Saturday, February 8, 2014

Spark Student Motivation -- Meet the Pen Pals!

Greetings from a snowy Saturday in Wisconsin!  (I know you haven't heard that in awhile....)  Every day, we creep closer and closer to spring, or at least that's what the calendar is telling me.

Today, I am linking up with Joanne at Head Over Heels for Teaching for some motivation.  Who couldn't use a little motivation on this second Saturday in February???
This past Wednesday was Digital Learning Day here in the US.  Our tech director encouraged us to find a way to incorporate technology into our learning for this day.  (I know...you are thinking, "Really, just one day??")
Digital Learning Day

I thought it would be a great day to meet up with our Canadian pen pals from Mrs. Barton's class via Skype.  (You know her as Lisa from Grade 4 Buzz.)
Grade 4 Buzz
Our two fourth grade classes have been exchanging pen pal letters since the beginning of the year.  It was incredible that we not only had the same number of students in our classes -- but the same number of boys and girls as each other!  This made matching up kids easy.

We logged in and Skyped for about 30 minutes.  Each student had a chance to "meet" their pen pal then we asked questions of each other.  My students were so excited -- it was the highlight of their day!  Now, when they write to each other, they will have a face to put with a name.  How exciting!
(OK, dumb question....Does anybody know if I can just plug my webcam into my SMART board so my kiddos don't have to look in two different places?  The webcam was on my desk with my laptop, but it was easier to see on the SMART board which was across the room.  Any tips are appreciated!  :)

What ways do you use Skype in your classroom?

I hope to see you at Head Over Heels for Teaching for some more motivation!  I'll see you back here tomorrow for my weekly linky party, A Peek at My Week.  Hope you will link up!  ;))

7 comments:

  1. How fun that you could skype with your pen pals! I am so cure your kids loved it.

    Wish I knew if you could plug the webcam into your SMART Board...sorry that I'm not able to help!

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  2. That is the coolest idea ever! How great for your students to "meet" their pen pals! I bet that wasn't just the highlight of their day...probably of their week! What awesome memories you're creating for your students! Even after this school year, they'll probably still stay in touch! I need to do pen pals next year! Thanks for sharing a super idea and linking up Jennifer!
    Joanne
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

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  3. What a great way to connect your students! Love it. I love pen pals but this adds a whole new level. Sorry I have no idea about connecting the web cam : (

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  4. I want to do this so bad! I love the idea of students meeting other students across the country. Great idea! Sorry, I don't know about the webcam hook up :(

    Jess

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  5. This was my children's highlight of the week for sure! You'd think our SMART Boards would come with a built-in camera, wouldn't you! Thanks again!
    -Lisa
    Grade 4 Buzz

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  6. HOW AWESOME! I love this idea. Can you believe I have never used Skype. Crazy...right? I don't even like to Face Time...for some reason it makes me extremely nervous, BUT I know my kids would eat this up! Fabulous idea! They are going to remember this always!!!
    Alison
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

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  7. Great write-up! Writing is a talent, and it must not be wasted. As with everything that we had been entrusted, we should

    let it grow and share it with the world.> self development plan

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