Last year we began our first global collaboration. It was a start but there was no planning or thought about standards and how it fit into our curriculum. This year I want to be more intentional. Last year I was in contact with a teacher from Canada, Melody Watson. We read each other’s blogs and students commented. We had one Skype session. She had her students come back to class after dinner one evening. The students collaborated on Storybird stories and Mrs. Watson’s class commented on our shape poems on Voicethread. I’m not sure the stories were ever completed or what happened to them, although my students enjoyed writing a variety of stories on Storybird.
This year I plan to start earlier which means, I need to get started! I really appreciated reading Kim’s posting of a Step-by-Step Guide to Global Collaboration. She starts with deciding the standards and essential questions that will be covered in the collaboration project. Then clarifying the expectations for teachers and students, breaking down the tasks and looking at schedules. She also talks about establishing a “home base” where students and teachers can communicate and others who may be interested in a similar project can see a resource for the entire project. How the students will be assessed also needs to be determined. After reading this post I realized that the “collaboration” I did last year was more of a meet and greet with no thought of standards. We did do writing for an authentic audience and learned a bit more about internet safety and etiquette, but there was no assessment and I have to wonder what the students would say about it. I think they enjoyed the opportunity but I’m not sure they took away any learning. I know there are many schools out there and there is much to learn from many other fabulous educators and engaged students.
I plan on contacting Mrs. Watson to see what we can plan together. Last year our school registered for Oddizzi. There are many great resources with Oddizzi but there is also the opportunity to connect to other classrooms. I know that there are many ways to connect to classrooms around the world, but since our school has subscribed for at least one year it is worth investigating. Last year I had contacted 2 classes, but then I left school for a month and didn’t follow up. I’m starting early this year.
There are so many opportunities that I know I need to start by looking at my standards and what I want my students to know and learn. So this week, before we contact any other classrooms or schools we are going to learn about internet safety and a positive digital footprint. One resource for online safety is Common Sense Media.