Hey, and we even had lunch in between visits!!!
We had our latest experience with the “Around the World with 80 Schools” project today, and it was a great “messy” experience. Well it wasn’t all messy. To prepare each group in my class made a journal to keep track of “trips” we’ve taken – we will keep track on maps and archive blog posts …er… journal entries and maps and photos so the students end up with a hard copy of their travels.
We printed our covers on brown construction paper and then “distressed” them by rolling them up and squeezing them and then unrolling them and flattening them out some … then I laminated them to make them last.
Each group in my class was given a task to come up with a piece to share during our video-conference that they had to research and decide how to share: One group shared about our location with maps and an Earth globe, another shared points of interest though photos of our area, climate was one groups topic, describing our class – number of students, ages, nationalities, etc. -Â another shared things we are studying, and lastly “favorites” – foods, music and the like.
Beforehand we traveled right from our school to the school we were visiting in Google Earth. We get there and look around a bit, note geographic features and then travel back and forth between schools to note all the features in between. In this case we did so rather informally, but you could make a bigger deal out of it if you wanted to.
Then when time came students opened a blank page in Appleworks (yes, Appleworks … it’s what we have that works on every laptop we have) to take notes about what happens, what they learn and just anything they want to. Afterwards they finish off their notes and then go right to writing about the experience. We do stop and share about the notes we took since we know different students will happen to catch different facts … then we finish up our posts and edit them and when that is finished post them to our blogs.
We’ve done this enough now that I’ve learned these experience raise interest in the students about the places we visit so we recently started to do an offshoot of our “Important Book” activity. We get 20 to 30 minutes to find certain information from a template I put on a wiki page – they just cut and paste the template right into Appleworks and then search and read the net for the answers. Note I also have them search for a photo (or photos if they have time) of the place we visited to put on the page. We’ve talked about this being typical behavior when you become interested in a place you visit to find out more about it. It’s fairly painless for them and teaches them some basic kinds of information you typically have to gather for a report on a city or country or whatever. After the 20 to 30 minute search period I give them 10 minutes or so to fill in the info and edit. We will post these on our blogs too and probably print out for our hard copy journals.
Both Skype events went very well … lots of questions asked and answered … our 5 to 10 minute experience ended up being over 40 minutes with Allanah King’s class in New Zealand. Both classes just kept asking questions. As part of our presentation we sing the chorus of our state song “Home Means Nevada” and that prompted Allanah to have her students sing right back to us.
Our morning session with Buenos Aires, Argentina went well also. They were pretty new to this so they mainly asked us lots of questions. They had used Google Maps to travel to see us.
So we communicated, researched, wrote, archived, took photos, used Flickr, blogged … all in all a good day!
Learning is messy!