Thursday, December 15, 2016

Flat Walls, Big Ideas

How does your class connect to enhance your current unit of inquiry or learning cycle?

Engagement is a great indicator of teacher success. When student interest is piqued, students begin generating their own ideas and questions, solving their own inquiries and sharing their learning with others. One way I seek to engage my students is by flattening our classroom walls and working with other classrooms. A professional development course I am currently taking through The International Baccalaureate Organization challenges its participants to reach out and find a project or connect with another classroom. Here is a list of a few of my favorite activities that connect my students with the world around us and engage my 2nd graders in conversations outside of our classroom.

Global Read Aloud
The Global Read Aloud uses "one book to connect the world". Every October, The GRA kicks off with a list of books classrooms can read. Throughout the 6 week GRA, classrooms around the globe connect with each other to read, share, discuss and reflect upon the book they are reading through a variety of apps and web 2.0 tools. The GRA Twitter hashtag is #GRA16 (or whatever the current year is). Using Twitter, teachers can connect with other educators and plan ongoing collaboration or live digital meetups through apps like todaysmeet, voicethread, padlet, or thinglink. Here are a few of our collaborations from previous GRA's:

GRA 2014, Edward Tulane
GRA 2013, Marty McGuire

ePals is a great platform that connects classrooms around the world through projects, conversations, and general connections. Teachers signup via their interests and setup learning experiences with other classrooms.

For the blogging classroom, using the hashtag #comments4kids can lead you to other teachers that are looking for blogging connections, as well as allowing your students to comment on other classroom blogs.

How does your classroom connect? I would love to explore a few new projects and connection activities.