And the World Gets a Little Smaller...

This may only be our first full year as a faculty connecting ourselves to the world online through blogs and social networking, but we have some exciting projects brewing.

Students Teaching Students is a project that is the brainchild of Kim Cofino, from the International School Bangkok, Thailand. It will focus on sharing teacher and student reflection and work in the Lucy Calkins model of Readers' and Writers' Workshop. At the beginning of the summer, I saw a blog post Kim did about how her school was learning to teach in workshop model and I immediately contacted her to share that our school had been in that model for ten years. We are actually a National Model School for America's Choice which is a reform movement that includes workshop model teaching in literacy, math and science. Kim graciously agreed to connect us with two of her fifth grade teachers, Chrissy Hellyer and Aly McAloon, as well as a few other teacher from around the globe. A fifth grade teacher at my school, Jessica Lipsky, has already begun to share her student work and class lessons on her blog. She says the kids in her class feel their work is so much more important because it is being shared with a global audience. Look for more to come on this empowering project - I know these kids will exceed our expectations.

Dean Shareski's Blogging Mentor Project is a project where he requires his pre-service teachers in Saskatchewan, Canada to follow classroom blogs and comment regularly thereby making themselves a presence in that classroom. We were honored to be included in this project. Developing relationships with these future teachers will be a win-win situation for first grade teachers, Maria Mallon and Cheryl Dillard, second grade teachers Melissa Ross and Carrie McLeod and fourth grade teachers Meli Launey, Dorry Lopez, Rick Pinchot and Angela Phillips.

We had the pleasure of virtually meeting these students last week through Elluminate, which is a virtual classroom environment. Due to the time difference, we huddled around my coffee table at 10 pm (with snacks and socializing while we waited) as we introduced our class blogs and teachers and listened to others do the same. It was interesting to follow the students' back channel chat during the meeting. They seem really excited about the project and we're looking forward to getting to know them better. I wish someone had done something like this with me when I was in college!

The year is off to a great start, and especially since we're on a Virtual Learning Adventure, Around the World in 180 days, this year.... we'll be looking for more friends to connect with around the globe. If you have an interesting project you think we might collaborate with you on - let us know!


Melissa Ross said...

I am so excited to get started with the blogging mentor project! Thanks for always finding great opportunities for us in the tech world!

Suzanne said...

I am honored to work with you. I think back to where we were just one year ago and can't believe all our new learning, thanks to you. You have connected us globally and for that we will always be grateful.

Melanie, I just stumbled onto your blog. I am friend and colleague of Kim and Chrissy, however I am based in Qatar. Can you tell me what course and what institution you are with so I can get a bigger picture of what you are doing? Congratulations on your blog. It is informative and shows you are actively involved in teaching and learning!
Julie Lindsay
Qatar Academy

Kim Cofino said...

Melanie, I am so impressed with how thorough and thoughtful you and your colleagues are! The post that Mrs. Lipsky wrote (and all her comments on our student posts) was so detailed and inspiring for our students. I am so excited to be working with you! I can't wait to see what our students produce and I love the fact that we have such shared goals for our student's learning.