I heard of the Global Read Aloud a few years ago and thought that would be a great tool to connect my class with others around the world. The idea was simple choose one of the books to read aloud to your class and connect with others around the world who chose to read the same book. Pernille Ripp the creator of the Global Read Aloud picks new books each year. She sets a start date and schedule of readings to keep everyone together but if you fall behind that's ok too.
Since I have been out of the classroom the last few years, I have not have the opportunity to do the Global Read Aloud with a class of my own. This year, I sent out some information on the project to see if anyone was interested. Noreen Holt at RF Staples responded and shortly after she reached out to Mary Kaliel at Pembina North Community School and she joined in as well. Noreen decided to jump in and participate with her grade 8 and 9 classes, 3 classes in total. Mary decided to join in with her one grade 8 class. The grade 8’s read Fish by L.S. Matthews, and the grade 9’s read Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick your Ass by Meg Medina. It was a huge learning curve for both teachers as not only was the Global Read Aloud new to them, there were several technology tools they decided to use that were new to them too. They used Edublogs, Twitter and Skype to connect with each other, as well as other classes, teachers, students and even the authors.
Noreen used Edmodo and email to find some international connections for her class but in the end her best connection was the one she made with Mary’s grade 8 class. We used Skype to do Mystery Skypes between classes as an icebreaker activity . Mystery Skype is a game of strategic questioning to figure out where the other class is located.
Twitter was used to follow the slow chat happening each week. The slowchat was where a question or two per week were posted by a class that signed up to moderate that week’s chat. Our students followed the hashtags for the week and then tweeted out answers to the questions that were posted.
Through the project students learned:
-reading comprehension strategies and writing skills
-to give positive feedback that moves the conversation forward
-digital citizenship skills (citing images sources, creating a positive digital footprint, etc.)
-the value of making connections with classes outside of their own schools
In the end, I think Noreen, Mary and their students learned a lot through this experience but just to make sure I asked these teachers to respond to a few questions for me. Here are their responses:
What were the benefits of participating in the Global Read Aloud for you and your students?
The students were forced to think “outside their box” when they read comments and blogs from other schools. They also were very aware of their audience and always made sure that their writing said what they had intended. ~Mary
The biggest benefit was the larger audience for their thinking. In all of my classes, the author of the book visited their blogs, read a few, and commented. Additionally, they had partner classes in the United States, and the grade eights also partnered with the grade eights in Pembina North. They Skyped with their partner classes and also read their blog posts and responded. I think the authentic audience was one of the reasons my students were so engaged.
The books are about issues relevant to the students right now. It was easy to connect to both books.
For me the biggest benefit was my learning. Blogging will be a part of my class forevermore. I enjoyed learning how to Skype class to class, and I will definitely do that again as well. ~Noreen
Were there any drawbacks to participating in the Global Read Aloud?
It wasn’t always easy to stick to the schedule. We had to be very aware of the schedule and had to fit the reading in when we had many other things happening. Your time is not your own. You don’t want to read too far ahead, but you also don’t want your kids to read any spoilers in the other blogs. ~Mary
The only drawback for me was the timing. Because I hadn’t known about the GRA in September, I had started class novels already. It was tough to keep to the GRA schedule while finishing the class novels. ~Noreen
Any advice for those thinking about participating in the Global Read Aloud next year?
Next year, I would have the books read much further in advance. I would definitely do this again. ~Mary
Do it! I learned so much about Skyping and blogging. ~Noreen
For this post, I want to focus in on the theme of digital law and how I taught this in my grade 4 classroom. For several years, I had my students publish their work online using their blogs. In the beginning, we did not worry about citing sources when posting images to our blogs. Students would use Google to search for images and use those. It was much like they did when they used images from the internet in a document or presentation when they did not publish their work online. We soon started questioning if this was the right thing to do when we use the images online. As a class we started investigating the answer to that very question. Are you allowed to take images from a Google search and just use them? This question led to more questions of my students:
-What is copyright?
-Is it different to use images online as opposed to images you use for other things?
-How do you know if you have permission to use an image?
-Where can we find images that we are allowed to use?
-How do we cite images properly?
-Does copyright apply to music we use in our work?
-Where do we find music we are allowed to use?
Over time my class and I have found some useful resources when it comes to using images and music in our work. I hope you find them useful!
2Learn- copyright & teaching the basics
The Noun Project- a community building icons that anyone can understand
Pixabay- Free images
Compfight- A Flickr Search Tool
15 Best Sites for Open Source Images
Photos For Class - The quick and safe way to find and cite images for class!
Pics4Learning - Free photos for education
27 Superb Sites With Royalty Free Stock Images For Commercial Use
Google Image Search Adds Usage Rights to Search Tools
Research Tools in Google Docs- allows students to easily find and cite images in a Google Doc
Incompetech- royalty free music. Search by genre or feel.
Soundation- online music studio with recording, effects, virtual instruments and over 700 free loops and sounds
Audio Nautix – Online collection created by Jason Shaw.
FMA- Free Music Archive. Search by genre.
Jamendo- royalty free music downloads
Are there any resources you and your students use? Let me know in the comment section below!
The Fort Assiniboine 7-9 LA class with Charlene Assenheimer is hooking up with the 7/8 LA class with Janelle Peister in Swan Hills to share small group novel studies. We are using close reading strategies based on the jr/sr high English collaborative group read last year, Notice and Note by Kathlene Beers. Janelle and I are alternating the teaching of specific lessons and students will be looking for signposts such as memory moments and words of the wiser to lead their discussions. Using sticky notes and annotating as they read allow students to read closely and think deeply as they are reading so they have something to discuss with their group. All of the novels have a common supernatural theme and the groups are made up of students from each school. Communication will be through texting and video conferencing with vc units and google hangout. Summaries of their discussions will be on our jr high blog post. Have a look, make a comment and follow along if you like. We look forward to hearing from you!
One of the projects I used to teach on voice, had my students reading remixes of the story of the 3 Little Pigs. When I started this project back in 2007, we only had the desktop lab, but I started having students respond in less traditional paper and pencil kind of ways. I would read 3 different versions of the story to my students. We would start out with the classic version, followed by The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka and lastly The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig, by Eugene Trivizas. I used these books to show my students that good writers get ideas from other people’s work. I had the students follow up the reading by creating a blog as one of the characters, from one of the stories we read. They had to fill in their about me page and add a couple of posts as their character. I encouraged my students to respond to the original story by filling in the “holes”.
Here is a link to an example I showed my students the first year (http://bigmomma-christine.blogspot.ca/).
Here are some student samples (http://atriptograndmashouse.blogspot.ca/ & http://myownstoryofthethreelittlewolves.blogspot.ca/)
I have not done this project on the 3 Little Pigs in a few years. Now that I have more access to iPads and laptops, I have my students creating things like movie trailer responses, vlogs, Telligami’s (avatar’s), Toontastics, Storybirds, Animotos, ToonDoos (comics) and more. Looking back, I could do this project again, but on my students’ blogs they could respond in more ways than adding just images and text like we did back then. Now they can use the tools available to them to respond in many different ways and of their choice. Pretty much anything they create using an app or web 2.0 tool can be embedded to their blog. If they choose to create something more hands on (not digital) they could then video tape a reflection about their piece or use a screencasting tool like Educreations or Explain Everything and that could be embedded to their blog.
In the beginning, I only used blogs for publishing their language arts work. Since 2007, my students' blogs have evolved into a portfolio of their work across subjects. It is no longer limited to writing. The apps and web tools mentioned above can be used to represent learning across subjects. Let your students be creative and then upload their work to their blog. Use Tellegami to let your students take on the role of someone else for social studies. Have them create a commercial on why people should visit Alberta or Canada (thinking about social studies again) using Animoto or WeVid. Video record them explaining how they worked out a math problem. Let them video record their group doing a skit or role play. You are probably doing some of these activities already with your class. Just think though how can you make them digital and then students can share them on their blog or any other web publishing platform for that matter.
The commenting feature on blogs lend themselves nicely to getting feedback. Not only can classmates be giving feedback, but parents and families can be encouraged to engage by commenting on student blogs too. I have found that opening up my blogs publicaly also allows students to get feedback from others students and people from anywhere. I started doing this by connecting my class to another same grade class in our division. We created links to each others blogs and our students began connecting and reading each other's work. We talked about giving constructive and positive feedback to each other. My students were so motivated by this. They loved hearing what others had to say about their work and they really took what the other students had to say, to heart. It was no longer only me saying the same things over and over to my students. Other people were giving them the feedback and they seemed to take this more seriously. A bit annoying for me but it worked! Later on I added more classrooms to our blogroll. This included classes across our province and throughout Canada. You could even open this up to classrooms anywhere in the world. In grade 5 students learn about Canada. Why not connect your class to students blogging across Canada? Where do you find these connections? Start with teachers or people you know or try Twitter. There are so many educators on Twitter looking for classes to connect with. Search the hashtag #comments4kids to find people blogging with students.
Blogging is one way I am able to get my students engaging in the participatory culture we live in. How do you do this with your students? Please add your suggestions in the comments section...I would love to hear them;)
For more information on blogging/eportfolios see our resource page: http://phrdconnections.weebly.com/eportfolios.html
Nov. 7 PHRD PD day- Blogging Session
Do kids use technology inappropriately? Absolutely! Then perhaps we should just not let them use the technology, right? Some people say that technology is to blame for the lack of face to face interaction with others. Some say technology is to blame for all the antisocial and disrespectful behaviours we see in young people today. Never mind young people - take a look around and see what the adults are doing. For instance, inappropriate posts shared on Facebook and Twitter. Parents paying more attention to their phones than focusing on their kids.
The problem is not the technology itself. The issue is that they do not know how to use technology properly. How are you teaching your students and children to use technology? Do you model appropriate use yourself? Do you monitor your child’s use of social media? When parents and teachers are not familiar with the tools their children are using how are they able to teach them the norms of appropriate, responsible technology use?
Our students need guidance on how to use these tools in a proper manner. Many people see technology tools, mainly as forms of entertainment. Actually, these are tools that have the potential to do many amazing things. Yes, it seems that kids are naturally good at using these tools, but they are not born with the skills to use them responsibly. We need to demonstrate appropriate behaviour. Technology is a powerful tool that can allow us to do amazing things if they are used properly and effectively.
We need to be where our students are. If our kids are on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, then we as teachers and parents need to be there as well. Kids are using social media therefore teachers and parents need to be overseeing what they are doing in order to understand it and teach them good digital citizenship behaviours. Not monitoring them allows children to make poor decisions. We supervise our children in the hallways and at breaks, so why shouldn’t we be supervising their online activities as well?
I am so thankful that I am able to contact my family in Hong Kong and the UK with tools like Facebook and Skype. Before this technology, we were limited to expensive phone calls or snail mail to contact family overseas. Now our communication is quick and free. We have video chat capability to communicate instead of just voice communication. This would have been an amazing tool for my dad to connect with his mom if she were still alive. After leaving his country at the age of 12, he had not seen his mother for 45 years until we visited her in 1995. This made for a dramatic reunion when seeing her for the first time after all those years. Just think of how different his relationship with his family would have been if they could have talked and seen each other whenever they wanted to.
Last year I started to explore blogging, Skype, and Twitter to connect my class with others outside of our school walls. It gave me the opportunity to have ongoing discussions about digital citizenship. My class could see my personal account on Twitter making connections with other educators from around the world. We began a class Twitter account to connect with other classes. We tweeted about what we were learning and other classes reached out to us. Other classes would tweet our class questions and it was awesome to see them excited to respond. This led to Mystery Skype calls to other classes, video conferencing with experts, and blog feedback from parents and kids from classes around the country. It has been a powerful way to model positive use of technology tools.
This blog and resources website has been developed through the work of various AISI coaches in PHRD. The lead collaborative teachers for the 2015/2016 school year, Cheryl Frose, Christine Quong and Tammy Tkachuk will continue to update this site. If you have resources you would like to share or would like to contribute to the blog, please contact us.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Canada License.