Fellow literacy coach Sheri Barsottelli and I visited with Heather Bitka and her kindergarten students at Roy B. Kelley Elementary School today, and when we got there, we learned that THEIR CHICKS WERE BEGINNING TO HATCH! As you might imagine, this made for quite an exciting start to the morning. What was even more fun was watching the kids’ reactions when they learned that they could Skype into Molly Koelle’s first grade classrooms to announce the arrival of these new friends.
Some of the first graders recalled their memories of last year’s chick-hatching experience before sharing some good advice with their younger peers and signing off to start the school day. Ours was devoted to the continuation of a writing unit, and I’ll be sharing more about that next week. Let me say this though: there are SO MANY things to write about in kindergarten, and SO MANY things for literacy coaches and teachers to learn there too.
In the mean time, I know a whole bunch of 5 and 6 year olds who would like to Skype with kids from other places, and so I thought I’d extend an invitation on behalf of them here. Recently, Heather Bitka’s students used their iPads to design their very own I Spy pages, which were posted around the classroom to provide writers practice in letter and word formation. Take a peek:
Next, they would like to invite other classes to participate in a few “Where in the World Are We Skyping?” sessions. What will this involve? We’re still working on that, but here are the basics:
- You could work with your own class to design an I Spy page that includes artifacts relevant to where you are from.
- Then, your class would share this I Spy page with Heather or Molly’s class a week or two prior to an actual Skype call without revealing where you are located.
- Heather or Molly will work with their students to design a similar I Spy page, and it will be shared with your class.
- In the days preceding the call, students can research and make predictions about the artifacts on the page and what they suggest about where in the world they might be Skyping.
- When the call is placed, the kids can share their predictions and support them with some of the facts that were found. Then, each group can reveal a bit more about their location, what the artifacts represent, and their experiences living where they do.
Interested in joining us? Feel free to leave me a message here or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to learn with you! I know that time differences may cause a conflict, and if this is the case, we could always connect using different tools and even video-taping instead of conferencing live if necessary.
We’ve been learning a lot about RESEARCH this week and what it means to gather FACTS. The most important thing I have learned from my time there so far? Facts can be found in many different places. Our reading skills are important here, but our friends are great resources too. We’re hoping that this new experience can help us learn even more about this important process.
I would LOVE connect! I am working on a similar project via Skype or VoiceThread with my first graders in Ohio. Does your class use VoiceThread? Our projected is shared here and I am on twitter @frazierde.
Would you mind sharing the connections you make?
Looking forward to working with you!
I will absolutely share, Deb! Thanks for offering–I plan to let Heather and Molly know today. I don’t believe they’ve used VT, but I know they’d be willing to. I’m off to look at your project. Will definitely be in touch soon!