Sunday, October 24, 2010

Skyping Across Boundaries: Part II

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post, Skyping Across Boundaries: Part I, in which I discuss a partnership between the preservice elementary teachers in my reading/language arts methods course and Amy Moser's fourth grade classroom around the book Spilling Ink by Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter. During that post, I reported on the Skype session my class conducted with Mrs. Moser prior to the beginning of school in preparation for our blog buddies project.

Today, I am reporting on the second Skype session my class conducted with Mrs. Moser's fourth graders in which the blog buddies "met" each other. Mrs. Moser and I met in advance and paired up the students into blog buddies and I distributed the list to the preservice teachers in class.

On the day of the Skype visit, each of the preservice teachers stood and introduced them self to Mrs. Moser's class and announced the name of his/her blog buddy. When the fourth grader's name was called, s/he stood up. In this way, the two buddies "met" each other via Skype.

Preservice teachers viewing the Skype session with their fourth grade buddies.

These pictures are certainly not the greatest in the world, but you get the idea.

Close up of screen showing Mrs. Moser's fourth graders viewing the Skype session.
Both classes had read the first two sections of Spilling Ink prior to the Skype session and Mrs. Moser told the preservice teachers about the contract she created with her students shown on page 7.

This was an exciting day! Both groups seems to be thrilled to be participating in the project and ready to get started blogging.

The fourth graders' blog, Spilling Our Ink, is finally up and running. Mrs. Moser chose to create the blog using Blogger because of its ease of use. Her previous experience using a blog on E-pals was difficult to use at best. However, getting permission to use Blogger was a long battle with the school/district's technology resource people. Like many schools across the country, Blogger is blocked by the district. Though Mrs. Moser asked and received permission to create a private blog for her students using Blogger, it took many frustrating weeks to finally get it cleared. The public often accuses schools of lagging far behind the rest of the world in the use of technology, but it is easy to see from all that Mrs. Moser went through, why teachers throw up their hands in frustration or never even try in the first place.

Last Friday, the fourth graders posted their first response to the "I Dare You" prompt in Spilling Ink on page 52. Hopefully, some time in the future, we can make the blog available to everyone so you can see the amazing writing of the blogging buddies.

If any of my students are reading this, leave a comment if you would like to share your thoughts on meeting your buddies via Skype or anything else about the project.


Amanda Eclipse said...

Meeting our Skype buddies was so much fun! I am so excited to start the blog and respond back and forth. This is a great way to link students of any age with literature. Not only do we have the opportunity to see how elementary students develop themselves as readers and writers, but we get to share the experience together. It's a great way to use technology in the classroom and introduce students at a young age to different ways people write (using blogs).

Kim L. said...

I'm very excited about getting to be even slightly involved in the development of creative writing skills in these fourth graders. It's great to see books that encourage young writers to try things just to try them and see where their imaginations take them.
Also, I can't wait to bring it all together by skyping with Ellen Potter!