We started our second day of the school year in Australia. At 9:15 ET, @jjash, an innovative educator in Australia, contacted our classroom through Skype. Admittedly, I was just as excited as my students. She described her rural yard and told us that in the summer months, it is common for her to see groups of Kangaroos behind her house. She described the dry climate and told us that Australia has been in a drought for almost ten years. Students shared with her, their experiences this summer in Northern Ontario and shared with her their sitings of black bears, deer and moose. What we loved the most, however, was listening to Ms. Ashby tell us about her students and how she has initiated an itouch program with her primary students to teach literacy and numeracy skills. As we were just beginning our day, Ms. Ashby was saying good night. “See ya late -ah” she said.
Only minutes later, our class traveled to New Jersey to meet another fabulous and innovative educator, Erin Borino and her grade 7 class. Again, we shared the story of Lawfield School and how it was hit by a Tornado a few years ago, resulting in a new building.
We ended our morning with a call from a class in Ancaster, Ontario from an enthusastic teacher, Aviva Dunsiger and her grade one class. Austin read them a Pirate poem by my favourite children’s author, Shel Silverstein, and we introduced the class to our toy pet “Piper”, who literally wouldn’t stop laughing (that’s another story). It was inspiring to see these little faces laughing through our smartboard.
By the afternoon, we were in Quebec, Canada learning from J. Meacher and her grade five students. Her students talked to our in their French Canadian dialect and they told us that for most of them, English was their second language. Our students, one by one, shared with them their native language, determining that we have more that 12 languages, not including English or french spoken by these 10 and 11 year olds.
As we discussed our travels throughout the day, our students began exploring Google maps and discussing the distances between locations. We discussed the similarities and differences between each classroom and concluded that among other things, the students shared the desire to learn through innovation.
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