Monday, May 13, 2013

Skype! Skype! Skype! Twitter!

My class has been having a blast learning math with Karen Lirenman's  (@KLirenman) class via Skype and Twitter.  A few weeks ago when we were studying 3D shapes, our students exchanged shape riddles through Skype calls.  Last week, we started asking and answering math story problems to each other on Skype.

Ms. Lirenman's class was also Tweeting math story problems.  My class thought it was great to be able to Tweet back the answers.  But then, one student asked me why we couldn't Tweet a problem also.  Well, that was an excellent question!  Of course!!

So...what's so great about Skype and Twitter?  In my class (and Ms. Lirenman's class), Skype and Twitter are one of the choices for practicing their math skills.  Therefore, the students who participate in these activities are intrinsically motivated to work on math and are willing to share the journey with others.  Also, as I stated above, my class was inspired by another first grade class to do more than I expected.  It was my students who WANTED to write a story problem to share with the world! I also think that by connecting through Skype and Twitter, my students' world is so much broader than my world when I was 7 years old.  When I talk about sharing, in their mind it's not just within our classroom but they are thinking about the world!  

Speaking of broadening the students' world, one of my students and my son had a great opportunity last week.  It all started with this Twitter post.
I was so impressed with this sixth grader's creation on Google Earth and asked Avia if I could have Jason teach us how he created his story. Jason's Google Earth Story
Thanks to Aviva for her open mind and flexibility, two first graders in Iowa and Jason who lives in Canada were connected via Skype the following week. 

Look at their proud faces:)  I decided to choose these boys since they both love to write, but they are somewhat stuck in the Spongebob and Minecraft world:) What a perfect opportunity it was for them to learn a new tool and idea for writing!  Jason was very patient with the boys throughout the process even though it took them a while to complete a sample project.  He was a rock star!  I also have to thank our school technology integrationist, Mrs. Sievert (@valsievert) for being there to support the boys. They are working on their new writing project right now.  I hope to post their stories here when they complete them.

This Skype thing has got me and my students hooked!  Today we even tried Skype math sessions with another first grade class in our school (two doors down:)!  We tried a new app called Whiteboard Lite.

We connected two iPads through this app so that the students were able to see what each other was writing and how they were solving the problems.  It added one more fun aspect to the Skype math:)

Also another wonderful teacher I have got to know through Twitter, Amy Rudd (@aruddteacher100) had a brilliant idea to play "I have... Who has...?" on Twitter.  Now, how clever is that?  I introduced it to my students today, and they were all over it! Can't wait to see what comes next:)