14 months ago I discovered twitter as a teacher -- and not a soccer fan (I joined Twitter in April of 2013 and lurked for about a month...)
13 months ago I discovered that Skype could change my classroom-- and not just connect me with my brother (I'll never forget the day. I got an account, sent out some messages and got so many replies in return I didn't know what to do. The first reply was from a teacher in Australia, Jacqui, and we ended up Skyping with our students on our second to last day of school. If you're interested in my first experiences with Skype in the Classroom, you can read more here.)
10 months ago I discovered that a connection does not have to end with the good bye at the end of a Skype call. (In August, Jacqui contacted me to be a guest speaker via Skype on a geography project and that's when we discovered that the furthest city from where I live is PERTH, Australia.)
9 months ago I discovered what it's like to have students from 11,000 miles away IMPACT one another. (In September, I contacted Jacqui to share in our Dot Day project. She sent the following video that inspired my students to create a video to send back as a reply.)
8 months ago I discovered the power of shared videos and games. In October, Jacqui and I began comparing our curriculum and we agreed to begin a weekly video sharing series where we would share about our schools, community and current content. We also began playing the first of many games - Battleship. You can find out more about how we began our global classroom here.)
7 months ago I discovered the power of a book... We began sending packages in November and the book "The Red Tree" that was sent to us helped my students and I cope with an unfortunate situation that happened in our community. You can read about that story here.)
6 months ago I discovered that my students could calm another student's fears as she moved half a world away. One of Jacqui's students moved from Perth to Boston in December. She said that because of our global classroom connection she wasn't nearly as nervous to move to the US. Here's a poem my students wrote for her and read to her via Skype.
5 months ago I discovered that our classroom felt an emptiness when our global classmates were on 'summer break' (Because our seasons are reversed, Jacqui's class is on summer break from Dec-Jan. After three months of constant communication, we were lost when we didn't have games to play or videos to watch. However, it was a perfect way to teach opposite seasons on opposite hemispheres!)
4 months ago I discovered what it's like to co-teach a math lesson via Skype (I taught Jacqui's students the partial products method of multiplication via Skype.)
3 months ago I discovered what it's like when you tell eleven year olds you're coming to visit via Skype. (We decided to surprise the students via Skype with news of my upcoming trip. There was a lot of screaming....)
Best quotes from the call:
"I'll get to hug you!"
"That's my birthday present!"
"Adam's in tears right now!"
2 months ago I discovered that every package you send overseas may not always get to its desired destination (In one of our weekly videos, the students talked about girl scout cookies. After finding out that the students in Perth had never had girls scout cookies we decided to send them some...However, the package we sent never arrived...They sent us Caramello Koalas along with a night light that luckily did arrive.
1 month ago I discovered what an Australian night light looks like in an American outlet. (We did an experiment to determine if different amounts of electricity would affect the light from the same night light. This was our second international science experiment.)
1 week ago I discovered what's it's like to build relationships inside a soccer stadium with students on another continent (Students in Jacqui's class got to witness a few minutes of a Columbus Crew match and view the skyline of our beautiful city as dark clouds overtook it all via Skype! After the game we talked about Soccer, the World Cup and Lionel Messi :)
Connecting my students with others around the globe and encouraging them to be curious about the world has had an amazing unintended consequence: I became more curious about the world. I began to ask more questions. I wanted to know more about places I have never been. I wanted to experience things I have never done. I wanted to discover..... so:
On Sunday, June 15th I leave for Australia.
I will be gone 34 days.
I will be in the air for a total of 2 days 5 hours 47 minutes during my trip.
I will travel over 24,000 miles.
I will see New York and LA both through the clouds.
I will cross the international date line.
I won't realize June 16th occurred.
I will see the Pacific Ocean for the first time, but I'll need to look east to do so.
I will attend my first international conference.
I will experience the Outback in all its glory.
I will see the sun set on the Indian Ocean.
I will gaze into the night sky and see the same moon reversed from the way I left it.
I will experience 'winter' in July.
I will visit Sydney, Perth and Broome.
I will meet the students who have touched my heart.
I will meet the teacher who has inspired me and impacted me in so many ways...
But what will I discover?
About the world?
What will I discover on my 34 day excursion?
I'm not exactly sure.
And that's the exact reason why I must go.....
I created this adventure for myself
And it all started with the yearning to
You don't need to leave the hemisphere, continent, country, state, town or even your home to discover. What will you discover over the next month? What will you learn and how will you grow? Have an open mind and always be willing to discover...
Interested in following my journey? I will post pictures as often as possible on Instagram: www.instagram.com/arinkress
Thanks for reading and happy discovering!
Oh and I would have to agree with Kyla....I love global classroom too!