Education Is Important Because…

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Many thanks to Amy Murch for sharing this important global education program! Read on…

Students in Amy Murch’s fourth grade class at Brooks School Elementary recently met global explorer Justin Miles from London, England! How? Through Skype in the Classroom! Through this video conference, Amy’s students learned about Justin’s many adventures, his passions and thoughts on exploration, and his genuine love for learning. Justin taught the students about geography coordinates for finding different locations all around the world, and shared stories from his adventures in the Arctic. Students were able to interact with him by asking questions, sharing stories, and finding different locations around the world using latitude and longitude. Justin’s biggest objective was to introduce  the students to an inspiring challenge, called #educationisimportantbecause or #EAA.

Did you know there are approximately 58 million children around the globe who do not have access to education due to various conditions and situations? Through explorations, adventures, and his work as a children’s author, Justin Miles is spreading the word about the global education program ‘Educate A Child’. He created a website to collect letters from children all around the world on why they think education is important. Please check out this link: http://educationisimportantbecause.org/

murch2Mrs. Murch’s students accepted the challenge and wrote letters to Justin about why they think education is important. These letters are now going global! “It’s just another way to demonstrate the importance and excitement of global learning,” said Murch. “My students LOVE doing Skype lessons each week. We Skype experts into our classroom to teach and demonstrate new concepts of our curriculum, we play Mystery Skype (a geography skills game of questioning, research and adventure), and we meet authors like Justin who help us connect and learn about what’s happening around the globe. Skype allows us to make real life connections which turns into real life learning.”

Follow Justin on Twitter @ExplorerJust
Follow Amy on Twitter @TeamMurch4

Day 48 – Skype Leads to Unexpected Excitement!

UntitledA few of the kindergarten classes at Brooks School Elementary had a very exciting day! We had the great opportunity to Skype with a local firefighter. Our class had not used Skype for learning in the classroom yet this year, so I thought that we should start off small by using it to reach out to someone in our community. In our social studies lessons we are learning about our community and the leaders that help us and our neighbors. I reached out to a firefighter and asked if he was interested in answering some questions from my students to help us learn more about a day in the life of a firefighter.

During our Skype conversation with firefighter Josh, the students were able to ask questions about his job, the firehouse, his uniform and the fire truck. He gave us a tour of the inside cab of the fire truck and the tools that are attached to the outside. Right after Josh put on the mask and helmet that he has to wear when entering a burning building, we heard alarms going off in the fire house. They were being called out on a run and Josh was able to take us with him for a bit through Skype. We heard the sirens and could see how fast they got to drive when answering a call. Our classes could hear everything that was going on with them but they could not hear our questions anymore. We wrote a few down and held them up to the camera so that he could answer a few more before we had to go.

Through Skype and thanks to firefighter Josh, the walls of our classroom vanished for a bit, and our students were able to experience the world outside in the middle of our day. Skyping a community helper was a perfect way to begin using this technology in our classroom!

-Submitted by Mrs Breiner, Brooks School Elementary, Kindergarten

Day 26 – #Dot Day: @TeamMurch4 Makes Their Mark

murch2After discovering the #Dot Day on Twitter, students from Mrs. Murch’s 4th grade class decided to join the creating, celebrating and, most importantly, the connecting during this day! Students were challenged to think outside the box and create their own unique dots, math games that incorporated concepts using dots, writing activities and goals all around message of the book The Dot by Peter Reynolds. Students and teachers were challenged to think of ways they were “going the make their mark” on the world; they had time to self-reflect and set goals for this school year and for the future.

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Dot Day also provided Mrs. Murch’s class with the opportunity to work toward another class goal for the year: 50 states in 180 days via Skype in the Classroom. 50 States in 180 Days challenges students to connect with all 50 states this school year through #Mystery Skype. @TeamMurch was able to add two more United States schools because of Dot Day! They also participated in their first international Skype with a school in Canada! Students read and discussed their perspective of The Dot with 2nd graders in New York, and they shared and explained their “dots” creations with 5th & 6th graders in Canada–they even learned a bit of French during the call! Finally, they shared their writing and ways of making their mark with students in TN. Dot Day was an amazing HSE_21 day for all learners!

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-Submitted by Amy Murch, Brooks School Elementary, 4th Grade

Day 17 – Global Learning in Elementary School? Yes!!

King Mystery Skype
Imagine taking your class to another state or country on a field trip or having your favorite children’s author participate in a read-aloud or writing lesson. Teachers at Thorpe Creek Elementary are doing just that… and so much more without even leaving the classroom.

Many classrooms at TCE have been participating in something called a Mystery Skype. During a Mystery Skype one class connects with another class around the district, state, country, or even the world. At Thorpe Creek you may find a third or fourth grade class participating in a Mystery State Skype, which allows students to use critical thinking skills to guess another class’s state or country.  You may find first or second grade students participating in a Mystery Number Skype, where they are using problem solving skills to guess a number. Kindergarten students have even gotten involved by connecting with others to learn about letters through a Mystery Letter Skype.

Gibson Mystery Skype

Many Thorpe Creek Elementary teachers connect with others in a global community at education.skype.com or @SkypeClassroom on Twitter.  From visits to national forests and aquariums, to connecting with other classes around the world, teachers have found that not only are students engaged and excited about these global opportunities, but they are learning so much more than we can teach from a picture in a book or a problem on a white board. 

Submitted by Tina Johnston, Teacher Development Specialist, Thorpe Creek Elementary