This semester I began a Global Collaboration Project. A GCP takes away the walls of your classroom and connects students and teachers with others from around the world, through authentic and creative learning experiences. I made contact with a friend of mine that teaches first grade in Iowa. Our idea was to do a book share over Skype. We began to collaborate ideas through email, and set up a general timeline for completion.
Both of us loved the idea of the book share, but we wanted to add more components. In the weeks leading up to the Skype chat. We decided that the students would take two weeks to design posters about their favorite books. They would work in partners. Students would include story elements into their poster (characters, setting, summary, etc). This connected to the Common Core ELA standards of kindergarten and first grade.
After completing the posters, the class would assess them as a group and pick three to share to the distance classroom. In our classroom we use a familiar age appropriate writing rubric. Keeping this in mind, the students would place sticky notes on the poster that they thought included all aspects of the writing rubric. This is a practice that they are familiar with.
Finally, when the posters were finished, we would meet for our book share over Skype. During the design phase, both classes would also think of questions that they wanted to know about their distance classroom, and we would tweet our questions and answer theirs as a whole class. Click below to view the entire project outline:
In pairs, students chose their favorite book from the classroom library that they had read this year. Then, they worked with partners to create book posters. Their posters included story elements that connected to Common Core standards (characters, setting and summary). After the posters were finished, we met over Skype to present them to our distance classroom in Iowa. It went really well. The kids were so engaged and loved interacting with each other. We took turns presenting posters, and then wrapped up the Skype chat with an informal Q & A. The entire chat lasted about 20 minutes, but they talked about it for days afterwards!
Please scroll through the slideshow below to see #kidcollaborate at work!
During our project creation phase, we also tweeted questions asynchronously to our distance classroom. We were curious about where they lived, what their school was like and what they did for fun. It was such a great way to connect to them, while comparing the similarities and differences of our lives.
They tweeted us some really great questions back as well!
We learned so much about Iowa and their school, and they even gave us suggestions for next year when we entered first grade!
Our GCP was an amazing experience, but it was not without its kinks! Watch the video below to hear our reflection on the experience, how to improve it and our biggest takeaways.
Overall, this was an amazing experience for the kids and us as educators. In just three short weeks we created projects, communicated digitally and presented to our distance classrooms. Collaboration is a amazing thing, but seeing kids do it makes it even more powerful. I can’t wait to continue to seek out opportunities like a GCP. If we completed so much in such a short timeline, it is exciting to imagine the possibilities for future projects!