Sunday, April 9, 2017

Wells, ME, USA to Sau Paulo, Sau Paulo, Brazil and back again!

We are a global society, and now our students join us in this global connection. Early on, during winter, for inhabitants of the northern hemisphere, and summer, for inhabitants of the southern hemisphere, Alice Barr and Cheryl Oakes agreed to present at  Amplifica Internacional ELT for the English speaking strand.
Many years ago Carla Arena met Alice,  Cheryl and our friend Bob Sprankle in a Brazilian restaurant in Cambridge, MA. We laughed and talked about education, educators and technology, all the while, enjoying a terrific meal and afternoon. We kept in touch virtually and went on our separate ways.

So,  when Alice and I were asked to speak at Amplifica 2017, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, we jumped at the chance. We would be sharing Google tools and different ways that educators could #changeitup with #studentpurpose in mind. In our Ignite, session Alice and I touched on different ways that educators could change one thing in their classroom or lesson that would allow their students global access. We mentioned free online conferences, Twitter chats and the last one I will focus on is Mystery Skype.

Mystery Skype is a global guessing game where students learn about geography, culture and how we are very much the same and very much different. The process requires a free registration, two interested classrooms, some finagling with time zones and technology including the internet and a way to view the each other's classrooms through SKYPE.
Wells, ME            coakes photo

When our presentation was finished a Brazilian educator promised me that he would be in touch. I was excited about the prospect and two weeks later, thrilled that Roberto had arranged for two classrooms to be involved in the Mystery Skype guessing game. I quickly enlisted two 4th grade classrooms and last Thursday the games began! I was fortunate to be able to participate in both sessions. There were job descriptions for the students and teachers. There were signs used to help the process of speaking, listening and giving think time as the student researchers looked up information and consulted with one another. There was joy as the students learned about one another and there was pride as teachers watched their students correctly guess the clues from the classroom partners in another country.

I even got to speak to Roberto at the end of the final clues. Obrigado to all teachers and students. 
The big take aways! A teacher reported that this was the easiest hour of her day with the script and jobs that the students carried out. A student asked, "Can we do this again, this was the most fun!"

I believe teachers and students in both Sao Paulo and Wells will be enjoying other global opportunities. I hope you will too!