Travel the world in a day…

Today was the first day of school, September 8, 2009. This was like no other first day. We started the morning by welcoming and congratulating JK/SK students in Sault Saint Marie, Ontario via Skype, thanks to Mr. Poluk.  Many of my students were stunned and they quietly watched as I read the primary students, 500 km’s away a story called “10 Dinasaurs”.

My students then gathered in groups of 5 and with a list of curriculum/standard items, they began to plan their own activities. Their list was something that I have never seen and was an excellent example of what students in 21st Century expect. Students talked about using Google Docs as a method of writing and some of my students (from last year) excitedly told the others how we could “collaborate” and “edit” and “share” their work. Some asked if they would be getting their own blogs and would be able to make their own Wiki’s. Some students suggested that they create wiki pages about the Winter Olympics (our theme for the year) and others asked if they could do math on the “Smartboard’. Many students talked about doing “hands on activities” and experiments.

Before we knew it, it was 12:00 pm and we were anxious to watch Obama address the students of the nation. Transcript of the speech is  HERE. We discussed our connections with the U.S and why it is important to hear what the president has to say, even though he is not “our” president. Students understood the concept of global relations and partnerships.  We watched the speech in complete awe.

It was then, that I felt most inspired. Not by Obama, but by these 10 and 11 year olds. One of the students said, “That is why we need to be allowed to work in different ways”. Another student reminded me of a conversation that we had last year about multiple intelligences and learning styles. Angela told the class that while her “strength” is reading and writing, she needed help with Art. She empowered another student in my class by telling her peers what an “amazing artist Brianne is”. They went on to identify the strengths of each other. The students were beaming with pride. Imagine your peers, telling the room how good you are at something. My goal for the day was achieved. I just wanted the students to feel worthwhile and empowered. I want them to be in control of their own learning, not to be controlled by our standard driven curriclum.

I asked the students if they could relate to anything they heard in the speech. Every hand went up. Every student has their own story – a story that they will tell.

Only 10 minutes after the speech, our class called Mr. Turner, in Glendale Arizona for a videoconference. We discussed how the speech impacted them, as US citizens. We discuss how the speech gave us the motivation to set goals and not to give up, even when things seem tough. It was fun to compare our climate and environment with this Arizona class. “Does it ever get cold there?” Logan asked. “What was the hottest day this summer?” asked Angela. We learned that what they think “cold” is, is not the same as what we think it is. To answer the second question, they saw temperatures over 120 degrees F.

We finished that video conference with so much excitement and enthusiasm, which was perfect for our next trip. We went to Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. These Grade One students sang us the most adorable song and then I read a Shel Silverstein poem, picked by Leah. Students, on both sides of our great country giggled together while they listened to a familiar poem.

As the students were dismissed, I asked them, as they left the room, to tell me ONE thing that they did today that was meaningful. “Meeting classrooms across our world”, “being spoken to by Obama”, “reading to Grade Ones”, “Going to the Desert”

What an incredible first day of school. I look forward to more.


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26 Replies to “Travel the world in a day…”

  1. Sounds like a fabulous day! Travelling with no parental permission forms and no need to book a bus…perfect!

    I hope you will “visit” my Grade 8 class in Elora some day before too long.

  2. Thanks for the great Skype call! My students loved seeing you, although they don’t really have a sense of how far away we are from you. Have a great year at school.

  3. Hello there Mrs. Pipe (is that your teacher name?) and students!

    I read with much interest and enthusiasm of your first day of school for the 2009-2010 year. I must say that I truly wish I could come and be a student in your classroom! What an adventure you folks had today! Imagine visiting all the places you did — all in one day, mind you — and connecting with all of the other learners in other parts of the world.

    I hear you are going to be “meeting” up with Mrs. Ash tomorrow (of course, that will be later today for her, I imagine.) In this “small world,” you may be interested to know that I had a chance to meet Mrs. Ash (and Mrs. Pipe) at the big teachers’ computer conference this past summer in Washington D.C. Mrs. Ash sent me a message a couple days ago about some Canadian coins I had given her to take back to Australia — she showed them to her students, and they liked the Moose, the Beaver, and the “duck.” I replied and sent her some links to videos on YouTube of “the duck.” I bet you guys can guess what bird (on a Canadian coin) the duck ACTUALLY was. (They make a really amazing sounds.)

    We also watched President Obama’s speech this afternoon in our classroom. Maybe we’ll have a chance to connect at some point later in the year.

    In the meantime, have a great year! You’re off to a wonderful start!


  4. Hi Zoe and class

    Wow, sounds like your classroom is the world! So very cool to hear about a class reaching out around the world. I did some videoconference teaching when I was in Canada, so I guess my classroom was all of Alberta, but I think you guys win.

    Plenty more adventures coming this school year for you guys, I’m sure. Have a great one!


  5. OMG! What a fabulous first day of school!

    Your students are likely already planning how to top it.

    Have a wonderful year!

  6. Wow! It sounds like you had an incredible first day of school. I can’t wait for you to visit my Grade 1 students tomorrow … I think that you will make their day.

    You and your teacher continue to inspire me and make me want to learn and do more. Thank you for sharing your great adventures with us!

  7. Man do I wish I was in your classroom!! You are going to learn so much this year. I can tell it’ll be one you won’t soon forget. I always wanted to set up video conferencing with kids all over the world. We were just getting started when I was still teaching in a classroom. Now I’m an IT Teacher Consultant and now that we’ve come so far with this technology I will be sure to help set up classrooms in our area with other places in the world. Wouldn’t it be neat if we could learn from you?

  8. Wow! What fun you had on your first day of school. We, too wish we were in your class as students because we love to visit people and learn more about them. We hope to have more interesting videoconferences with you and to create products that other classes will envy.
    We are even now working on our “homework” for the next call. Have a wonderful year and keep us up-to-date on your travels.
    Mr. Turner’s Learners

  9. Hi Zoe,
    It was a pleasure having both of my classes connect with your students today. My gr. 6/7’s are already discussing ways that we can continue to collaborate! I didn’t tell you and your students this, but when you were reading the story to my JK class my principal was also in the room quietly watching. He was fascinated that even the youngest of students coud benefit from the use of collaborative web tools. Your students set a great example for us, and I hope they realize just how important this is and how much we appreciate their willingness to connect. Thank you for the opportunity!

  10. I had a great 1st day of school. We got to skype so many people today in Mrs. Pipe’s class and I had a lot of fun. I cannot wait to see who else we will skype/virtually communicate with classes all around the world!!!!! 🙂

  11. hi mrs.pipe it’s Remani i think it is really fun that it is fun that we are going around the world with skype. And when we watched the obama speach i waas speachless it was so amazing and when i went home i told my mom about the speach and i told here to never give up!


  12. It was amazing visiting all those places and not leaving the school! I loved going to Australia and talking to Mrs. Ash., America and seeing Obama’s powerful speech and places around Canada, like Saskatuan and Quebec. I really look forward to “traveling to” many more places on Skype and getting to know more people! I can already tell that this year is going to be AWESOME!!!

  13. hi mrs.pipe it’s Remani i think it is really fun that we are going around the world with skype. And when we watched the obama speach i wass speachless it was so amazing and when i went home i told my mom about the speach and i told here to never give up!

    BYE ps. i messed up on my first comment

  14. On tuesday september 2nd 2009. My new teacher mrs.Pipe skyped people in diffrent parts of the World!! WOW I was excited to talk to other people. Like in Aroizona, Moose jaw. That was awesome.mrs. Pipe your really cool.

  15. Like Jennie Mrs.Pipe has inspired me to be a better as a student even thouge I am in her class. With it only being the second day at school I have learn so much and I am off to a great start! Skpying has been wounderful and I now know what it is like to be in Australla then all the way to New Jersey!! Time Traviling then learning at the same time can be so inspiring and more to otrher teachers and students around the world, “Who knows where else we are going to travel”?

  16. I like your letter, and we had a very good first day i hope other people can influence a day that we had.I would have to say that skype is my favourite.You can visit other people and do other things in other countries.We visited NJ Ancaster ETC. I thought it was a cool day over all and also I like actully I should say LOVE all the new tech stuff. I have always known most stuff like that and my dad does to but I had a fantastic day see ya l

  17. I had a lot of fun u are a great teacher and i know the class is gonna have a lot of fun with u. Im really exited about this coming year.and I think this will be the best school year I ever had.It was reallyfun when we were skyping the world and I hope we can do it again

  18. my fist day was fantaic becaues you were my teacher and you are the best teacher in my hole school year and it was cool when we time traveld and we got to see other teachers and students in another provense’ and contreys like airazona and other things and I will have a great year with you and I will look forwerd to staying in your class and I will propaly have lots of fun being in your class and doing padcasting,skip’s and lots of other stuff because you are the best and funny +fun teacher and I will be a great student

  19. Dear Mrs pipe,
    Yesterday was my first day of school this year and i was nerves! Id never been to this school so i was scraed about everything! FIRST When I came in the school,the first thing i wanted to know is who is who was my teacher and then i asked a member of the staff and she said my teacher was Mrs Pipe! After we read a book to Jk and SK kids and boy are they cute.Later we went to a assembaly and talked about the school year . then we made a page about what we wanted to do in are classroom.Now the fantasic moment Obama
    went to a high school and talk about never giving up and never giv

  20. Dear Mrs. Pipe I wanted to let you know that I had an outstounding first to days of grade 6. I loved all of the skyping that we have done so far!! I was so glad that I am in your class again this year and I know that we are going to have a wonderful year just like grade 5.

    David will love to come in to the class.


  21. dear ms.Pipe

    Hey ms.Pipe its Joey and I just wanted to let you know that i look forward to having you as teacher and i think im lucky.I really enjoy the skyping and talking to people around the world.Also my mom wants me to say she thinks ur great from reading part of this website.

    from Joey

  22. Hi Mrs Pipe I just read your blog and all the excellent comments everyone gave you. Anyways I loved your blog and it was fantastic and it inspired me so much. I also like the neat program that is skype because you can see people in the webcam from 500 km away and they can see you. So that’s pretty fascinating and a coll program. We skyped around 10 people far away in 2 days. Obama speech fantastic and it inspired me because he taught me to never quit school and if you do you are quiting on your country. Anyways I have to leave but I have to say I loved your blog.

  23. Starting lawfield was one of the best days of my life!!!
    Some of the best things where meeting new theachers.And meeting new kids.Trying new experinces. Wow I love my new school!!!

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