What Does It Mean to Be Global?

What Does It Mean to be GLOBAL?

What Does It Mean To Be Global? A Mentor Text Lesson and Giveaway! Great way to integrate technology into the classroom. Vocabulary words covered: global, communities, customs, traditions, values, citizens, cultures and diversity.

In 2010 I traveled to New Zealand to attend the International Reading Association's 23rd Convention. While we were there, we had the opportunity to visit various elementary schools and observe a few lessons. I will never forget a lesson I watched in a 4th grade classroom. The class was engaging in a conversation about global communities and the importance of extending our knowledge about various cultures outside of our own communities. 

Images from the 4th grade classroom I visited in New Zealand

It was such a powerful message and I couldn't wait to bring the lesson back to my own classroom. 

One of the books the teacher read was What Does It Mean to Be Global? I ordered a copy and have had it as a part of my favorite book collection for 7 years. Amazon affiliate link below:

I decided that this book would be a good one to use for The Reading Crew's Fall Mentor Text Link-Up this month! Be sure to enter the Rafflecopter at the end of this post to be entered to WIN a copy of ALL the books featured in each blogger's mentor text post.

What Does It Mean To Be Global? A Mentor Text Lesson and Giveaway! Great way to integrate technology into the classroom.

The Book

An editorial review of this book perfectly sums it up!

"By introducing children early on to concepts of globalization, we stand a greater chance of the next generation utilizing technology and creativity to create a healthier and happier world. The key is presenting our interconnection to kids in a fun and positive manner, helping them to understand the wonders of our differences and the wonders of our similarities, so they grow up feeling empowered and excited to be part of this global family!" (EcoMom)


Aside from the amazing message this book sends to children (and adults), it is also chalked full of vocabulary words that I personally believe should be part of every child's lexicon. These vocabulary words might sound familiar to students; however, they may not truly comprehend the full meaning behind each term. Beck, McKeown, and Kucan state in the second edition of Bringing Words to Life that "traditional definitions are not an effective vehicle for learning word meanings". They proceed to say, "effective vocabulary instruction calls for multiple encounters in varied contexts and active processing of word meaning." Amen🙌 First, we have to get our students excited about words and then come up with meaningful activities that will get them working with words in different contexts. Educational technology can be the vehicle to "bringing these words to life".

Before Reading

The authors of Bringing Words to Life talk about how there are qualitatively different kinds of knowledge about words. They mention that word knowledge can fall on a continuum and could fall within one of these four stages:

Stage One: No knowledge. Never have seen the word before.
Stage Two: General sense. Heard it, but do not know the meaning
Stage Three: Narrow, context-bound knowledge. Recognize it in context 
Stage Four: Decontextualized knowledge of a word's meaning and its relationship to other words. Knows it well.

For the start of this lesson, we are going to gauge our students' understanding of the vocabulary words that appear in our story before we read it. The words include: global, citizens, community, cultures, diversity, traditions, and values.

Using my prepared presentation in Google Slides pictured above (I simply downloaded the template from SlidesCarnival and inserted the words..these slides can be edited!), hold a poll to see where your students think they stand when it comes to understanding these vocabulary words. You could do this in a variety of ways! Poll Everywhere is now a Chrome extension that will allow you to hold polls without leaving your Google Slides presentation. Click HERE to read a blog post I wrote about how you can use Poll Everywhere in Google Slides.

Embed a poll into a Google Slides presentation using the PollEverywhere extension
Screenshot of a Poll Everywhere Question

Or, you could assess student knowledge with a Kahoot game, PingPong (you don't have to prepare questions ahead of time) or any other formative assessment tool. There are so many out there!

Instead of the "techie" option, you could have students give a thumbs up (they can use the words in a sentence and would feel comfortable teaching someone about that word), a thumb to the side (they have heard of the word but not sure if they fully understand the meaning), a thumbs down (they have never heard or seen that word before). Whatever it is, just make it a quick activity to gain insight on their background knowledge of these words.

During Reading

Read the book from beginning to end for just pure enjoyment. These vocabulary words will pop up so just smile and act really excited as you read them. The hope is that your students will get excited to hear and see these words too.

Once you have read the entire story, read it again. This time stop on the pages that incorporate one of these words. Have students use the pictures and the context clues to see if they can figure out the meaning of the word. Encourage them to make associations. Change up how you interact with each word.  Get your students actively involved in thinking about and working with student friendly meanings of these words.

Ideas for each term:

traditions: Share one of YOUR favorite traditions with the class and explain that a tradition is the handing down of information, beliefs, or customs from one generation to another. Share THESE traditions from around the world. Then have students tell a partner about one of their favorite traditions.

values: Explain that values are what people consider important. You even might want to discuss how it has multiple meanings. Ask students to respond to the following questions: Do you value your family? Do you value your friends? Do you value cleaning your room? Do you value recess time?

diversity: Show THIS (1:41) quick video about diversity. Have students comes up with their own definition after viewing the video and studying the picture in the book.

community: A community is a place where people live, work, learn and play. Brainstorm together what makes up the community you live in. Then ask students how communities might look different in other areas of the world (population, types of stores, transportation).

citizen: Explain that citizens are members of a community. Work together to create a list of the citizens that make up your community.

cultures: Show students the following images: 1, 2, 3, 4 and explain that these are examples of different cultures around the world. Let students guess what they think culture means. Cultures are communities that share values, beliefs and customs. Ask students,  what is your favorite thing about your culture? What other culture would you like to learn about?

global: The entire book gives examples of what it means to be global. Have students work together to come up with their own definition.

After Reading

To get students working even more with these terms while also creating a special vocabulary book, have them use either the web version of Book Creator or the iPad app. (You could also opt to do this in Google Slides) The web version of Book Creator will allow your class to create up to 40 books for free (if you have more than 40 students then I would consider partnering them up) and the free iPad app will allow you to create one book. Once you have created and exported this book, delete the draft to start a new one. They can add the word, use it in a sentence, add an image and record their voice explaining the word. Click HERE to see an example I made using the web version of Book Creator. I wrote THIS blog post that will tell you more about this wonderful tool.

Using Book Creator for Chrome to make digital vocabulary books
Two pages from my Book Creator for Chrome book

To keep students on track, print & cut these paper cell phones to serve as a check list of the words students need to include in their digital book.

The great thing about making these digital books is that students can share their work by posting a simple link to their creation. They can share with their parents, friends, community and people around the world. 


The book, What Does It Mean to Be Global?, has a companion iPad app called: Being Global iPad App $2.99 (iTunes affiliate link). You could use this for students to further explore what it means to be global as well as the learned vocabulary words.

App Features:

-Features 50+ animations and touch-based interactions that complement the key educational concepts within the book

-Read To Me includes word highlighting in sync with the voice narration, which helps kids with the pronunciation and spelling of new words 

-A journal activity for kids to write, illustrate and share their own global experience – a great classroom activity 

-Coloring activity enables kids to color a page within the book with paint brushes and color swatch. Once done, colored page can be saved to the photo library

-Touch-based quiz game that demonstrates how to say “hello” in multiple languages

-Story includes many cool sound effects that both kids & adults will enjoy 

-Includes an award-winning, rhythmic Global song with animations that kids would love to sing-along with


Document Vocabulary Throughout the Year

Beck, McKeown and Kucan recommend that "an ongoing vocabulary program should include some kind of record of the words being learned that includes the word meanings and sample uses for the words." (Bringing Words to Life Second Edition pg. 109) If you are looking for a digital way to document vocabulary throughout the year, check out my Digital Vocabulary Dictionary for Google Slides™:

Students can add images, videos, links to projects and so much more with this digital dictionary.

I will be donating all earnings from the Digital Dictionary in Google Slides sold in the month of September to THIS Gofundme fundraiser that is supporting the victims of Hurricane Harvey. Dawn Vinas has organized this fundraiser to help the teachers buy new books, supplies, clothing and necessities they can take to their shelter. Please help spread the word!

Enter to WIN!

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