On Sunday, I interviewed a woman named Julie Lindsay. She lives in Australia and started a company called Flat Connections. Her message to me was that Web 2.0 tools have changed the face of education. It brought the walls down so that we could all reach each other.
On Monday, I read a book by Pernille Ripp, a teacher living in Wisconsin. In Reimagining Literacy through Global Connections, Ripp's message to me was to keep it simple when going global, the students just need to know they can connect and share who they are.
On Tuesday, I voxed Julieanne Harmatz. "Let's do this!" I said. "I've got a fourth grade, you've got a fifth. Mine is in Maine, yours is in California. Let's read together and share thoughts." She agreed.
On Wednesday, Julieanne emailed suggestions for three books she had multiple copies of. I book talked them to my students that afternoon.
On Thursday, I worked online with Julieanne to draft a google doc for our students to use. We'd like to share this with you right HERE.
On Friday, we talked with our kids about how the book groups were going to work and about how important it would be to comment often and connect with the kids in their groups.
On Saturday and Sunday, we waited--well, we graded assessments and worked on lesson plans, but we also waited.
On Monday, our students came in ready to comment. They had read and thought about their reading and knew that somewhere nearly 3000 miles away, other kids were coming into their classrooms to share their ideas about the same books. The excitement was palpable.
We didn't hatch butterflies during our global book club, but we did show our students that relationships are built on finding commonalities despite what looks like a whole lot of differences. After reading our books and writing our thoughts, we Skyped so the students could meet. It wasn't earth shattering, but somewhere between the oohs and aahs about snow and 9 degree weather vs green and 75 degree weather, we built a relationship based on trust and good books.
We can't wait to do it all over again.