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Country of the Week in Classrooms

Dec 10, 2020

With the increasing attention Country of the Week has recently been provided by media and government, there have been inquires from teachers in various countries asking about the suitability of Country of the Week for their classroom. I’ve summed up the most common questions below and provided some additional context which I feel is important as well. If you are interested in working with or collaborating on the development side of Country of the Week, please reach out to me.

Can I cancel the subscription if needed?

Yes, cancellation is as simple as logging in and canceling your subscription from within your Country of the Week profile.

How frequently are new countries delivered? How do I deal with school breaks?

All subscriptions to Country of the Week include new materials and recommendations for a new country every week for 200 weeks in a row. When time is taken away from the program, such as through holiday and summer school breaks, there are a couple of options.

Most frequently, teachers simply pass over the countries that became available during a school break and carry on from the country of the week that school resumes. In our home, we once took on the challenge of eight (8) countries in just 14 days. That was a lot of fun for us without "missing" any countries.

This entire program is meant to be organic and flexible in whatever manner the program is used. Once a country is made available to you, it remains that way for the duration of your membership and is accessible at any time.

What do your printable sheets look like and what print restrictions are there?

You are free to print as many copies of any sheet as required for your classroom. To view sample sheets, check out this post on the Country of the Week Facebook page.

Can I display the Country Profile Sheets and additional activity sheets on a smart board or other projection system?

Yes, all downloadable sheets are in PDF format (formatted to US Letter size 216 x 269 mm or 8-1/2” x 11”) and are viewable on any device that supports this file format (computer, table, smartphone, projection systems, etc.).

Can I load these sheets to a Google classroom for remote learning?

Grade school teachers are permitted to load the Country Profile Sheets and additional activity sheets to any online learning environment that directly connects with their individual students. Original Country of the Week print materials should be treated like any other product purchased from another person/company and only be for the use of the students in your classroom.

What grade is Country of the Week suitable for?

Initially, this was created as an in-home project for our children, aged 5 and 7 at the time. For that reason, we advertise that this project is ideally suited for children ages 5 - 10. Engagement with younger children does sometimes rely on how engaged the parents or teachers are.

Does this provide my classroom with an all-in-one activity kit for every country?

The safe answer, currently, would be no. But it really depends what you are looking for. What is shared for each country, at a minimum, is a Country Profile Sheet, Flag Sheet, Colouring Sheet and at least one other activity sheet (crossword puzzle, word search, maze, coded letter puzzle, etc.). Most countries have more than this, but this is the minimum. The girls and I are developing more and more sheets every week and are open to your ideas!

Many teachers that currently use Country of the Week in their classroom use our materials (initially developed for families to simply have fun with) and then add to them, as they see fit. They do this by creating original materials themselves or by using resources like Teachers Pay Teachers for more country-specific resources.

We have long term plans to create a very comprehensive set of resources specifically for schools that involves engaging cross-curricular activity sheets that bridge art, math, language arts, science, geography and more—delivered within the context of a new country every week. That specific development project is in the early concept stage and part of a future phase for Country of the Week. If you are interested in becoming involved, please reach out.

Are the video recommendations you suggest safe for my classroom?

The videos that we suggest watching (often found on YouTube and sometimes on Vimeo or similar platforms) are what we refer to as "family safe." As appropriateness in classrooms can vary, it is our recommendation that videos be previewed by the teacher (at least, in part) to determine the suitability for their students. In some cases, we include a disclaimer where some language or material may not be appropriate for all audiences and we have written very clear instructions alongside those specific video recommendations.

We hope this answers the majority of the questions, but please reach out if you require further information.

There are a number of teachers who use COTW in their classroom and we have received very positive feedback from them. Each teacher has made it their own, to suit the unique needs of their students and grade level. We hope the same takes place for you, although with varying learning environments across the world right now due to COVID-19, this is more of a challenge than normal.

(There are additional plans for a variant of COTW for older students, but now I am really getting ahead of myself!)

With that, we hope you join us in our mission to cultivate tolerance, empathy and global citizens out of every child that interacts with this program.

- Dave

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