How simple it is to make connections and support the learning of children both in my own classroom and another in Bangkok. Last week Jeff Utecht at ISB, Bangkok, sent out a couple of tweets inviting people to encourage a few of his fifth grade bloggers who were just learning how to blog and recording their instructions on constructing a science experiment exploring variables. It helps, maybe, that I had met Jeff while on holiday to Bangkok earlier this year, but that personal encounter isn’t really relevant to the connection.
I made a few comments on the grade five blogs and was particularly impressed with young Haley’s post. To encourage her and show her how the whole blogging thing might work, I decided to replicate her experiment in my own class the next day, using Haley’s procedural writing to help us with our instructions.
Setting up the experiment took five minutes of my time and my class took a couple of photos and quickly blogged about their results and I added a link to it for Haley through her blog comments so she could find our post the next day at school.
Haley learnt about the power of blogging in a real context and my class made another connection and further cemented their own learning about variables that we had completed as part of our science fair earlier in the term. Following up on a question that Haley asked in a comment I was able to share a Voicethread we had made earlier on New Zealand currency. You can see how these things can grow.
Jeff later blogged about his own ideas for extending the collaboration…..
- What if we share our data with the class in New Zealand?
- I wonder if longitude and latitude is a variable we need to consider (Social Studies)
- I wonder if we’ll get the same results? (Science)
- How can we best represent our data for someone else to read? (Math, Science)
- Why is writing clear instructions important? (Writing)
These connections don’t need to be huge, or time consuming, or hard. They just need a little time, a little energy and a buddy who wants to share and learn. The whole process isn’t in the least bit scary.