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

Places and Perspectives Learning Circle

The material in this section parallels the Teacher's Guide and presents suggestions or ideas that are specific to the Places and Perspectives Theme. This is an outline of the content in this section related to the different phases of Circle interaction. This file can be read from beginning to end to understand the Places and Perspectives theme. Or, using the "hypertext" links from the phase structure of Learning Circles, you can move easily back and forth from the general structure of a Learning Circle to theme specific examples. At the end of each set of theme related examples and ideas, there is a button to make it easy to return to the general description of the Learning Circle phase.


Introduction to Learning Circle&endash;Places and Perspectives

Phase 1: Getting Ready&endash;Places and Perspectives

Phase 2: Opening the Circle &endash;Places and Perspectives

Phase 3: Planning the Projects &endash;Places and Perspectives

Phase 4: Exchanging Student Work

Phase 5: Publishing the Journal of Places and Perspectives

Phase 6: Closing the Circle

Introduction to Learning Circles&endash;Places and Perspectives

Places and Perspectives Learning Circle

Places and Perspectives encourages students to explore regional history, culture, government, and geography by sharing their knowledge with people from different locations. Often students assume that their lifestyles and thinking patterns are universal; they are unaware of differences. The goal of the Places and Perspectives theme is to expose students to places beyond their own schools and communities in order to expand their outlook on life and broaden their views. This helps students understand how historical events and geographic conditions interact to help shape their lives and gives them a deeper understanding of themselves, their families and their communities.

Each classroom sponsors a project for a section in the Places and Perspectives Review. For instance, a classroom studying history may sponsor a section on local legends, interview native inhabitants or the elderly, or describe the historical attractions of the area. A classroom studying government might sponsor one of these sections: Examining local constitutions, Monitoring Elections, or Issues in Local Politics. A geography class may sponsor projects such as location descriptions, travel guides, comparisons of weather patterns, map studies, or studies on how geographic locations affect social patterns.



Educational Goals

The purpose of this guide is to establish some common goals, to share ideas and suggestions from other teachers, and to support you in your teaching and learning through Learning Circles.


Goals for Places and Perspectives
Learning Circle

Learning Circle Task

To accomplish this goal, teachers and students share a taskÑ the creation of a Circle publication featuring and summarizing the projects sponsored in your Learning Circle. This task will help students develop technical and computer expertise as they use the technology to accomplish important educational goals.

Task of a Learning Circle

Return to "Introduction to Learning Circles"



Phase 1: Getting Ready&endash;Places and Perspectives

Thinking about Geography

One way to prepare students for their Learning Circle project is to discuss similarities and differences among people in different locations. Here are some ideas that might help you introduce the topic to your students.

Return to "Phase 1: Getting Ready"


Phase 3: Planning Places and Perspective Circle Projects

Sponsoring a Places and Perspectives Project

Sponsoring a Learning Circle project involves selecting a topic, proposing the type of information you want to receive from the other sites, organizing the project material exchanged on the network, and preparing a section on your project for inclusion in the Circle publication, the Journal of Places and Perspectives.

Sponsoring a Project

An effective way to integrate networking with your classroom instruction is to take an activity that you already do in your curriculum and extend it by inviting students in different locations to contribute to it. For example, one New York teacher was doing a history unit on the Native American Iroquois tribe. One part of the project involved collecting local legends. She asked Learning Circle participants to share local legends, particularly those of any early indigenous people. This example illustrates the four characteristics shared by many of the successful Learning Circle projects.

Here are some ideas for involving your students in the selection of your Learning Circle project.

Lesson Plans for Circle Projects --Places and Perspective

You are encouraged to select a project to sponsor that is integrated with your curriculum. One of the ideas in this section may be appropriate. It is likely that these ideas can be modified to fit the work of your students. Or they may help you think of something from your classroom that will work well on the network. Other teachers in your Learning Circle are also a great resource for project ideas. You might want to look through the Ask-Eric archives of lesson plans in Social

Some of the ideas are written to appeal more to younger students like "Backyard Dinosaurs," and "Local Animals," while others like "Land Use and Local Politics" are written for older students. However all topics can be modified to make them appropriate for any age student.

Where in the World Are We
Backyard Dinosaurs
More on Dinosaurs
Local Animals
Historical Perspectives
Regional Legends and Local History
Land Use and Local Politics
Natural Disasters
Transportation and Geography
Travel Guides
Place Profiles
Local Business and Industries
Migration Patterns

If you cannot download images, a text only version of project ideas is also available.

It is a good idea to print this form for listing your own project ideas as it is never too soon to start the planning process.

Introducing your Places and Perspectives
Project Plan to your Circle

Here are examples of message that were sent to a Places and Perspectives Learning
Circle during the Project Planning Phase:

Teacher Planning message (elementary school teacher)
Teacher Planning message (high school teacher)

Student Planning message (elementary class)
Student Planning Message (secondary class)

"Circle Update" Message from a Learning Circle Facilitator

Return to "Phase 3: Planning the Projects"

Phase 5: Publishing the Journal of Places and Perspectives

Example of a Project Summary for
the Journal of Places and Perspectives

Here is the table of contents and the first three pages of a project summary written by one school as their section of the Journal of Places and Perspectives.

Return to "Phase 5: Organizing the Circle Publication"


Return to List of Themes in the Overview

This Web guide was written by Margaret Riel and is based on the Places and Perspectives Learning Circle Curriculum Guide she developed for the AT&T Learning Network. Report all problems to
Margaret Riel ([email protected]).


Margaret Riel, Copyright © 1997, Revised 2002. All rights reserved.