaughan and Leila Morsy. According to Kaughan, the “greatest
significance of the project was that each child was connected
to part of it and then deeply researched that topic. Integrating
the curriculum was a challenge that took longer than expected
partly because we only had four computers.”
Students from class 704 in IS 390 made these comments: “Because
of Reach the World, we can communicate with kids around the
world; you’re just one click away.”
When the ship finally arrived in New York City, students were
eager to go on board, meet the crew in person and see the physical
Makulu II which they had tracked so assiduously and which had
widened their horizons so dramatically.#
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