Wednesday, October 29, 2014

New Project Partners!

At the beginning of our school year, we formed a partnership with a senior class in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  The partnership stemmed from my trip to the 2014 Microsoft in Education Global Forum in Barcelona, Spain.  During the forum, I worked with Jennifer Bevill and 2 other teachers to create a learning activity.  Our Grade 2 class first met Mrs. Bevill's seniors during a Mystery Skype game this fall.  By asking each other yes or no questions, we narrowed down the other group's location and eventually figured out which state our new friends were located in.  I was very impressed with my students' ability to generate useful yes/no questions based on:
  • continents (Do you live in Africa? North America?)
  • countries (Do you live in Canada?  Do you live in the United States?)
  • time zones (Is it _______ time there?)
  • directions (Is your state in the north part of the country?  In the east?)
  • mapping (Does your state touch water on the map?)  
  • state names (Does your state name begin with ____?)
We generated a lot of potential questions and students did a great job of selecting questions to ask to narrow down the map once we were actually on a live video call!

Once we figured out where Mrs. Bevill's class was located, we learned more about each other by asking questions.  It was interesting to learn about life, school and community features in another place.  (And a great opportunity to meet our social studies learning goals related to communities).  It was also a great experience for my students to understand differences - when we talked about things like"harvesting" and "snowmobiling", Mrs. Bevill's class had lots of questions for us since they aren't as familiar with these activities.  We also compared weather and discussed which months we could potentially have snow in Manitoba (we listed off a LOT of months....)  Our question, in turn, was "Does it even snow there?!?"

As a part of our partnership, we agreed to research the environmental issues in our area (since sustainability is a common concern in both areas).  With my help, students researched some environmental problems in Manitoba.  When we were discussing how to present/share our research, a student suggested the ChatterPix Kids tool we'd used for our 2D shapes & 3D objects video last year.  Our whole class worked together to write a script for the video, take/source relevant photographs, record our voices and finally, create the video. 

Our video link was sent to Louisiana this week.  Students were also eager for their video to be shared on our blog so they can watch it at home and share with their families. We hope you enjoy watching it:

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