Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Twitter, Skype & Backchannel in Primary Classrooms

This year my students and I are having so much fun learning with other classes outside of our school. Here are some ways we have been connecting:

1. Skype & Google Hangouts 
Skype and Google Hangouts are great way to connect. The students can see each other therefore they feel more connected. I try my best to start any collaboration relationship with a Skype call. Now what do we do once we are connected via Skype? I always make sure that I have a clear goal or agenda for the session. For my first grade class I like to keep it short and sweet so that I don't loose my students' focus or attention. We have tried a couple of mystery number Skype with Ms. Lirenman's class (@MsLsClass) this year. It was challenging and fun at the same time. My favorifor a whole group Skype is reading. We kicked off the Global Reading Project with Skype calls this year. You can read about it here. Another way of incorporating reading and also my favorite Skype activity is "You Read to Me, I'll Read to You: Very Short Fairy Tales to Read Together" by Mary Ann Hoberman
        Here is a clip of my class and Mr. Ross's class (@1stGradeRoss) in Webster City, Iowa reading one of the stories from the book.

I also like using Skype as a station work. You can read about it here and here.

For Valentine's Day celebration, Mr. Ross's class and my class shared the candy hearts sorting data via Skype and Google Hangout. We had two stations going at the same time! The students asked each other about their findings. It was so much fun listening to them take initiative to learning and guiding one another. Here is one of my students talking about some of the findings.

2. Twitter
Last year I started a class Twitter account. We are slowly but surely starting to use this tool to share our wonders, thinking and learning. Mrs. Cavin's class (@MrsCavinsClass) in Georgia and my class are having fun practicing out math skills on Twitter. Here is what we did with shapes. Last year Amy Rudd (@aruddteacher100) came up with a great idea to play "I have ... Who has ...?" with shapes on Twitter. So Mrs. Cavin and I decided to do the same activity. Our students found shapes around the room and tweeted back and forth.

The students had a great time playing this. You can view the entire session here.

We also started to have number talks of the week on Twitter using the hashtag #1stnumbertalks. Here is how we started last week.
 One of the many great ideas is here.
Mrs. Cavin's class recorded their thinking using Educreation.

I loved that another class decided join the fun!
You can view the week 1 number talks here.

3. Backchannel
I use Today's Meet and Padlet in my classroom quite a bit to have my students jot down their wonders and schema on a topic. On Digital Learning Day, Mr. Ross and my class met up in Today's Meet room to work on a writing activity. Both classes viewed the photo below.

Mr. Ross's class wrote from the fish's point of view and ours as the cat. The students had a blast!! I do not have the archive to the meet, but the conversation went like...

                    Fish "Don't eat me!"
                    Cat "I'm going to eat you!"
                    Fish "I'm going to get a shark!!"
                    Cat "I want to be your friend. What is your name?"
                    Fish "Goldie"

Thanks to @WriteAboutThis for a great photo. They have a great Pinterest page with full of great images with writing prompts.

Are you connecting with other classes? Please let me know if you have any good ideas and activities!