Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Red Tree - Finding Hope Amid Tragedy

The Red Tree
On Thursday, we received the book, The Red Tree, from our partner class in Perth, Australia. The author and illustrator, Shaun Tan, is from Perth and I was very appreciative that Miss Korten (@Capt_KK) sent us this unique gift.
The book starts: "Sometimes the day begins with nothing to look forward to."

On the next several pages the author portrays dark and seemingly hopeless scenes. The illustrations are truly exquisite and most of the words are quite sad....

My 5th grade students and I had an incredibly honest discussion as we read the book. Some students admitted to feeling as though they have nothing to look forward to on weekdays (schooldays). Others admitted to feeling like the character on the weekends. I admitted that some days I have felt like the character in the book as well........Unfortunately, the feelings experienced by the main character were something that we all were able to relate to....

But the book ends with such a simple hopeful line:

"But suddenly there it is right in front of you bright and vivid quietly waiting
just as you imagined it would be."

We continued our great conversation focusing on what/who the 'red trees' are in our lives - the things right in front of us that we don't always focus on but if we open our eyes its beauty can fill us with hope and inspiration. Unsurprisingly, the students brought up each other, their friends, their family members, their pets, and teachers. Then we discussed who THEY are 'red trees' for. One student declared that he will be his dad's 'red tree' over the next several months as he tries to quit smoking. Another student said he was his friend's 'red tree' as he tries to be a light for him as his parents are getting divorced......

The book was excellent and I thanked Miss Korten for sending it to us.....then, Friday happened. On Friday morning, a tragedy struck our small town as a nine year old boy was senselessly murdered......As a teacher you're never really prepared to help students cope with tragedies, but whether we sign up for this part of our job or not, we must be there for the students.....As I started to think about all that's happened in just the past two weeks, an insane amount of tragedy began to flood my mind.....

We're all aware of the unspeakable devastation that Typhoon Haiyan caused to the helpless people in the Philippines and the tornado that struck the unfortunate citizens in Washington, IL and surrounding communities. Getting closer to home, there has been a tragic rash of teen suicides in my regional community, unfortunate house fires and deadly car accidents that have affected so many...... At this point I'm sure you could add in your own tragic situations that have affected your school or local community.....

As my students and I discussed the situation on Friday, one student brought up the message of The Red Tree. Like the book, unfortunately we are surrounded by situations that are depressing and downright unexplainable. But hopefully in some way we can see hope that can result from these tragedies. We discussed ways that we could be there for our classmates and offer solace to those affected by such tragedy......We started brainstorming how we could act - how we could channel our emotions into something good. I informed the students of a 'Backpack Drive" that a retired teacher in our district started. She has asked for each homeroom to donate a backpack full of supplies to send to students in Washington, IL. Many students were eager to donate supplies, toys and even backpacks to those in need....

Here are some other stories that shed a positive light on some of the unspeakable situations that have recently occurred:

Millburn, NJ students to Help Typhoon Haiyan Victims

Liberty High School Students Head to Washington, IL for Relief Efforts

Students to Help Victims of Tornadoes

Rival Helps Level Playing Field for Tornado-Shattered Team  (Washington, IL)

If you have other positive stories that resulted from tragic situations, please share your story in the comments....

To Hug or Not To Hug - That Was The Question:
On Friday, I was reminded of an interview question from my very first interview out of college. I was asked:  Would you ever hug your students? I wanted/needed a job like all recent graduates do and hesitated answering this question. I was afraid to say "Yes" for fear that it may be the wrong answer. But, I said "Yes" anyway. I told the principal that I hope to build a close relationship with each student I teach and that if the situation warrants a hug, I won't hesitate.....I didn't get the job and I'm not sure if my answer was the cause of it or not.....

Everyday as my students leave my classroom, I stand at my door and give them a 'fist bump." On Friday, I gave many of them hugs and I'm sure I will tomorrow. I felt like the situation warranted a loving touch when tragedy strikes students all too young.

So, tomorrow, don't wait for tragedy to strike close to home: Take a moment to tell your students how much they mean to you, hug them if the situation warrants a hug.....and most importantly do all you can to be a "red tree" in their life!

Monday, November 11, 2013

How to Connect YOUR Classroom!

@Capt_KK and I have been on quite the journey as we build a global classroom together. If you are interested in reading the posts leading up to this one, here they are:

Learning with Tomorrow
Connecting our Classrooms via Daily Emails
International Naval Warfare
Connecting our Classrooms - Weekly Video Series
Student Success Stories
Future Plans

The final post in this series will focus on how YOU can connect your classroom with another classroom around the globe.  Looking back, I think the most important thing that happened was that Jacqui and I share a similar vision as to what we wanted for our global classroom.  It's very important to find the right teacher to take the journey with you!

Here are some things to consider as you take the leap:

1.  Set time limits - How often do you want your students to contact one another? Daily? Weekly? Monthly?
2. How will your students contact one another? Email, Videos, Blogging, Twitter, Skype, etc. I just found this example of a Global Classroom Voice Thread  (Here's the link to to @Deb_Frazier's Global Classroom Wikispaces)
3. Blend your curriculum! See where you have overlaps and the students can help teach one another!
4. What are your GOALS for your students?

Here are some places you may be able to find educators interested in creating a global classroom.

1. Skype in the Classroom
2. Flat Classroom Ning
3. Twitter - follow the #flatclass and #globalclassroom hashtags to find other educators interested in connecting or to find ideas.

Finally, seek out other opportunities online or at conferences. Here are a few places to start:
1. Global Education Conference
2. Flat Classroom Conference 2014

I know that the resources above don't even scratch the surface. If you have any suggestions or resources to add, please do so in the comments. Finally, I hope you enjoy the journey and have as much success as Jacqui and I are having. Teaching in a global classroom has opened so many doors to our students' learning and the most amazing thing is that the students are the ones with their hands on the knobs. They're the ones now opening the doors to their own learning. We're just putting the doors in front of them, and it's their job to turn the handle to see what's behind each one!

Thanks for reading,
Arin (@ArinKress)

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Future Plans (Global Classroom)

This is the 6th post in a seven part series that details how @Capt_KK and I are creating a global classroom. If you're interested in reading the whole journey here are all 7 posts in this series:

Learning with Tomorrow
Connecting our Classrooms via Daily Emails
International Naval Warfare
Connecting our Classrooms - Weekly Video Series
Student Success Stories
Future Plans
How To Connect YOUR Classroom

Below are just a few examples of how we plan to continue our connection. If you have any other ideas or would like to share your own experience with teaching in a global classroom, please leave a comment below!

Daily Emails: 
Email is such an easy way to keep the students connected. After our battleship game ends, we hope to come up with another idea that provides for daily communication.

Subject Specific (Teacher) Videos 
Many different parts of the curriculums that Jacqui and I teach overlap (Ecosystem Unit, geometry, measurement and nearly all other math concepts, etc.) We plan to help provide each other with shared experiences on many common curricular concepts throughout the year.

Even if our content doesn't overlap, we plan to help each other teach certain concepts together as well. For example, my students and I will soon studying the seasons, time zones and the moon. Being in a different hemisphere and time zone, these make for obvious concepts that Jacqui can help provide information on.

Here's a short video I put together for Jacqui's students who don't get to experience freezing temperatures:

Subject Specific (Student) Videos 
Of course, the more the students can create the better! Just this past week one of Jacqui's students asked the highly scientific question: Does water in opposite hemispheres drain in the opposite direction?  He made a video at home and tested to see the direction water drains in Australia. One of my students video taped the answer and we shared the results between the two classes! It was great to see the students be inquisitive and take initiative to create videos on their own for each other!

Just yesterday, Jacqui Skyped with my students and we will continue to Skype with each other's class periodically throughout the year. The call was great as the students were able to ask her several questions about science.  We also will have planned a Skype call with both classes of students in May. My students will Skype at 8p.m. after a parent event and Jacqui's students will be invited to come to school 30 minutes early to participate in the call at 8a.m.

In the future we would like to connect our students through blogging, like one of the students mentioned in the last post. If the students were on the same Kidblog account, they would have much more interaction with one another as they could read and comment on their global classmates' blogs!

We also may try to use class Twitter accounts to communicate with one another. This way, parents and other educators could follow along with our journey as well!

I hope that you're able to see the benefit in participating in a Global Classroom. The next post will conclude the seven part series and will focus on how YOU can begin your own global classroom journey! Stay tuned!

Interested in creating a global classroom? Follow the #globalclassroom and #flatclass hashtags on Twitter for ideas from educators around the globe!  Here are just a few others I follow that continuously provide excellent global classroom resources:  @flatclassroom and @julielindsay.

Student Success Stories

This is the 5th post in a seven part series about how @Capt_KK and I are creating a global classroom.

Here are links to all 7 posts in this series:

Learning with Tomorrow
Connecting our Classrooms via Daily Emails
International Naval Warfare
Connecting our Classrooms - Weekly Video Series
Student Success Stories
Future Plans
How To Connect YOUR Classroom

In such a short period of time we have seen an increase in student engagement and inquiry. Here are some specific examples of student success stories during the last three weeks.

After Week 1
One of Jacqui's students is using her Genius Hour time to create a global classroom project! She is creating a video that she will share with my students in the coming weeks. She thought of this project on her own and has already dedicated hours of class time OUTSIDE of genius hour and school to her project. I'm so excited to see what she produces! This was written on Jacqui's Wall Blog after our first week:

After Week 2
After our second round of weekly videos, one of my students posted the following blog posts:
   This weeklvideidea is a really amazing idea to me. We all have very different lives. The people in Australia are telling us about stuff we have no clue at all about such as a canteen and fortnight. We were so stuck, that we had to look up a few words! To each other, our schools are really weird. Australia's school is weird to us, but normal to them, and our school is weird to Australia, but normal to us. We have very different schools. We have several different schools to switch to, but they have schools from grades K-12. They go to a private school, but we go to a public school. Our classrooms are inside, but their classrooms are outside! To me that is really funny! To them, it is normal. We even have different school schedules. We go to school five days, then we are off for two days for nine months until Summer Break which is three months. But in Australia, they go for eight weeks then are off for two weeks all year long. We don't celebrate the same holidays all of the time. For example, we all celebrate Christmas, but only some Americans celebrate Halloween. In these videos, we can learn about each other and what we do, say and like. I'm having lots fun with the Australians. I know a lot more about them then I did a few weeks ago. I'm looking forward to more videos!

After the second weekly videos, one of Jacqui's students made the following poster and sent a picture to me and my class: 

After Week 3
This past Thursday my class was able to Skype with Jacqui. The call was focused on science (difference in seasons and animal adaptations) but the students also were given time at the end to ask other non-science related questions. After the call my students blogged and here are a two posts about the call:

Today we had a amazing  Skye call and it was with Ms. Korten  in Perth Australia.We asked many questions about the animals and about the ecosystem.We learned that trees in Australia that the leaves fall off and that Australia has the most deadliest animals in the world.In addition we learned that  the animals have to adapt to for example  ,the Kangoroos in southern Australia are brown and kangoroo is in northern Australia is reddish colored because of the reddish sand. I also learned there are diffrent landforms in Australia like the middle is dessert, the top was tropical and the bottom has mountains. Ms.Kortens class nicked named her crazy cat lady because she is crazy,she loves cats and she is a lady. There is alot more to say but this is a lot of what I remebered :)

Skype is awesome,heres why. Well we skyped Mrs. Korten today and she taught us about the sceince of australia. Like we asked what season it was there since its fall here. The answer was that its spring there! She told us how cold it gets there,it gets to 70 degrees Fahrenheit there somtimes, and thats cold to them.[wow!]We learned that australia has the most deadly animals out of all the continents.I asked what type of land dominates australia.She said the middle is desert,the top is tropical and the bottom is mountains.She said in order for the kids to go out to recess they have to slip slop and slap.[slip on a shirt,slop on sunscreen and slap on a hat.]She told us alot like how kangaroo fur color varies depending on where they live. This is what is call adaptations. Mrs.kortens students call her crazy cat lady because she loves cats.She also has 

 cat shoes  I really liked the call and  learn a lot in this globaal classroom.

I also asked the students to reflect on what it means to participate in a global classroom. Here are two responses: 

From being in a global classroom I have learned that everyone is alike and also different. I like communicating with other people in Iowa, Australia, and Wisconsin. I have learned if you want to make videos to send to other countries or states the you should be loud when you talk in  front of a camera.  I feel surprised that we can actually talk to people half way around the world. I like that we can talk live to people in far away places we would need to take a plane to get to in real life. I am amazed at skype and technology.

I am so glad I am apart of a global classroom.  A global classroom is where two classrooms from different parts of the world (Like America and Australia) talk to each other from the comfort of our own classroom. We are daily "chatting" with each other when we are playing battleship. We make videos about our school and about what we are learning every week. We have already Skyped with each other today (without the students just the teacher) and we are learning so much everyday! It's crazy how we are apart of this. We are making impact in our own way. We are talking and making connections from all the way across the world! Its just amazing on what technology can do these days! It's so cool that one little person can make so much impact in the comfort of the classroom. Ive never realised on what we can do unless we just know! I sorta think it would be a even greater conection if Miss Korten's class had kidblog on here too! it would be a better way to talk to each other and get to know each other better! maybe we could even have penpals on here with one of them! it would be so cool!!!  Think on what impact that would make!

The last student is on to something. We don't just have to stop at daily emails and weekly videos. Jacqui and I have several more ideas to continue what we've started. In the next post, I will discuss our future plans for our global classroom. Stay tuned!

Interested in creating a global classroom? Follow the #globalclassroom and #flatclass hashtags on Twitter for ideas from educators around the globe!  Here are just a few others I follow that continuously provide excellent global classroom resources:  @flatclassroom and @julielindsay.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Connecting Our Classrooms - Weekly Video Series

If you found this post, you may want to read the previous three posts to get a better understanding of the journey that my students are on with students from Perth, Australia.

Here are links to all 7 posts in this series:

Learning with Tomorrow
Connecting our Classrooms via Daily Emails
International Naval Warfare
Connecting our Classrooms - Weekly Video Series
Student Success Stories
Future Plans
How To Connect YOUR Classroom

In addition to playing battleship everyday with the students from Perth, we have started a Weekly Video Series. Each week the students in my classroom and the students from @Capt_KK's class produce a video to share with our classmates across the globe.

Unfortunately, the videos are only able to be shared between the students and parents of our classes. So, I will explain the basics of the video project and explain some specifics about the videos shared so far:

Video Series Guidelines:
Time: 5-6 minutes
1. Subject Spotlight
2. School Spotlight
3. Daily Life Spotlight

1. To provide students with a means to practice oral communication skills
2. To build confidence with the subject matter being presented.
3. To learn about commonly shared content
4. To learn about culture, traditions, daily life, etc. of students on another continent.
5. To learn about our own culture, traditions, daily life in the process.

Week 1:

US Video - 
Division sharing
Weather in Ohio vs Perth,
Cafeteria and School lunch
Sports in Ohio

Australia Video:
Geography of Australia
Different Biomes of Australia
Paper mache art project connected to the geography map project
Tour of the school

Week 2:

US Video-
Haunted House Math project (perimeter and area)
Our School's Discipline Program
How we celebrate Halloween (included pictures of students in their costumes) - The students in Australia do not celebrate Halloween

Australia Video:
Body Systems of different animals
BODMAS (vs. PEMDAS) - order of operations
Daily Schedule (Italian, Choir, Genius Hour, etc.)
Uniforms (No Hat/No Play Policy, etc.)
Paper Crane Activity

Week 3: (Still being produced...)

US Video-
Planets - Space Boxes (Science)
Pass system (going to the library, office, etc)
US Currency (Paper, Green; Coins, Bills, Rare coins, etc. Explain the concept of tipping)

Australia Video:
Camp Video!
Australian Currency (Laminated, Colorful, Coins, Bills, etc.)

We hope to continue this project throughout the year. Students in my class gladly give up their recess one day per week if they are chosen to be a part of one segment of the videos. This does take some time on the teacher's part, but the videos provide us with a way to connect the students in a way email can't. My students are always eager to receive a new video and learn more about the class in Australia. The students even ask me throughout the week if they can create small segments on what we are studying to share with our classmates across the globe!

The best thing about the videos is that they help us build classroom community. Just like in a typical classroom, having a community of mutual respect is important. We view every video (and every interaction via email, etc.) with the Australian class as a learning opportunity. I'm so proud of how respectful the students are and also how INQUISITIVE they have been. Every video spurs more questions and inevitably more learning! The videos have allowed us to connect names with real PEOPLE, with students who they can relate to (even if they do live over 11,000 miles away!)

Here are just a few comments that my students said to me just this week:

"Our world just doesn't seem so big anymore."   

"I've learned so much from the Australian students! I want to visit them one day!"

"I feel like they're my classmates!"

Stay tuned for more posts about our global classroom. Next up I will share some student success stories (That's what it's all about isn't it?)

Interested in creating a global classroom? Follow the #globalclassroom and #flatclass hashtags on Twitter for ideas from educators around the globe!  Here are just a few others I follow that continuously provide excellent global classroom resources:  @flatclassroom and @julielindsay.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

International Naval Warfare! (aka Battleship :)

If you found this post, you may want to read the previous two posts about how my students and @Capt_KK students in Perth, Australia are participating in a global classroom.

Here are links to all 7 posts in this series:

Learning with Tomorrow
Connecting our Classrooms via Daily Emails
International Naval Warfare
Connecting our Classrooms - Weekly Video Series
Student Success Stories
Future Plans
How To Connect YOUR Classroom

This post explains through pictures how we are playing battleship via email and how math is connected. In addition to plotting coordinates and discussing ordered pairs, the students and I have focused on discussing the probability of each shot. I teach two sessions of math, so Jaqui separated her class into two teams as well. Altogether, there are four teams: US Gray vs. Australia Gray and US Scarlet vs. Australia Scarlet.  We send one shot (coordinate) per team to each other each day.

My students record shots on the following handout:

(The below posts are copied from the class blog I write for my students' parents:)
Battleship - Week 1

 After six misses, the Australian gray team located one of our ships and now has two hits. We're wondering how long it will take them to sink the ship! They have a 25% chance of getting a hit on their next shot!
 After six misses, Abbey finally located one of the Australian ships. Casey had a 25% chance but missed. Hopefully, Heather's shot will be on target! The probability of getting a hit has risen to 33.3%
 Poor Australian Scarlet students....They are 0 for 9! Their chances are getting higher with every shot and hopefully they will get a hit soon! Their board looks much different than our Scarlet team below! 
Sorry about the orientation here. 
The scarlet team is rocking it! They sunk their first ship with their first four shots! AMAZING! Although, it was EXTREMELY UNLIKELY they still did it! The first shot was only an 18% chance and Kurtis somehow found a ship. Ms. Korten said that she think he's a spy :) I wonder if their luck has run out because since hitting four shots in a row, they've missed four chances! We'll have to see what happens!
Battleship - Week 2
 As you will see, all four teams FINALLY have hits. It's great to talk about the probability and success of each team as the weeks go on!
The gray team found one ship, but they have taken FOUR extra shots trying to locate the direction of the ship. This was very frustrating for the students because the probability was high, but they kept missing. However, they have a 100% chance on their next three shots until they sink the pink "L shaped" ship!

 The Australian gray team has sunk a ship and unbelievably hit another ship with their next shot. Again, a very unlikely chance but they did it!

Although our scarlet team started out strong, we are on a losing streak. This team started out 4 for 4, but since have missed 9 in a row! The probability slightly increases with each miss, but the students are desperately hoping that Hannah's shot at (0.5, 0.2) is a hit!
The Scarlet Australia team FINALLY got a hit after 12 straight misses! We figured that the students should roughly get one hit for every five shots aimed into open water. They are on their way to sinking the ship in the upper right hand corner and should have it sunk by the end of next week!

So, that's our journey playing battleship so far!  In addition to discussing probability and plotting coordinates, we also send the order pairs as both decimals and fractions so they students will get used to equivalent decimals and fractions.

I would recommend playing this game. It's very simple, takes less than 5 minutes per class period and the math discussion is very rich and worthwhile. It would be very difficult to play between other classes in the same school because students may give away the location of the ships, but it's very easy to play with another school via email - even if that school is halfway around the world! 

Stay tuned for more posts about our global classroom. Next up I will discuss our weekly video sharing project.

Interested in creating a global classroom? Follow the #globalclassroom and #flatclass hashtags on Twitter for ideas from educators around the globe!  Here are just a few others I follow that continuously provide excellent global classroom resources:  @flatclassroom and @julielindsay.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Connecting Our Classrooms via Daily Email

The previous post entitled, Learning With Tomorrow, explains how @Capt_KK and I are in the process of creating a global classroom. You may want to read that post first to get a better perspective of our journey!

After Jacqui and I started brainstorming via a shared google doc we realized the great potential of blending our curriculum. We also realized that we didn't need to Skype live to still provide communication with the students.

One of the first ideas Jacqui had (with some help of one of her colleagues) was to create a collaborative activity where our class's response would be dependent on information received from the other class. So, she developed the highly engaging and math centered game "International Naval Warfare" aka Battleship. :)

Because Perth is currently 13 hours ahead of us, Skyping with the students is not feasible during the school day. So, like anything else, when you're determined, you make things work. And sometimes the answer is very simple: For us, email seemed to provide us with a simple solution.

So, everyday, each class sends one coordinate via email to the other class along with the reply if the previous day's shot was a hit or miss. At first glance, I thought we would focus on plotting coordinates on a coordinate grid, but the activity has transformed into an amazing opportunity to discuss probability. The activity takes less than 5 minutes to complete everyday, and it's the FIRST thing the students want to do when they get to school.

Here's an example of the game boards so you can see how we set up the game.

This board shows my students' shots. So far the students have sunk one ship!
This is an example of the board that shows where our ships are hidden. Jacqui's students have already sunk a ship and are on their way to sinking another one! :( 

Here's an example of one of the emails and an audio clip that Jacqui sent my students after getting our second straight hit:

My students were thrilled to not only get a hit but to be able to hear the students' voices (and accents!)  Our emails got much more detailed as the weeks progressed. We've decided to include student names and sometimes fun facts such as birthdays, interests, etc. (Jacqui and her class even sang Happy Birthday for one of my students and sent the message in as an audio file!) Talk about feeling special!

Now, three weeks later, my students submit questions to me that Jacqui answers via email and I do the same. I print off the emails and give the answers to the students. They are always so excited to get a response. The responses just take a few minutes, but to the students, the reply from someone half a world away is priceless.

Could we have this very short communication via Twitter? Most definitely. Could we answer questions via a shared blog? Sure. Right now, email works for us, but I would suggest using the easiest form of communication for you and your students - just don't let time zones hold you back!  There are very low tech, fun ways that your classroom can connect with another classroom in another state, country or continent. Email communication isn't the only way we are connecting our students, however. In future posts I will explain our weekly video sharing project that has really accelerated the learning in our classroom.

If you would like more information on the math concepts that we've covered in the Battleship game, please refer to the next post which is full of pictures and specific examples.

Here are links to all 7 posts in this series:

Learning with Tomorrow
Connecting our Classrooms via Daily Emails
International Naval Warfare
Connecting our Classrooms - Weekly Video Series
Student Success Stories
Future Plans
How To Connect YOUR Classroom

Interested in creating a global classroom? Follow the #globalclassroom and #flatclass hashtags on Twitter for ideas from educators around the globe!  Here are just a few others I follow that continuously provide excellent global classroom resources:  @flatclassroom and @julielindsay.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Learning with Tomorrow (Global Classroom)

This post and the following four posts will detail the journey of two classrooms half a world apart connected by one common goal: to create a global classroom. Through this global classroom we hope to give our students experiences and perspectives that would not be able to be accomplished within the four walls of our classrooms. Our goal is for the students to learn about the similarities and differences of another country while learning more about our country, state, traditions, etc. in the process. We hope to inspire our students to be inquisitive and broaden their world view. The reason I'm sharing this story is to hopefully inspire others to take the leap into the global classroom and to explain how easy it is to open your doors and invite other students inside!

My name is Arin Kress (@ArinKress) and I am a 5th grade math and science teacher and my counterpart, @Capt_KK, is also a 5th grade teacher. However, what makes our story unique is that we have never met in person and we live 11,262 miles (18,124 kilometers) apart. I teach in Grove City, OH (near Columbus, OH) and Jacqui teaches in Perth, Australia. After what seemed to be a one time Skype call in May, a unique connection has formed and an amazing journey has begun.

I had my first taste of connecting my students with others around the globe in May when my students and I Skyped with 16 classrooms over a six day span. You can read about our journey here and watch a short video about our travels here. However, in my experience, most times after the Skype call ends, communication with that class seizes as well. What I hope to share, shows that the communication and learning doesn't have to end! The Skype call can figuratively open the door to a global classroom that can last all year!

Jacqui and I have so much in common: teaching philosophies, love of meaningful integration of technology, our student-centered classroom, etc. and that is one of the reasons that we are having so much success! The global classroom that we are creating together excites both of us and invigorates our students. We began this journey just three weeks ago, and the amount of learning that has taken place is outstanding. We have compared curriculums and are infusing as much as possible into our lessons. Our students actually have daily and weekly communication with one another that I will detail in future posts. 

Why is this post titled "Learning with Tomorrow?"

Jacqui and I have never participated in a global classroom before, therefore everyday we are learning just as much as the students! It's a great feeling when we can learn with the students who are the future of tomorrow!

Also, we are using many different teaching practices and forms of technology that will be the norm of the classroom of tomorrow. Skyping, video creation, blogging , global collaboration and much more will be typical for students in the future. But these teaching practices are relatively new to us. Although we have the support of MANY other educators online who act as our mentors, no one else at our schools currently uses technology for educational purposes to connect with other classrooms.

Finally, Perth, Australia is 12 hours (during daylight savings time) and currently 13 hours ahead of Grove City, OH. Typically I communicate with Jacqui and her students in the evening which technically means that they are living in my 'tomorrow.' Although the time difference can get complicated, it's actually fun to learn with the students in 'tomorrow' :)

Below, are just a few images to show really how far apart our two classrooms are:

And what is THE farthest city away from Columbus, OH????

Yes, you guessed it - PERTH, Australia!  Amazing isn't it?  I couldn't have planned that if I tried! 

The next six posts will detail some simple ways that we've been able to connect our students in different cities, different countries, different continents, and different hemispheres. We couldn't be much farther apart physically, but it's hard to deny the close bond that has quickly formed between two classrooms on opposite sides of the globe! 

Here are links to all 7 posts in this series:

Learning with Tomorrow
Connecting our Classrooms via Daily Emails
International Naval Warfare
Connecting our Classrooms - Weekly Video Series
Student Success Stories
Future Plans
How To Connect YOUR Classroom

Interested in creating a global classroom? Follow the #globalclassroom and #flatclass hashtags on Twitter.  Here are just a few others I follow that continuously provide excellent global classroom resources:  @flatclassroom and @julielindsay. Below is a hangout with Julie Lindsay and many other educators discussing the Flat Classroom and here's the Flat Classroom site

And of course I would like to thank Jacqui for being open and willing to embark on this journey with me. Thank you for inspiring me, pushing my limits and thinking of my students as your own!