Introduction Getting Ready
Learning Circles Teachers' Guide
Open Circle Plan Projects Share Work Publish
Close Circle Overview

Teacher Comments on Their Learning Circle Experiences...

I felt it was very valuable in that we are an isolated Eskimo Village on the Yukon River and the network was a window to the world to youngsters who for the most part haven't been further from home than Bethel or perhaps Anchorage.

Nancy Graham
Russian Mission School
Russian Mission, Alaska


Learning Circle participation was a very important part of our social science curriculum last year and I found certain elements of its impact on my students to be most interesting. I thought it would improve their geography and writing skills as well as their awareness of the similarities of people all over our planet, and it did.

What never entered my mind was the change in my students' behavior when communicating with their Learning Circle. My kids didn't want the other students to know they lived in Juvenile Hall! They wanted to be normal!

Usually these kids have a false bravado and brag about their criminal aspirations. It was so unusual for them to deny this. I was fascinated.

The attitude prevailed all year with few exceptions and they actually presented real goals to the students from other classes such as mechanic, carpenter, nurse's aid and probation officer. This was a far cry from drug dealer and burglar!


Ruth Mikkelsen,
H.P.B. Carden Court School
Marysville, California

I would like to say that in the 4 Learning Circles which we have participated in, each one progressively helped our students with (especially) their self esteem and responsibility, ability to work in a team, and effective use of technology. Some students otherwise shy about expressing opinions and feelings have really come out of their shells and openly, willingly, discussed cultural differences and traditions with other students in far removed places, an opportunity they would not have otherwise had. Since they are graduating seniors, I really believe this experience will be especially valuable when they go on to college .


Vicki Gale
Lodge Grass High School,
Lodge Grass, MT

Teaching English is more alive, interesting and rewarding when taking part in Learning Circles.


Martin Lichte School,
Gymnasium Nordenham, Germany

My students really enjoy participating in Learning Circles. We read last year's publication to build excitement. We share with our parents a copy of the last year's work and they can't wait to see their own child's name in print. I've checked with past students, and their publication is cared for and cherished--they won't give it back! Yet, when studying in their new grade, they come back to us to see if we have any messages that can be used in their class.

Last year's parents have even asked about the network this year, and remarked about the wonderful publication! School board members ( I sent them copies) have remarked how great the program is. PTO has asked us to present our work. Our local library has added a copy of the publication and will be getting a copy this year.

This class geared up differently than last year's, somewhat slower, and yet, once they started the creative writing projects, they couldn't get enough to write, or read! They went nuts with poetry books, rhymes, mysteries, plays.... and that led into illustrating, and the art teacher got involved. And we overflowed down the hall,... and the other 4th grade class wanted to know all about it (and why weren't they doing it).

My class cherishes copies of each message received. They 'bid' for print-outs, and take them home as important 'mail' to be kept. Again, the parents are involved, reading and questioning the kids. I can't count the times the kids have used the map on the Learning Circle bulletin board. Any time a geographical-type question comes up in class, someone jumps up and looks on the map. I didn't do it, the Network gets the credit! The kids are just involved!

The class has been watching the pile grow for 3 weeks now, as I run off copies of the projects as we receive them. They can't wait to assemble the final publication! They know they each get a copy, and they know that next year's class will be awed by their work. The kids feel really good about it all. Me, too. Thanks!"



Gayle Barton
Garfield Elementary School
Wyandotte, MI


The experience has been very positive, we have worked hard enjoying our work and feeling a greater commitment than in normal class activities. We realize that our English is good enough for communication with people around the world. We are very satisfied with the amount of information that we have collected but what we have liked best is the contact with teenagers of far away countries an what we have learned about them: We have found differences but also many similarities. Students from
Liceo Scientificao "G. Marconi" Via Cosntitenete
Parma, Italy




Copyright © 1997, 2002, Margaret Riel

Written by Margaret Riel