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Lesson 2

Page history last edited by Stephanie Knox 12 years, 8 months ago

Lesson 2: Explore the Website - we'll need to change most of this lesson, if not all of it



To familiarize students with the steps to find information and stories on the Bridges website. To review online

etiquette for posting messages internationally, both in Bridges forums and other educational networks.



Welcome to www.bridges2understanding.org. All students are invited to explore our website and view the selected

stories in our Gallery. You can also view the student work on each School Page or read current and past news

about Bridges students.


Through this website students will be able to communicate with Bridges classes around the world, by posting

written messages, photographs, slideshows and digital stories. It is important to understand the guidelines that all

members of the Bridges community use while posting messages in our forum. AP/GCP



Either prepare copies for each student or post the Tips for International Communication in classroom.

Arrange to either project Bridges website in classroom and work as a group, or use computer lab and

have students work in pairs at individual computers to complete the Bridges Website Exploration


Read through and practice using the Website Instructions which are attached below, as well as at:


Have a camera available to take class photos and shots of your school. Have card reader available for



Guide students through the Website Exploration Activity and discuss the Tips for International


Collect Bridges Permission Forms and explain the use of Bridges website to students, as described


Review notes (KWL) from previous class discussion, and use to stimulate discussion about stories and

locations of other Bridges sites.

Select students who will post an introductory message to the online forum. Compose message as a class

either directly in the discussion page, in a Word Doc to be cut and pasted into discussion forum, or on

paper to be typed in later.

Bring group together for a Class Portrait and post to class page. 


Website instructions www.bridges2understanding.org/programs/programinstructions.html#website

The Bridges discussion boards are open year-round, but most use is focused during two time periods in the year:

October – November, and March – May, when most schools involved with Bridges are in session. Because

school calendars are different around the world, we have chosen these time-frames to maximize the number of

users and chances for interactions.


Discussions are associated with Bridges three topic areas: Environmental sustainability, Conflict and

reconciliation, and Culture and traditions. All discussions must be assigned to one of these topics. For ideas

about what content is appropriate for each topic, go to TOPICS.

You have two options when participating in the discussion forums:

1. Start a new discussion

2. Reply to an existing discussion

To start a new discussion, click “start a new discussion” in the left-hand menu.

1. Type a subject in the subject box.

2. Pick a topic from the topic list.

3. Compose your message in the message box (please write it in both Spanish and English if you can, and we will

have volunteers to help with translation of messages for classes that need it).

4. Attach photos or other media or link to a classroom project.

5. Click the “post message” button as the last step, to successfully start your new discussion.

6. Classes can edit their own messages. This tool will be used to go back into messages and add an English or

Spanish translation.

Every time you start a new discussion, please post two replies to existing discussions.

To reply to an existing discussion, click the “reply to this discussion” button that you can find at the top and

bottom of each discussion board page. You will be taken to a new screen to post a new message to the

discussion. You will not be able to change the subject or topic for your reply; these are set by the first message

that started the discussion.

1. Is your message directly related to this subject? If not, please start a new discussion.

2. Compose your message in the message box (please write it in both Spanish and English if you can, and we will

have volunteers to help with translation of messages for classes that need it).

3. Attach photos or other media or link to a classroom project.

4. Click the “post message” button as the last step, to successfully post your message.

Your message will now appear at the very end as the latest post to this discussion, so that the entire discussion

can be easily followed start to finish. The “last post” information will automatically update to indicate that your

class has posted a message related to this topic.


Lesson 2: Explore the Website

© Bridges to Understanding 10

Discussion guidelines

For these discussion forums to be rewarding for all the Bridges! students, we ask that you please use the

following guidelines when posting messages.

Every time you start a new discussion, please post two replies to on-going discussions. Thoughtful responses to

the postings of global peers generate ongoing, in-depth dialogues.

The following rubric components have proven helpful to students as they prepare and post forum responses to

global peers.

1. Thank and compliment the author(s) of the posting.

2. Comment on the specific content presented in the posting, i.e. topic(s), important insights, ideas, perspectives,

addressed by the author(s) in posting. Comment on how the content of the posting makes contributions to and

builds understanding of important issues and actions.

3. Make connections of similarities and differences between the content of the posting and your own experiences,

ideas, and perspectives.

4. Contribute ideas on how the posting suggests actions that project participants can take to make positive

differences within your local to global communities.

5. Ask thoughtful questions to continue the dialogue, for example:

• Ask questions for further clarification

• Ask for more information

• Ask the author!s opinion on positive actions that could be taken

• Offer your ideas, hopes, and purposes for ongoing collaboration.

(Rubric components adapted from K. Rennebohm Franz, iEARN)


Lesson 2: Explore the Website

© Bridges to Understanding 11

Bridges Website Exploration Activity: Part 1

Please open http://www.bridges2understanding.org and explore the tabs on top of the home

page to answer the following questions:

1. In what countries are current Bridges classes (schools) located?


2. What is the name of the school in India that has a Bridges program?


3. What is the name of the town where it is located?


4. Where is Hector Peterson Secondary School located (country)?


5. How many digital stories are listed on the home page, under Latest Digital Stories?


6. Where is the Tibetan Children!s Village?


7. Which of the Tips on International Communication was most interesting to you? Which

ones did you know already, and which ones were new?



Lesson 2: Explore the Website

© Bridges to Understanding 12

Bridges Website Exploration Activity: Part 2 Posting to the forums

(This section of the activity is only for those students who will be communicating in the Bridges online forums.)


! At the bottom left corner of the homepage, click on Log-in button.

! Your class has ONE username and password to share, since this website is for class-to-class discussion,

not individual student-to-student. **Please respect the privacy of others by not sharing with anyone

outside of your class.**

Please write your class user name and password here:


! You have arrived at the Welcome Page! The menu is on the left, and has a yellow background.

STEP TWO: Find your class page

! Click Class page | Nuestra salon listed at the top of the menu.

! You should see your class picture (Not there? Ask your teacher to get one posted ASAP!)

! If your teacher has assigned a project to your class (ex: a slideshow) it will appear here. When you finish

your digital stories, they will be posted here by Bridges staff.

STEP THREE: Find the discussions.

! Click Program page at the top of the screen. In the menu, click on “View Discussions | Ver

discusiones” then answer these questions:

1. What languages are used in the discussions? __________________________

2. What is the subject of the discussion with the latest post? ____________________

3. Choose from the discussions with the following subjects, and read through the posted messages to

see how these forums are used by different classes:

“Mi Futuro.” (messages in Spanish and English)

“¿Qué come usted?” (messages in Spanish and English)

* Please keep in mind: School year schedules are different in different parts of the world, so the classes who have

posted messages may not be in session right now, especially if a few weeks or months have passed. You may

not be able to talk to them directly, but there are many other interesting classes from around the world that

participate throughout the year. Please post messages that everyone will feel welcome to reply to, in order to

keep the discussions going.


Lesson 2: Explore the Website

© Bridges to Understanding 13

STEP FOUR: Post a Message:

! Review the Website instructions and Discussion Guidelines. If you ever forget how to post a

message, remember that these instructions are here to help.

! Working with your classmates, please write a sincere introductory message using the guidelines of this

Initial Message Rubric.

1. Begin by introducing yourselves with specific content:

• What is an interesting way to initially present your class?

• What are you studying?

• What are the core values of your school? Is there a focus?

• What issues are of most concern to you?

• What will you do your project on?

2. Ask thoughtful questions to get the dialogue going:

• Ask questions that came up after watching digital stories made by other Bridges

students. Do not assume other classes in the discussion forms have seen the

same story already.

• Ask questions that might clarify assumptions you have made about the regions

of the other Bridges schools. (Refer to class notes and KWL chart.)

• Ask about what other classes are studying

• If there is anything in the news about the regions where other Bridges schools

are located, be sure to comment.

3. Conclude with a friendly thought or hope for the collaboration:

• Why are you excited about the project?

• When will they hear from you next?

Ready to post your message?

1. Click on: Start a New Discussion and choose Introductions. Type your message here, and try

posting a photograph or two!

2. Follow the Bridges rule of thumb and reply to two existing discussions. Choose another Introductions


3. A picture is worth a thousand words.


You have now begun your class communications through Bridges to Understanding. Your class project

success depends on YOU. Regular postings, interesting content and sincere curiosity are the essential elements

of a rich dialogue. You are ambassadors of your country, which means the impression you leave with the other

students around the world may influence how they think about your country. This is an opportunity to learn with

honesty and open mindedness. And, have fun!


Lesson 2: Explore the Website

© Bridges to Understanding 14


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