Today we had a really fun connection between Mr. Heppler’s 2nd grade class at Hollywood Elementary, Stevensville, MI and Ms. Daugherty’s 4th grade classat Spencer Van Etten Elementary, Van Etten, NY.
The two classes shared their worm farms with each other via videoconferencing! Both classes had the equipment moved into their classroom, so this was trulya classroom-to-classroom connection.
The teachers had emailed each other ahead of time to plan the videoconference,and had shared information about their classes ahead of time.
The videoconference began with a song from Michigan, Nobody Likes Me, followed by each class sharing their worms on the document cameras at both locations.
Worms in Michigan.
Worms in New York.
The students at both ends shared how they feed their worms, how they keep track of them, how they grow flowers with the composted dirt, and types of worms. The students at both ends shared the knowledge they’d gained throughout theyear, and asked thoughtful questions of the class at the other school, comparing their experiments.
|Each class also shared the books they were reading. The New York students shared a few scenes from the book How to Eat Fried Worms. The Michigan class shared some favorite pages from the book Diary of a Worm. The Michigan class also shared a chant they learned from their student teacher in the fall, Herman the Worm.
|One of the benefits of bringing videoconferencing into the classroom was quickly evident during the videoconference. The New York class shared their worm bulletin board, which had interesting facts about worms they had found on the Internet. The students read the facts from their bulletin board display. If you look carefully you can see the ground, the grass, and the worm tunnels in the bulletin board display.
The Michigan students learned that the longest worm in the world is 22 feet long. Their class is studying measurement, so now they are going to try measuring out 22 feet within their classroom. Oh the connections made in a teachable moment!
Clearly there are important benefits to having videoconferencing in the classroom. The kids are in their environment. They make connections quickly with what they have been learning. It seemed to take less time for the students to adapt to the technology. It’s just like the laptop programs going on around the country – in Michigan -the Freedom to Learn project. Getting access to technology in the classroom, where the students are, makes a huge difference in the curriculum integration process.