Thursday, December 1, 2016

Skype-a-thon 2016

On November 30th, our grade 1 class took part in the 2016 Skype-a-thon global learning event!  We were honoured to be selected for a call with special guest speaker, Ms. Toni Townes-Whitley.  Ms. Townes-Whitley is the Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Worldwide’s Public Sector.  We read one of our favourite poems "Pets for Sale" for her to start the video call.  Then, she answered our questions about her job, her community (Redmond, Washington) and her life. She also had lots of questions for us.   We discussed our successful Books for Guatemala garage sale and our upcoming plans to host the third annual Kids Who Code Code-a-thon.  It was a very special experience to have such an important leader take time to talk to our class!

Skype in the Classroom is an awesome tool that I've been using in education for about eight years.  Besides connecting with guest speakers, I use Skype to support teaching and learning in a variety of other ways, including:

  • Skype story time - Shared read alouds between classrooms can be a great way to encourage students to talk to each other about books.  We have also shared student-created books via Skype so students could reach a real audience outside of the classroom and get feedback on their writing!
  • Global Read Aloud - Classrooms around the world read the same book(s) and connect to discuss the books, share ideas and work together! 
  • Mystery Number Skype - Guess a Skype partner classroom's mystery number using yes or no questions, while fostering some great math thinking! 
  • Collaborative projects- We often use Skype as a "meeting tool" to work with other classes when planning and executing collaborative projects such as the Kids Who Code Code-a-thon, our Maker Faire and Yoga Festival and the Marvelous Muffins fundraiser.

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