Today I spent time updating some links on my Teacher Resources page. I added a set of Back-to-School links in anticipation that some of the teachers from my classes/workshops might check out the site to see what's new and find some online resources that take them one step closer to using tech tools on a daily basis.
As school approaches I am trying to think through the details of the blog that Katie, Sara and I will share with our students. I am wondering how to begin the year with it...how to explain it all to a group of 5 & 6 year old students.? How do we get the kids motivated and interested?
I remember last spring my afternoon class went WILD because we received an Email from a teacher in New Mexico that happened upon our site and liked our page on Tangrams. They were thrilled that someone outside of our class/school knew we were learning about them. It was an excellent opportunity to share with them just how broad the Internet can be. A great time to (re)explain that if we put something out there...anyone in the world can see our work.
They were confused by "New Mexico" and wondered if the people there "spoke English". ;-) (Gotta love those little K's) I took this as yet another learning opportunity. We pulled down the U.S. map and found New Mexico. I assured them it was in the U.S., but that even if it were outside the country, others could still see it. They thought Albuquerque was the funniest word they heard all week. They repeated it over and over for several minutes...giggling the whole time. They wanted to know if we could send an Email back; which of course we did! The kids helped me compose the Email. We sounded out the words together and came up with questions we had about the readers on the other end. One big question was "How did you find us?" They wondered how many kids were in the class, what units of study they were on, etc. It was great! The kids ran in the door first thing the next day wondering if we had gotten Email back. The class in New Mexico was going on Spring Break. My kids wanted to send more emails to them while they were away along with photos of our class. We did all of that...but alas we never really heard back from the class in New Mexico. The last we heard, the teacher was going to work on learning how to take a picture and send it in an Email. The kids were disappointed...but there wasn't much we could do.
This year it should work out better for us. I am excited because Katie and Sara have good Tech skills and are both interested in following up with some dialogue between the classes. I want to share with pictures, blogs, podcasts and the like. It should be fun!
My head is spinning with thoughts of ways we can connect our kids for learning!