Collaboration Station

Connecting classrooms is so important these days! We need students to see that there is more to the world than their classroom, school, city or state. By creating opportunities for students to collaborate with others, educators are building a classroom culture considerate of others. It is necessary for our future to understand, appreciate and have empathy for other cultures.

Here are 10 ways to connect your classroom with other classrooms around the world.

  1. Mystery Location – Where in the world are you? Guess the location of another class by asking yes/no questions.  Click here for a great question sheet to use to guide your students through the process of a Mystery Location.
  2. Guess a number – Reinforce number sense and place value by encouraging students to guess a number. I recommend using a 100-chart when doing a number guess.
  3. Mystery Animal – This fits perfectly with a unit on animal adaptions, habitats, zoo, etc. Encourage students to ask yes/no questions in order to guess the mystery animal.
  4. Shared book – Classes can read or even discuss a book together. They can ask each other questions.
  5. Foreign Language – Play Guess Who with another foreign language class. This practices basic words in the foreign language the students are studying. Click here for a sample guess who game board.
  6. Weather – Are you studying weather patterns or extreme weather? Connect with a classroom around the world that has weather completely different than yours.
  7. Setting – Are you reading about a location in a book? Are you studying a culture in social studies? Connect with a classroom in that area to extend your knowledge about that area.
  8. How to – Prior to connecting, teachers have students write a how-to to draw a picture. The classes exchange the writings or directions. Then, they try to draw based on the writing. If time allows, the classes can connect to discuss the experience.
  9. Blog – Share a blog with another class! The sky is the limit as far as the topic of the blog. It is just cool to know that there are other students around the world!
  10. Postcards – Collect postcards from around the world. This instantly starts to help students learn geography. This is also an easy thing to gather – make a graphic similar to this one encouraging people to mail your class postcards!

Some of you may be wondering how do you find a classroom in which to connect … I recommend joining  Google+ / Connected Classrooms. This is a great site for posting and locating classrooms that also desire to connect. It also sparks ideas for connection! You can also complete this form created by ISTE’s Global Collaboration PLN. They are working on a database that will be in the ISTE Global Collaboration forum.

What options are there for video connections? You can use Google Hangouts, FaceTime, Skype or Zoom. You will need a webcam or camera. It is important that you test prior to doing in front of your class. You want to make sure that you don’t have problems. Be sure to have a speaker handy so that your students can hear the other class!

Remember to start off small! We often get overwhelmed by trying too much at one time. In every opportunity, we learn something … it that is possibly what not to do next year! If you have any questions, feel free to reach out. I am happy to share my experience and offer suggestions.

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