“Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is most important.” —Bill Gates

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Communicating and Collaborating Through Skype

If you are thinking of ways to transform your classes, then consider the possibility of communicating and collaborating beyond your classroom walls. A great resource that can help you accomplish this goal is Skype in the Classroom. You'll find hundreds of lessons already created that you can participate in. Choose by subject area, age group, country, etc. Don't find what you're looking for? No problem. Create your own content. That's what first grade teachers did this year. 

First grade teachers Ms. Mireya Almaguer and Ms. Claudia Martinez were looking for an opportunity to interact with classes from other parts of the world. Early in the start of the school year, first grade focuses on the Mapping Unit. In it they learn about such topics as directions, the compass rose, legend, and locating parts of a map. A project they work on is creating the map of what would be the students' ideal classroom or school. At this time, they were looking for partnerships to transform it into a PBL activity and work collaboratively with other classrooms from around the world and learn what other classrooms and schools look like and what students enjoy. Inspired by the children's book, "A Fine, Fine School" by Sharon Creech, they created a lesson called "A Fine, Fine School: Mapping an Ideal Classroom or School". 

Shortly after it was posted, the responses started to come in. Several teachers were interested in this project. Eventually, Ms. Mireya and Ms. Claudia joined forces and contacted Ms. Christine Reischling, a first grade teacher from Ross School in San Francisco, California.

After several conversations, the teachers agreed on a date to have the classes meet each other. What an exciting experience! Both parties prepared questions to ask each other.  Watch this video to see parts of the Skype session.

The students learned about differences and similarities between both schools. ASFM students had gathered more information about what makes an ideal school and were ready to design their final project. Swipe through the slideshow to see the final projects for each of the first grade classrooms.

With the Holiday Season just around the corner, you might be interested in global projects that focus on Christmas as the topic for discussion. Here are a few that are currently open:


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