Thursday, October 23, 2014

Sometimes the Technology Doesn't Work!








Yesterday was our first Mystery Skype of the year.
My class was hyped!
Earlier, I tested my webcam, and everything was in order.
It did cross my mind to contact the teacher and do a practice run, but that thought went out of my head as quickly as it went in. (Note to self:Always do a practice run!)

The Skype was scheduled for 2 p.m.
So much talking, movement, excitement!
The video call begins.(I laugh when I think about how excited they got!)
We say hello, and the teacher says, "We can't hear you."
Nooooooooooo!

All I can think of as we try this,that, and the other, is how disappointed my kids will be if we don't get this to work.
Press things, hang up,call back, nothing is working.
Arghhhhhhhhh!

We messaged each other back and forth and decided to do it anyway.
Both of our classes were first timers, the teacher was also a first timer, but we did it.
We could see and hear them.
They could see us.
I typed.
My kids used signals.
One finger for "Yes."
Two fingers for "No."

It worked.
We guessed each other's state, had fun, learned geography, and we will hook up again with a working microphone.

Sometimes the technology doesn't work. And that's ok.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Participating in Global Read Aloud 2016! Why I've Done This 7 Times!


For those who don't know, Global Read Aloud is when students and teachers all over the world, literally, read a book together for 6 weeks. It started small and has become huge, due to the hard work and original idea of Pernille Ripp. And of course, all the other teachers involved in putting this together.

I am going to make a confession.
I am not really in it for the connections. Gasp!
I'm sorry, but it's true.
Do I make connections? Yes.
Do I enjoy the connections I make? Yes.
Am I connecting this year? Yes.
But that's not what it's about for me.

It's about the BOOK.
Whether it's  "Out of My Mind", "Tuck Everlasting", "The One and Only Ivan", "Fish in a Tree","The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane"or this year's "Pax", it's about the BOOK.

It's about what the book does for my kids, my classroom, for reading.

The books that have been chosen always seem to resonate with my students. They REALLY enjoy the story. I LOVE reading to them, AND it has the added bonus of hitting all those skills we have to teach, without becoming laborious.

The last four years these books have created readers in my classroom. If some of them didn't read independently at any other time, they read during Global Read Aloud. The great part is my students always have their own books, with the exception of "The One and Only Ivan", due to the generosity of the donors on DonorsChoose. Nothing beats the pleasure of a brand new book that is just yours.
"Yes, it's yours. Yes, you can keep it!"
It's funny because I tell the kids they can donate the books back to the class, and I only get 4 or 5 books back every year. I don't mind, I hope it's because they will take the time to enjoy it again and again, or share it with someone else.

Global Read Aloud (#GRA14)just keeps getting better and better! The authors that are chosen have begun to participate, even those who have never used social media before. How cool! More books have been added so that various grade levels can participate.

For those of you who choose to connect, take advantage of the groups and information set up on Wiki, Edmodo , TackkFacebook,etc... Don't be scared, start small. Join a group, or not. Follow the pacing guide, or not. Most of all, enjoy reading aloud to, and with your class. Enjoy a good story!

As long as there is Global Read Aloud, and I am teaching, I will participate. Hopefully, you will consider joining as well, if you haven't yet. It's about that BOOK!:)