Today we video-Skyped with Paul Schwan’s fifth graders in Florida. Wes Fryer suggested we touch base with each other to work on some future projects … and today was the day. Dealing with the 3 hour time difference (or any time difference) is always part of the fun.
On a side note, last year when my class started Skyping here and there, we had to learn about time differences … “What do you mean its a different time there? . It became a teachable moment. We pulled up a sunlit earth map (follow the link then click on View Equirectangular Chart) that shows where the earth is light and dark at any given moment. We also shined our projector (the Sun) on our earth globe so they could see how it works that way (my ActivBoard comes in handy sometimes in ways I don’t think they envisioned). The upshot is … now they get it.
Paul and I connected just before his kids were going to recess, and just before my students came in to start the day. When a few of his kids heard me say that, they commented that we started our day kind of late (since they had already eaten lunch) Don’t worry … they’ll get it Paul! (see above for ideas)
We introduced our classes to each other … discussed where we were and the make-up of our classes … and then just shared the kinds of things we were both working on and answered a few questions. At one point I had my kids raise their hands if they speak a language other than English and all but 3 hands went up. Paul’s kids raised their hands if they had been to a rocket launch at Cape Canaveral and hands went up all over his room. Later this year we are planning to share some of our learning this way with each others’ classes.
This was a new experience for Paul’s class, and you could tell by their reaction. What I think is really neat about the whole thing is that my class has done this enough now that its just something we do. Sometimes we go to the library or go online or go on a field trip or work on our reading or math … and sometimes we talk to other students 2500 miles away for free. Its just what we do.
UPDATE: Paul’s class brainstormed this great Venn diagram of our Skype conversation.
Learning is messy!
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