Technology is helping us learn from and with people outside the four walls of our classroom. A few weeks ago we had the opportunity to be a part of a live video conference with Kate DiCamillo, author of The Tale of Despereaux, the first read aloud we completed this year. Kate is lovely and inspirational, and has a wonderful way of connecting with children. She currently serves as the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature. Pittsburgh Arts and Lectures hosted the video conference and schools all across America tuned in. Our class submitted a list of questions with the hopes that one of ours would be chosen. It was! The students were delighted when the interviewer announced that the third graders from Westchester Elementary in Decatur, GA had a question for Kate. We learned a lot about where she got her ideas for her books and she also gave our writers great advice about the writing process.
Last week we participated in our second Mystery Skype with a fourth grade class in Charlottesville, Virginia. Mystery Skype is a great way to learn geography and map skills. We make a connection via Skype with a class in a mystery location. Each class takes turns asking yes or no questions until both classes figure out where the other class is located. Students partner up and use a dry erase map of the United States and eliminate states as they hear the answers to the questions. This particular Mystery Skype session was extra special because we Skyped with Luke's cousin's class! We have another one scheduled for tomorrow afternoon. Be sure to ask your child where our Mystery Skype class was located.