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Traveling the world without leaving home

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Approximately 450 Floyd County gifted students took a trip around the world over the last two days, all without leaving home.

International Day was held at Georgia Highlands College on Thursday and Friday for students in first grade through fifth grade, to go along with the caravans unit they are studying. Students carried around passports, which would be stamped as they made stops in places like Mexico, China and South Africa.

On Friday, fourth- and-fifth-graders headed out to the college, rotating between the 10 different stations. Guest speakers from a foreign nation or someone who has traveled to one, along with Floyd County Schools gifted teachers, manned the stations and led the students in hands-on activities that exposed them to the varying cultures of the world.  

A trip to the land down under saw students singing along to a tune about kangaroos with gifted teacher Judy Roebuck, who was donning her bush attire, playing the guitar. The moment of song led into students decorating plastic boomerangs.

 “I want to visit everywhere,” said Alex Strickland, a fourth-grader at Garden Lakes Elementary School, as he finished customizing his passport which included Chinese letters he learned with gifted teacher Lindsey Barcomb.

At Barcomb’s station, students also created homemade Chinese lanterns.

“I want to build things like this every day,” said Strickland, who is considering teaching as a career choice. “I would do things like this in class all the time.”

Allison Espy, the chairman of the event, said International Day provided necessary enrichment activities to go along with the classroom instruction students receive. It also gives kids the opportunity to get out of the classroom and interact with their gifted peers, she added. They may not remember a specific lesson, but they will remember a special field trip as a memorable learning experience, she continued.

At the end of the day, a celebration was had before the kids headed back home, with African masks, Mexican tissue-paper flowers and blarney stones in tow.