Hello everyone and Happy Friday. I wanted to talk about something new I have been trying with Genius Hour the last few weeks and that’s Skyping. Now, many classrooms are using Skype for classroom exchange and special speakers with their classroom. A few weeks ago, I had Tony Vincent Skype with my 5th graders during their Genius Hour. My students asked Tony various questions about his work, Stick Around and more. They loved it so much they wanted to call him back after we signed off. After the call, I had two students who had been wondering about what to do for their next Genius Hour projects come up with some great ideas. One wanted to go into the creative process of making their own App. The problems they might find, how they could market it, ect. While another one wanted to explore using Explain Everything since they found out it was the sister App to Stick Around. I have the student right now making dancing stars and planets to their own original music using Garageband and Explain Everything. Tony’s conversation was very inspiring to them and really had my students thinking about what they could add or what they could do next for their Genius Hour projects.
The following week, I talked to Rosey Burke’s 5th grade classroom with my 4th graders. The two classes spent type playing “Guess who I am” to the similarities and differences between their classrooms and schools. A great example was Rosey’s classroom has chromebooks while my 4th graders have iPads and while there are several carts, Rosey’s classroom is one of the few classrooms that use them on a regular basis while my classrooms are constantly using the iPad so much it becomes conflicting. One of my 4th graders wanted to make up a better sign out schedule for the iPad cart to make it a better workflow with the cart for other classes. The two classes are also sharing and providing feedback between their classrooms using Kidblog. Really opening up my 4th graders to the World Wide Web and working on their writing and productivity as a result.
Finally, I had my 2nd graders Skype with Ericka Mobion’s 2nd grader classroom thanks to Rosey Burke’s recommendation. The classes did the same as Rosey’s class but we decided to create a digital Pen Pal program between the two classes. While Ericka’s classroom has chromebooks and each student has their own email, my 2nd graders only have a classroom email to communicate. My 2nd graders are going to work out trying to create a classroom Pen Pal system with exchanges between the two classroom and both students are really excited. I’ve had a few teachers email me about having a different approach with Genius Hours as some students who love it want to move past their comfort zones. I highly recommend using Skype chat between other educators and classrooms. Its a great way for students to explore education outside of their own schools and get new ideas from different perspectives. The Genius Hour Skype has really been remarkable for my students and I hope you will join in the endeavor.