Late this week I posted this at the Classroom 2.0 site looking for some willing classrooms elsewhere in the world keen to work on a small scale global project. Through my blog network I had already privately arranged a classroom for my own class but once my colleagues heard my idea, they agreed it would be a perfect way to explore the main focus of this term's MYLU (Middle Years Learning Unit) theme of "Communication." The only problem is they don't blog and don't wile away as many hours of their lives online as I do, so I took it upon myself to see if I could find willing classrooms to connect with theirs. On Classroom 2.0, I wrote the following:
This year all of our middle school classes have adopted an overriding theme from our state's curriculum Essential Learnings. We have a four term year (just started Term Three this week) and the general themes were Identity in Term 1, Community in Term 2 with this term's being Communication. Every term the four classes, which are composite year levels (three classes are Year 6/7 [12 and 13 year olds] and mine is a 5/6 [11 and 12 year olds]) then co-plan some cross-curricular activities to explore the theme.
So, our main mandate is fit with the Communication theme. Here's some initial ideas to consider. The teachers all have a class of kids who know very little about [insert your location here] , you'll have a bunch that knows the same amount about Australia. How about an online project that has each class exploring "I'm Moving To Australia/[insert your location here]" where we become each others' resource to explore and deconstruct aspects of life in our respective locations. It could start this way in my class - what do we know about [insert your location here]? If you moved there tomorrow, would you know what to expect? What changes would you have to make in the way you live?
My thoughts are the using the web as a mode of communication and a place where new meaning can be constructed could be potentially powerful for kids of this age group (10/11/12 year olds) - debunking preconceived ideas and then rebuilding new understanding. It could be as simple as investigating what kids do on weekends or eat for breakfast - differences and similarities - creating a dictionary of essential knowledge or phrases needed for survival in each others' locale - the students themselves could negotiate a fair bit.
I got two great responses within 12 hours - Lynne Crowe from New Zealand and Robin Ellis from Pennslyvania, USA who I emailed back with some further details and concepts. Both of the two teachers I've lined up with these two great educators are super keen and together will take this project in their own unique directions.
I need one more classroom. It's for my next door neighbour - Annabel's Learning Area 21 - she's commented on this blog on more than one occasion and you could not ask for a more switched on teacher to collaborate with. Her class have had e-pals earlier in the year from Canada so without being fussy, anyone interested from Europe or the UK would be ideal participants.
So, any takers?