Thursday, March 1, 2012

Making Our Own Connections

It's not easy to get a group together to move forward on a project when everybody is a busy, busy teacher, and we are scattered across the continent. Professional schedules and personal lives mean that projects like this one, no matter how beneficial and positive we know they might be, often take a back burner to daily pressures that need to be taken care of RIGHT NOW!

Luckily for us, our group is pretty persistent. Everybody was able to check in and answer the questions on our project planning document. You can check out our thoughts here, and if you'd like please add your comments at the bottom.

We were finally able to make our own connection online last night to talk about where were were going with our essential question:

How can making global connections help me learn and grow in different ways?

We were focusing on specific things we could do to connect, when Jennifer brought up the word "mentoring" as she was speaking. Immediately that struck a chord with me, and it seemed to strike a chord with others, too. With teachers representing primary all the way up through high school and every subject area, we weren't sure if there would be one project or individual projects. But when mentoring came up, something clicked with our connection and the ideas were flowing:

Older students can mentor younger students.
Younger students can "teach" older students what they have learned.
We can be reading buddies.
Classes can write never-ending stories together.
Older students can teach and model good digital citizenship skills.
Whole classes can connect or small groups of students can connect.

These are just a few of the ideas we came up with during our chat, but really we all realized that the possibilities are endless!

Right now we have two pieces that we need to work on to continue moving forward. As teachers we are completing a "menu" showing which subjects we each feel we could incorporate connections. With our classes we're going to work on creating some sort of presentation to introduce our class to the others.

In addition to these two pieces we each need to decide how we're going to document the process, and we're also thinking about how our students could help us create a rubric to evaluate how the connections helped them learn.

Last night's discussion was really exciting. It showed me the power of connecting with others who have the same passion, and I'm really looking forward to seeing how our passion for this project will seep into our students.


Nancy C said...

Hi Becky -
Loved reading your planning document. There were lots of different ideas from different perspectives. It seems that different grade levels will be involved which makes your project even more exciting.

I would love to have my class participate but not sure how involved this would be. Let me know what you think.

I sure wish people not in education could see the (global) behind the scene action taking place. It would show the thoughtful dedication of teachers like you!

Lani said...

Mentoring! Look what happens when great minds come together!

This sounds terribly exciting; I can't wait to hear where you go from here.

Kudos to the team for persevering, for collaborating, and for taking time to create a new kind of learning experience for your students!

Becky Bair said...

Nancy, I will get in touch with you! Our Mystery Skype would fit, I can see us doing book clubs, and I can definitely connect you with some of my partners in crime if you'd like to do more of the mentoring piece.

I see big things! :)