Out of Eden Learn- diversity, connection & empathy

Student Diversity

Out of Eden Learn- student diversity in participatory online culture.

Walking Party Map

Out of Eden Learn Walking Party Schools

This post is part of a series of reflections on my ELL students’ participation in Out Of Eden Learn’s online global project, Stories of Human Migration.

The schools in our walking party are from Indonesia, Los Angeles, Kansas, Massachusetts and New York.

Our learning journey began with us reading about Paul Salopek’s Out of Eden Walk finding out about our walking parties and imagining what their lives might be like.

Activity Feed

Student engagement and curiosity as seen on their activity feed.

Personal connections

As we read stories from other students, we become more curious and this led to a deeper engagement with the learning materials and with other students. By looking at students’ activity feeds their engagement and curiosity can be viewed in their communication with students from other schools.

Here is one example of an interaction between my student and a student in Kansas.

Our Own Stories of Migration

My family and I live in Kansas. Kansas isn’t the most interesting state from my family and I opinions, so that is why we travel. The reason we live in Kansas is because of family. Our cousins, grandparents, aunts all very close together which I love. My parents wanted my sister and I to experience more things. So every summer since I was just a baby we went somewhere in the US. My parent’s goal was to get us to all 50 states before I graduate high school. I am a freshman now and I only have 2 more states to go to. Some years we do repeats of some states to visit friends and family there. The two states I have not been to are California and Hawaii. We are going to California this summer! I have so many great memories from every state. After we go to every state we are planning on going overseas. My goal for when I get older is to travel the whole world.

  • It was so cool and lucky for you, so that means you have been to different states which are more than 45 states. By the way, have you learnt any special things in those states? Their culture, people or anythings else?

Yeah, there was definitely something special about each state. The main state I saw a different culture in was Alaska. In Alaska, there were many tribes that I saw and it was very interesting to look at how they live and how they get food. They had the same privileges as us but use them differently.

Stories from NY

Reading Stories of Human Migration. Student perspectives from New York.

Class discussions on posts

We start our ELL lesson by opening up the Out of Eden Learn Social platform and reading posts and responding to comments. When we read our first post from New York my students did not know what the student was saying. So as a class we all read the post and our curiosity led us to ask questions about the school and the socioeconomic situation of the Bronx. By noticing and asking questions we learnt about others’ lives and interacted by writing a class comment using the dialogue toolkit.

Engaging with resources: Listening & Reading

Listening to Paul Salopek

Listening to Paul Salopek

In our ELL class, this reading by Paul and the transcript provided an opportunity to explore intonation and pace and how these aspects of language are connected to meaning.  We also used the Thinking Routine, Sentence, Phrase, Word to notice what stood out for them and for students to justify their responses by discussing themes, ideas and to unpack the text messages. On a word and sentence level, there were metaphors and a variety of sentence lengths to discuss.

Thinking Routine

To make this post interactive my students have posted their responses in the comments below.

Sentence Phrase Word


Stories of Human Migration

Sentence, Phrase, Word

Making Thinking Visible

Image Credit

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
  1. Sentence
    “But they can also be gateways to opening your mind to new experiences and to new ways of thinking.”
    Explanation: This sentence is a transition after Paul portrays the negative points of borders. It’s meaningful for me because I travelled to lots of countries and now I’m living in a very far place from my hometown. Crossing borders truly opens my mind and provides gateways to new experiences and new ways of thinking. This sentence also helps me to understand borders better by listing their advantages.

    “dramatic instances of generosity”
    explanation: There are many people giving others who in difficult situations helping hands, but people always pay more attention to the negative things that the war causes. Maybe the generous actions are small, but the effect is really huge. Paul reminds many dramatic instances about generosity and I’m moved.


    This word capture a lot of meanings and feelings, including confusion, perplexity, hopelessness and so on. Refugees totally don’t know what to do when they are forced to leave far away from their hometown. This word is not very frequent to used, but it’s very powerful.

  2. Sentence: “People who flee war, forced migrants, are some of the most vulnerable people on earth.”

    Explanation: This sentence shows the statement of Paul how he thinks about the refugees. It also shows one of Paul’s main opinions of the text. Although it is not a long sentence, it makes us think about what kind of attitude we should give to refugees? Should our country receive and protect refugees? Refugees just ran away form the most horrible situation over the world. They are the most vulnerable people and people who needs the help most from others.

    Dramatic instances of generosity.

    Explanation: This word made me really confuse at first, but after reading it over few times. I find that it is a really interesting phrase. From the sentences above, author talked about his own experience which he thought was really dramatic and it was a kind of generosity that made author feel really warm. It also remind readers don not be mean to give help to others in need.


    Explanation: Compassion is a really important word in the whole essay. In the last sentences, “Compassion erodes fear. Compassion makes fear subside. Compassion can overcome borders.” Author tries to tell us the importance of compassion and he asks us to be kind to refugees. To treat refugees with compassion not fear.

  3. Hi Ann 🙂
    1.Don’t be fooled. This sort of crisis can happen to any us.
    i think it is interesting as it is true in our real life. (anywhere, any moment)

    2.Borders are imaginary. They’re not real. But they are also very concrete.
    this sentence helps me to know the text of Paul’s message

    negative rhetoric based on fear = the people feel scary to face other people

    (powerful word) dire= really bad

  4. Sentence that help you understand the text or Paul’s meaning
    Somebody sharing a cup of water from a well, someone sharing a smile at a difficult border crossing, somebody taking my hand during a hard passage through the mountains.
    Explanation: This sentence shows that people who Paul met were very welcoming and generous to him. They made him feel relaxed in such a long and hard journey. I appreciate these kind-hearted people and I hope people around me can treat me like them of course I will treat people just like them.

    Phrase that provoked your interest
    make fear subside
    Explanation: Subside is a new word to me so I noticed this phrase. Also it makes me interested in what makes fear subside and how it makes fear subside. The author said compassion makes fear subside which let me think that if we treat strangers with compassion they won’t fear the new environment.

    Word that you think is powerful
    Explanation: In the last few paragraphs, author mentioned compassion many times. He stressed that compassion makes many things become better and better.

  5. Sentence: True, borders divide, but being edges, they also stitch people together too.
    In this sentence “stitch people together” uses metaphor to make it more active and real, and it explain the normal and depth meaning of borders in one sentence.

    phrase: dehumanising ordinary human beings
    This phrase means it takes away humanity from a human being, it’s really painful and sad.

    word: stampeded
    This word means a headlong rush of people on a common impulse, it gives me the feeling that the sadness, scariness and hopeless of the people who lose their home in the war.

  6. Sentence: “This sort of crisis can happen to any of us.”
    I choose this sentence because I think while we are discussing terrible things that are happening in the world, we should always remember it might happen to us, we discuss because we care, we remember therefore we learn.

    Phrase: “Don’t be foolish”
    I think it is a good phrase because to me it is very thought-provoking. Most people think they are smart enough to think objectively. However, when we carefully analysis every thought of ours, we realised we are making judgements, often ignore the facts. We believe what we think we know more than what is actually happening sometimes.

    Word: “disheartening”
    I think disheartening is a very powerful word because there are lots of things that can’t just simply classify them as good or bad but still catch your eyes and make you think. There is more powerlessness than sadness, those things remind you of how small you are compared to the whole word, how pale your word sounds in the rush of public opinion.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *