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?
I am working on developing a larger scale project that she might be interested in. It’s all about digital storytelling and culture and sounds like a good bit of fun. Would you mind taking a look?
The wiki should lay out all the info.
What age are Annabel’s kids?
We would be pretty interested.
Sent you skype too which says: “Still need a class with which to collaborate? We are in Maryland, USA. On which platform would collaboration happen?” I don’t have class lists yet. Do they have computers in their room? I have 7-8 grades, which are about 11-13 yrs old. They will have blogs set up in classblogmeister. I think I have that on my to-do list for tomorrow….so much to do….so little time…
Thanks Graham for getting us organised. I am sure it will be a great project and I know my class are looking forward to communicating with another class out there somewhere.
I see in the comments there are some possibilities already! Yay!
I have a class of Year 6 students (10-11 years old) that would be love to work with you on your small scale project. We already have established links with Rachel above and with Helen Hardie at http://tohatoha.blogspot.com for our Yr 2 and Yr 4 students, so our year 6’s would love to be part of a collaborative global project. Space still available?
Thank you all for your offers – firstly, Chris, your project has very similar motivations as ours but with a more specific purpose/end product in mind. I’ll get the team to look at it and see what they think – there maybe a taker or two there. Rachel, thanks but we’re after similar age kids – global peers in the 11-13 year old range. I thought you already had connections for your class? Maybe I’m wrong.
Lisa and David, your offers are certainly enticing – Annabel, what do you think? In the very real case that she’d want to think it through offline, I’ll keep you posted. Maybe I’ll even go public soon with my collaborator – just like to get it started before any more is revealed. I’m also going to talk to the team about giving time to this project to give it the best chance of success – even through to the end of our school year. So, still let me know if you are keen even if you are still a week or so away from getting back in the swing of things in the classroom.
Are you looking for a class of 7th graders (11-12)? We would love to do some blogging and maybe even some wikis.
We are in Oregon.
I’m a Portuguese teacher of English and I work with 7th, 8th and 9th graders (11-14). We are beginning to use web 2.0 tools in the classroom and your project is very interesting. Is anyone still available to work with us?
We would love to work with you. Check out the wiki at http://chriscraft.pbwiki.com and see what you think!
Hey Graham – I’d be happy to shanghai some of my students for this worthwhile project! I teach 6th, 7th, and 8th graders this term, so we should be able to find a nice little mix of participants! Shoot me the details as you are able.
Dear Mr Arthur Dent,
I am interested in getting into this with some year 9 kids I teach. Drop me an email if it still on please. Or check my blog to meet my kids.
Kim (always learning) passed you on to me. I have contacted my MS teachers and will get back to you.
I teach 12-14 year olds in quarter long (nine weeks) classes in intercultural communication and global issues. I think the 12 year olds would be great. We are an international school in Thailand with kids from all over the world. Let me know if your colleague is interested.