Program Overview
Program Overview
Building Bridges

Building Bridges involves the pairing of communities of learners from different schools and communities through video conferences, giving students the opportunity to meet one another.  Building Bridges is easily implemented and provides relevant training and engaging resources to support educators as they involve students in profoundly meaningful ways.

The Building Bridges Guide provides a step-by-step preparation guide and strategy sheets to offer developmentally sound ways to promote higher level thinking skills as well as skills in language and literacy. The Building Bridges Guide also addresses the very relevant concept of cultural competence, the ability to understand, communicate with and effectively interact with people across cultures.

Suggestions and guides for “Welcoming Activities” and strategies such as “Boundary Breaking” are offered to help students feel comfortable and get to know one another in relevant, meaningful ways, as do the “Grand Conversations” in which they discuss specific works of literature.
In order to prepare students for the “Grand Conversations” teachers are provided with strategies such as “Literature Circles” to help students as they read and reflect on significant issues, become aware of the power of words, and search for deeper meaning. Teachers are also encouraged to hold “Grand Conversations” within their own classrooms as a rehearsal so that students recognize the difference between a question-answer type forum and an actual conversation. and learn how to hold meaningful discussion through “Grand Conversations. allow for and learn how to share their thoughts through as they repeat students' responses (as necessary). After each “Grand Conversation” students are encouraged to reflect on the experience-- the ways in which the book and or the conversation affected them, a special “aha” moment, or a special “take away”-- something important they will remember. In addition, after each “Grand Conversation” both students and teachers are encouraged to reflect on the conversation itself: what worked, what didn’t; students’ growth, students’ ability to communicate effectively; and ways in which the program is meeting its mission to build bridges and forge relationships.