For my PGP this year, I chose to try the Global Read Aloud, and I wanted to continue to connect with that same class throughout the year and carry on conversation between their and my class. GRA was amazing and I would definitely do that again, it was fun to read a book and connect with a class from Hingham, Massachusetts. We did all sorts of activities with The Wild Robot. I also wanted a different way to inspire my students in ELA.
I did complete my goal, but the class I connected with for GRA was not as consistent as I preferred, so I reached out on Edmodo. Edmodo is a great way to reach out to other educators and find a class to connect with. I could have also done this on the Facebook group for GRA or even Twitter. Edmodo led me to a class from Salem, Ohio. Yes, Salem with the past of witches! The students were instantly interested to find out about them. The connections were amazing off the start with Skype, but after a little while, my students did not seem as engaged. My class, having 19, and the class we connected with, only having 9 students, ended up being my students having to wait a lot longer to share their ideas. So we talked about other possibilities!
This led us to other ways of communication. Mr. Smith introduced me to Flipgrid, which I made an earlier post on. He also showed me how to use Padlet while connecting with his students. Both of these were great, because we could both create on our own time with our students and respond when we could, instead of having to set a concrete time with Skype. It also made students who were a more shy about responding on the spot (live on Skype) able to think about their response and answer to their full capability when we were discussing our books or each other. Now, being able to carry a thoughtful conversation in front of students you do not know is a hard task, so it was a good skill to work on with Skype.
I would say my PGP ended up being a success, because it led me to learn new things about how to incorporate technology successfully, and sometimes not so successfully in my classroom.
During the year I was also led to Microsoft Education. Which took me onto a whole new realm of Skype possibilities. That’s for another post.