I love it when Google Alerts sends me interesting Read Around the Planet notifications. Here are a few little tidbits to tantalize you as the last moments of summer slip away and you start to think about videoconferences for the 2010-2011 school year.
Read Around the Planet inspires Reader’s Coffeehouse
This little clip is from a teacher whose inspiration from Read Around the Planet last year inspired a “Reader’s Coffeehouse” to involve parents.
In 2008, I considered having a Coffeehouse after remembering a snippet from Debbie Miller’s Reading With Meaning where she discusses twinkling lights, poetry, and a coffeehouse setting. After researching the history of coffeehouses, it made perfect sense to me. I wanted to host a parent night, but I wanted it to be simplistic and sophisticated. After all, the students were maturing as readers and writers. I suppose what set the idea in stone was our participation in Read Around the Planet.
Read the whole post here. Has Read Around the Planet given you new ideas by talking to students and educators in another location?
Today as I was riding up to the 2010 MACUL Conference, I was thinking how lucky we are in Michigan to have consistent support for the TWICE videoconferencing sessions at our ed tech conference, year after year after year…
Sometimes I listen to VC buddies in other states and I can’t think of very many (any?) that consistently and annually plan to have a videoconference session at every single breakout time slot during the conference.
So this is a thank you from a long time TWICE board member, and videoconferencing fan, who loves to see this particular technology supported and promoted every year. Thank you MACUL!! And thank you to the MACUL support staff and volunteers who sometimes stand on their heads to make VC work on the conference network!
One of my RAP teachers is also taking the Kid2Kid Videoconference Connections class. In this class, participants end by evaluating the experience. The teachers tell how they evaluated the students’ learning, and how they evaluated the VC with the students. Here is an answer from Nichole Dohm, Eagle Lake Elementary:
Monday morning was my videoconference with Moorhead Minnesota. The conference went well and the students really enjoyed themselves. Today I passed out a quiz on the information presented at the videoconference to evaluate what exactly my students learned from the videoconference experience.
The second activity I gave my students was a self evaluation rubric. We had discussed during our planning the expectations I had of each group before and during the videoconference. This rubric went along with the expectations discussed. My student did very well on the quiz that I gave them with simple recall of facts presented by the other school. A large part of my preparation was focused on “active listening”, so the recall of facts was a quick way to check if they were engaged.
I also asked students what they would like to do next for a videoconference. I was amazed by the enormous amount of feedback this question elicited. I had suggestions ranging from author studies, monster books, Tall Tales, and connecting with new and different schools. I was so excited to see their enthusiasm shine through the project.
Are you evaluating your RAP connections? In what ways?
@amindthought: 12 RAPS down and 4 to go…thanks so much to TWICE for making this all possible! #RAP2010
@lcolwill: My group is an afterschool group and they are so excited. They are doing a skit about a Guatemala news event. #RAP2010
Our kids just asked the Guatemalan students “Do you watch American Idol?” LOL #RAP2010
@lcolwill: My school is doing a cheer after every student presentation by the remote site. Very cute. #RAP2010
A Great Question
@lcolwill: Tchr communication btwn partners is such a challenge. How can we make it better? #RAP2010
What do you think? Have you had teacher communication issues this year? How are you solving it? What would help make it better?
It’s the fourth day of Read Around the Planet. Classes are still working hard on their presentations and asking great questions of their partners. Here are a few highlights of today:
Today we had some great examples of how to get the other class involved in the presentation. It’s nice to see classes move beyond the simple two presentation format, and build in more interaction.
One school had skits of fairy tales: the partner school had to guess which fairy tale the skit was based on.
Another school shared information about famous people, followed by a quiz question on what was just presented.
Another school had a graph of their favorite Dr. Seuss books, and they asked our students questions about the graph.
Many of the classes are sharing great maps and visuals about their community. Here are some pictures shared from E. P. Clarke Elementary in St. Joseph, MI.
Today I had my first connection that took 20 minutes to solve the technical problem. While the class was waiting, I put on my hat to show the students. I showed them our snow out the window also. The students waited so patiently, and the interaction ended up being a great experience.
Hope your RAP connections continue to go well! Feel free to comment if you have additional insights!
Read Around the Planet continues with some amazing connections, and great prep work by students and teachers alike! Here are some more highlights:
Usually I see the amazing backdrops or sets in the MysteryQuest sessions. But one of my schools is going all out for Read Around the Planet this year. It’s their first year, but the school has a Jazz grad, and a PICC grad, so they are well trained. Several of the classes are doing similar presentations, so they have the visuals incorporated into their back drop. Check it out:
Doesn’t that look sharp?! What tips do you have for visuals?
I have realized again that a very important role of the VC coordinator is the encourager for the teacher. Teachers doing a videoconference for the first time tend to be anxious about it. You can:
Listen to their great ideas for their presentation
Help them with visuals & testing the document camera / computer set up
Reassure them when they haven’t heard from their partner teacher (if the test call happened; they are planning on it!)
Let them know their preparation plans are great and that it will be a great learning experience
One of the fun challenges of Read Around the Planet is rescheduling. Snow days have knocked out quite a few connections this year, as well as the usual family illness, jury duty, etc. Here are some tips on rescheduling:
Give the Reason: When you need to request a rescheduling, be sure to tell the reason why you need to reschedule. People are pretty frustrated about rescheduling if you don’t give a reason. However, if you have a legitimate reason like illness or a death in the family or jury duty, etc. then they are generally happy to accommodate you.
Be Specific: When emailing to reschedule, be really specific to speed the process. Tell all the dates and times that you can do within the next 3-4 weeks. Then they can pick a date from that list & you’re done!
CC everyone involved: Be sure to CC teachers, school VC coordinators, and any regional service staff involved in the connect so everyone knows what is happening. Use the Reply to All feature of your email program!
Sometimes your partner teacher might cancel on you. Frustrating for sure, but what can you do? This morning, one of our partner classes had two classes in the videoconference. They graciously explained the situation to us, and my teacher was totally fine with it. This way all three classes were able to participate in their RAP connection. If you do this, be sure to explain to the partner class so they aren’t stressed or anxious about the large number of students they see on their screen!
How are your Read Around the Planet connections going? Running into any issues? How are you solving them?
Today is the first day of Read Around the Planet 2010! We have 70 classes participating. The total project participants is 1950 this year! The next couple weeks, I’ll be sharing some of highlights from each day.
We started the day by putting four of our ten videoconferences today in the reschedule pile. Snow days knocked out 3 of the connections, and family illness made another one necessary to reschedule. One of the four is already rescheduled. We still want to meet with our partners!
Snapshots of Sharing
In a third grade connection this morning, the teachers began by comparing today’s weather. It’s always fun to compare weather when we are loaded up with snow and it’s 70 degrees in Texas.
Both classes shared a state ABC book, which fits nicely into the communities and regions curriculum for both classes.
Texas: A is for the Alamo; B is for bluebonnet, the state flower; C is for Davy Crockett…
Michigan: A is for apple blossom, the state flower; B is for blue trout; C is for capital of Michigan: Lansing…
The Q&A part is always fun:
TX asked our kids: Do you go outside at recess? Only if it’s above 10. In TX, they don’t go outside if it’s below 30.
MI Q: What makes your community unique? A: Everybody knows everybody.
This pair of teachers had prepared questions and sent them to each other ahead of time. Students at both sides read questions and answers ahead of time, and even prepared some visuals to go with the answers.
In another connection today, we were also matched with a class in Texas. Our class shared pictures of putting on snow pants and coats to go outside to play in the snow; and then pictures of playing outside in the snow – on the swings, on the slide, and making snow angels.
Sometimes interruptions happen. During our 1st grade connection, one of our students lost a tooth! Our teacher apologized for the disruption and the classes kept right on going.
In that same connection, teachers had split up the lines of Green Eggs and Ham and traded off reading the lines back and forth in a choral reading format. Great interaction and involvement on both sides.
Favorite RAP Tweets
I’ve also been following the tweets about RAP2010 this year. You can follow the #RAP2010 hash tag, or check the twitter fountain. Here are some of my favorites from today:
Hairynomas: Just overheard our schools teachers setting up a Pen Pals collaboration between their classes. Gotta Lov RAP! #RAP2010
Hairynomas: Another RAP Pen Pal match between classes. The RAP project is like the cupid arrow of collaborations this year. #RAP2010
CherylTice: i’m in my office all day and have lots of books, so if there’s a class that needs a #RAP2010 partner & no one else can, i will do it 🙂
LColwill: Watching Q & A. Students from VA just asked if we ride horses to school? LOL! #RAP2010
It’s going to be a fun two weeks. Read Around the Planet weeks are my favorite time of year. It’s awesome to listen to all the great learning and sharing that happens in all the connections!
Now that you’ve decided to participate in Read Around the Planet, it’s time to tackle the registration process.
If this is your first year, it is a bit of a challenge. If you are having any problems at all, please email me at my Read Around the Planet email for this time of year: firstname.lastname@example.org and I can help you!
Step 1: Verification
The first step is to take care of equipment verification, and soon! We’re trying to get verification done by Friday, January 8!
Verification lays the foundation of the matches for Read Around the Planet. It helps us find out if you have VC equipment, and how it connects (i.e. can you receive calls, etc.).
Verification instructions are online here as well as little online videos to explain the process for you.
There’s a chance someone is taking care of this for you. Double check: in CAPspace, click My Profile and see if you have the little IP icon. If so, you’re done with this step!
Step 2: Registering Teachers
Next, think about how you will organize your participation:
Will you have classes participate during library/computer time? or during teacher’s class time?
Will you prep the students for the session or will your teachers do that?
Will you register for your teachers or have your teachers do their own registration?
Have you checked your school’s calendar (tests, training days, etc.) for any potential conflicts?
Will you limit participation to make it manageable for yourself? If so, how many will you do? (We recommend 5 or less for the first time.)
Collect the information you’ll need when you register. You can do this while you’re waiting for the verification process to finish too.
Teacher name, email, work phone number
Language (choices for 2010 are English, English as a Second Language, French, German, Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, Special Education)
All the times the teacher can do. Time choices are every half hour between 7 am and 7 pm your time.
Take some time to watch the Read Around the Planet coordinator and teacher videos if you haven’t already.
Get at least one Read Around the Planet registration step done today!
Please comment! How are you getting organized for Read Around the Planet this year?
If you are totally new to collaborative projects and/or would like step by step assistance making a collaborative project happen, from start to finish, sign up for Kid2Kid Videoconference Connections, a six week online course beginning January 25.