By now hopefully you’ve checked your email and received the announcement from Sue Porter from one (or more) of the listservs on the Read Around the Planet project, formerly known as Read Across America.
If you’re familiar with the project already, here’s what you need to know.
- The project is sponsored by Polycom this year. This sponsorship allows TWICE to contract with Sue Porter as the main coordinator for the project. Sue is a “retired” TWICE Board member and one of the original founders of this event, so you’ll be in good hands. And I’m helping to coordinate the verification piece. So that’s how coordination is happening.
- There’s a new registration system. Make sure your spam filter is allowing email from email@example.com. PLEASE READ the New Verification System Overview (1 page PDF).
- The project is five days this year. March 1, 2, 5-7.
- There’s a new World Language Day match on March 9 for language classes. Be sure you realize it’s very unlikely you’ll match with native speakers. It’s to practice with other classes studying the language. You’ll be matched by level and language as well as time & connection type. Read the WLD Teacher Packet.
- International connections! Read Around the Planet means that we’re including countries other than the US in this project. But we still have a majority of US schools. So this doesn’t mean you will get an international connection. However, you have a chance of getting a Canada connection anytime you sign up for. If you sign up for early morning EST, you have a chance of getting matched with the UK. We made a timezone chart this year so you can see which areas are possibly participating at the time you’re signing up for. As other countries sign up for verification we’ll update this with their time zones too.
If you’re new to the project, here’s what else you need to know!
- This project is monstrous! Last year 1042 classes participated, just in the U.S. So if the procedures in place for verification and registration seem complicated, it’s because of the large number of classes connecting and the complication of all the ways we can connect to each other. So get a good dose of patience and flexibility before you sign up! 🙂
- Read Read Read. The materials that is. Start with the Tech, Coordinator, and Teacher packets. Please read them carefully. Again this project is huge, so understanding the scope & implications of participating is really important. Then review the steps on the project website. Become very familiar with the website & the steps/timeline of the project.
- Watch a movie. This little overview of the project still refers to Read Across America, but other than that the info is still pertinent. Use this to share with your teachers too.
I thought I’d share how I’m coordinating this project locally. In the past I’ve connected my schools for everything they do. Control freak, you know! 🙂 But now that our usage has exploded (207 VC requests right now where I had 86 last year), I’m starting to teach my districts to do this on their own. So here’s what I’m doing for verification in November.
- I started by asking all my building contacts if they are participating this year and if they are ready to participate on their own. (Some have staff ready and some are so understaffed I’ll probably always help them.)
- Next, I’m going to meet with them in a few after school meetings. I’m going to help them login to the TWICE Registration System, enter information for their building, and explain how all that works. All my buildings that will connect on their own I’m verifying on their own. The rest that still need me I’ll verify under my bridge.
- I’m also going to talk to them in the meeting about managing the connections within the district. Most of my buildings are in districts with just one or two T1 lines and so they can/should only do one VC at a time. So in some cases we’ll be negotiating which day each building will participate in RAP. We’re going to make sure we have a good feel for the demand and interest in the buildings so we’ll be ready with a plan once teacher registration opens on December 1.
We’ll see how this plan works for support in our area. If you have tips for managing this project in your area, please share them here!
For more reading, check out my posts about last year’s RAA: Still Reading Across America, Spanish Read Across America, Some Great RAA Stories, RAA The Mitten, Singing Across America, RAA Day Two, and My Favorite Things.