"I have always imagined that Paradise will be some kind of library." ~ Jorge Luis Borges

Friday, September 19, 2014

Another #dotday creating communities outside of our four walls

We are continuing our week-long International Dot Day celebration. We have been connecting with learners in other parts of the country all week. Today, we read The Dot with students in Indiana, Texas, Iowa, and Georgia.

You can read about each day of our week: MondayTuesdayWednesday, Thursday, and now...today, Friday.  Today was another day of creating communities outside of our four walls. Many of the connections today are just the start of year-long learning communities.

We began by connecting with Sherry Gick's students in Indiana. As with all the Skype visits this week, the students shared information about their respective schools and classrooms, but we moved beyond that and started asking additional questions. The give and take was great. The students then shared their projects. Here are some examples:

The next class to connect had the same great experience of moving beyond the school facts and getting to know about each other's communities and interests, this time it was my 5th graders with Shawna Ford's 6th grade students in Texas.

The next Skype visit connected my 5th graders with Kathy Schmidt's 5th graders in Georgia. This Skype visit followed the same awesome pattern of the previous two. There was much sharing of dots and more!

Another of my 4th grade classes connected with Alyssa Calhoun's 4th grade students in Iowa. After learning about each other's communities, they shared dot-inspired bookmarks and then we shared our dot-inspired messages.

The only glitch in a week with 22 Skype visits occurred with the last class of the week. We plan to connect next week instead.

The other project that will have to wait until next week is uploading all of the Dot-inspired Gami videos that the 4th graders made. Stay tuned!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Make a connection and see where it takes you...

We are continuing our week-long International Dot Day celebration. We have been connecting with learners in other parts of the country all week. Today, we read The Dot with students in Maine, Connecticut, Maryland, and Vermont.

You can read about each day of our week: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and now...today, Thursday.  Just when I think we've hit the pinnacle of our experiences, my students, and the students we connect with virtually, go an amaze me once again.

Our day began with Cathy Potter's fourth grade students in Maine reading ISH to my second graders.

My next class of second graders connected with Carol Scrimgeour's second graders in Vermont. The students spent time getting to know each other, part of which was exploring a map of New England to see how long it would take to travel between our schools. We then took turns reading pages of The Dot and discussing the story. 

The second graders have been making their mark all week on these two dots.

My next class was fifth graders. We connected with Matthew Winner's fifth grade students in Maryland. The students spent time on introductions and then shared Dot Day trading cards and Dots that they had created. This proved to be the start of something meaningful and I hope we can connect them again soon.

The last next class of fifth graders connected with Jenny Lussier's second grade students in Connecticut.  My students read to hers.  I am grateful for this opportunity that my students had to be readers. They loved this role.

 The afternoon was spent with fourth graders preparing Dots for tomorrow's Skype visits. The students created Dots, took photos with the iPads, and then uploaded them to Telligami and talked about their dots. This project will be up soon!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Make a mark and watch it splatter...

We are continuing our week-long celebration of connecting with learners in other parts of the country. Today, we read The Dot with students in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Texas, and Vermont.
As part of our week-long Dot Day celebration, we have been listening to The Dot song. It is very catchy. (I now find myself humming it, regardless of whether it is actually playing.) Instead of listening to the song after reading the story and while creating projects, we listened to it before reading the story. It proved to be an effective way to connect with our new friends in Texas.

Listening to The Dot Song with students at Curtis Elementary in Texas.

Reading The Dot with students at Curtis Elementary in Texas.

I didn't record the conversation after these two experiences, but it was great. Fourth graders and first graders listened, shared, and learned.

Our other Skype visits with the students of Donna MacDonald in Vermont, Jenny Lussier in Connecticut, and Randie Groden in Massachusetts went equally as well. I am continually impressed with the students in my school and theirs. They are learning how to address a group, how to share their ideas, and how to engage in a virtual conversation. Many times today (and throughout this week), I noticed my students raising their hands to respond to a student or a teacher in the other classroom. They see this as a seamless learning environment. How cool is that? We are building learning communities outside our four walls. 

Today's Dot Day celebration theme brings me back to The Dot Song. The second line of the refrain says, "make a mark and watch it splatter." It is an accurate way to describe the magic of these Dot Day connections.  Our connections are like splatters of paint: like the contact between paint and paper - something new is created, but like those splatters, they are not perfect, because that does not matter. What matters is the connection.  Our Dot Day connections are also a bit like a splatter because there are unexpected connections and moments of beauty and chaos. And finally, they are like a splatter because one never knows where these marks - these opportunities to meet other learners and and establish connections - might lead.  

So, during this Dot Day celebration....
Splatter Away!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Who let the dots out?

We created this dot with the students at Barrow Elementary School in Athens, Georgia as part of our International Dot Day celebration.

The book, The Dot, by Peter H. Reynolds, has inspired this day that celebrates
We are continuing our week-long celebration of connecting with learners in other parts of the country. Today, we read The Dot with students in Georgia, Maine and Illinois.  After reading the story, the students shared the ideas and messages they learned from Vashti.

One class made the dot that you see above. 

Another class made bookmarks that we will be sending to learning buddies in Kuala Lumpur.

During one of the visits my Skype froze and they were unable to see us, but happily we could see the inspiring dots that they shared and hear about their inspiration.

One of the third graders came into my library singing, "Who let the dots out? oh.oh.oh.oh." That just made my day.  Who let the dots out? We all did!

Let's keep this ball rolling!
These opportunities to connect can lead to collaborative learning experiences 
and primary source conversations 
around the social studies and science curriculum.