Monday, July 2, 2012

Tool #7: Reaching Outside the Classroom

I was excited about this project!  I have a friend in Flower Mound, Texas that I called to see if she would be game to participate in this project.  She teaches 2nd grade in a lower socio-economic area, and is the lead teacher with all of the gifted and talented students for the grade level in her classroom.  We talked about the different TEKS that we cover in a year, and which ones did we want to do something different with in the upcoming year.  We settled on Language Arts 2.6:
Reading/Comprehension of Literary Text/Theme and Genre. Students analyze, make inferences and draw conclusions about theme and genre in different cultural, historical, and contemporary contexts and provide evidence from the text to support their understanding. Students are expected to:
(A)  identify moral lessons as themes in well-known fables, legends, myths, or stories; and
(B)  compare different versions of the same story in traditional and contemporary folktales with respect to their characters, settings, and plot.

The start of this project would be mid- October, after we had time to establish classroom routines and had expectations under control.  We would first model for the students how to interact online, how to use etiquette and discuss appropriate positive language.  The two teachers would read aloud a pre-selected book and respond to each other on the wiki.  By the end of November, the expectation is to have students split into three groups, but time and number of groups is flexible depending on what we observe with our students. 

The plan is to use a Wiki, so that several pages can be set up, and more can be added as needed.  Each classroom will likely have their own Blog to post videos and pictures (as allowed by parent permission).  At various times during the year, we'll conduct different Skype sessions, some as a large group, and some for small groups that are reading the same or similiar books. 

Our plan is for groups of children to read the same book in a particular genre, and then Skype to discuss.  Students may have some prepared questions to help a conversation roll along in case there are "dead" spaces in the conversation.  There will also be opportunities to read and compare different versions of the same story (Cajun 3 pigs, Alaskan 3 pigs, traditional 3 pigs .. one where wolf gets cooked, one where wolf gets away).  From there students can choose other books from genres for their free reading time and discuss them on the wiki.  There will be an available place to add books that they find and want to recommend on the wiki.

Covers from

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