Thursday, September 19, 2013

CRAZY CONNECTIONS

WOW! It has been an amazing start to the school year. I am still amazed at the pace of the elementary building. Thankfully, my colleagues, students and parents have been really helpful and supportive as I transition from high school and college level back to the elementary.

 Technology is one way we are making some crazy connections. Our project that started as a small idea has grown.  We aim to Skype with all 50 states, and multiple countries.  We have generated some buzz online and I have more invites and Skype contacts than I ever could have imagined.  Our class was actually accepted into a Skype group of teachers from all over the world because the interest in our project. Plus, the Fairfield Ledger shared about our story in their article last Friday.






The first week of the project we have Skyped with a writer in Utah, and a paramedic in Nebraska  The online writer from Utah, Mrs. Beth Lee, told us many interesting things about Utah and we learned about what it takes to be a great writer. We also had the chance to Skype with a paramedic, Mrs. Sebrina Martin, in the back of her rig/ambulance. It was really awesome. We were able to see the materials she uses, and learned about what a paramedic does for the community.


On September 11, 2013 we Skyped with Mary Beth Easley from Brooklyn, New York. She shared about the World Trade Center attacks, and answer questions from the kids. (More on this skype is in Sept 11 Skype Blog) Then we Skyped with a soldier in Afghanistan, MSgt Amy Miller. This was an eye opening experience for the kids and myself.

Since then we have had the opportunity to Skype with Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Illinois. We intended to Skype with another country one morning, but the individual lost power before we could. Therefore, one of our Hello Little World Skype buddies, Joe from Newtown, PA jumped online and rescued us. He and four of his seventh graders popped in to say hello, and answer our questions. It was wonderful.

Our first full Mystery Skype was today with the amazing fifth grade class of Mr. David Karnoscak. The classes worked hard to come up with good questions, and answer only yes or no questions to try and locate one another. Our 4th graders located Mr. Karnoscak's classroom in a suburb of Chicago. However, our little town of Eldon is so small it was much more difficult to locate. Yet, when we gave them a hint by showing a painting of the Gothic House by Grant Wood they used their tabs to search for us. They eventually found us, and we even google mapped our locations. Thus, we were able to see one another's buildings. It was such a great learning experience. These kids are going to be pros with using the atlas this year.


We have other Skype sessions lined up with authors, classrooms and other areas of the world.  One awesome author, Peter Reynolds, is going to be our MA Skype contact. He is such a great artist and writer, and we are working on a project stemmed from his book The Dot.





We are very excited, and only time will tell where this project will lead us. I do know that already these kids are making crazy connections to a world that was once very big, and has now become attainable.










I appreciate the amazing parents of these students as well. They have been working hard every night to help the students on homework, pack them snacks daily, and have taught them great compassion and care for others.

I love my kids so much!

They are CRAZY SMART so we are a good fit.