What’s Your Story? – #globalclassroom chats – Saturday, May 16, 2015

We are delighted to announce the return of the #globalclassroom chats for 2015, in partnership with VIF International Education … just in time to celebrate the fourth anniversary of The Global Classroom Project!

It is hard to believe, but four years ago this month, Deb Frazier and Michael Graffin connected their classes with classes in the USA, Romania, Guatemala, Australia, and New Zealand to create a shared VoiceThread, focussing on children’s questions about life and schooling around the world. They may not know it, but there are hundreds of teachers and thousands of students around the world who owe a debt to a little boy questioning a textbook about life in India.

In May 2015, as we look forward to sharing our stories at ISTE, we’d like to invite the #globalclassroom and #globaled community to reflect on what they’ve learned, and where they’re heading as global educators.

It’s time to share your story … through the #globalclassroom chats.


Q1: Why do you connect with colleagues and classes around the world?

Q2: What’s your story? How did you begin your #globalclassroom journey?

Q3: What lessons have you learned as a global educator?

Q4: What would you like to learn or explore next on your #globalclassroom journey?


Based on past experience with the #globalclassroom chats, we are trialling an adjusted chat timetable, with two (rather than three) chats (typically) starting on the second Saturday of the month.

Chat 1 ~ Saturday May 16    10:00 UTC (Europe/Asia/Australia)

  • 6:00 North Carolina, 11:00 London, 12:00 (noon) Cape Town, 15:30 New Delhi, 18:00 Perth, 20:00 Sydney, 22:00 Auckland
  • Click here to find out when this is in YOUR timezone.


Chat 2: Saturday May 16    23:00 UTC (Americas/Asia/Australia).

  • Saturday night USA – 16:00 Los Angeles, 19:00 New York and North Carolina
  • Sunday morning – – 07:00 Perth, 9:00 Sydney, 11:00 Auckland
  • Click here to find out when this is in YOUR timezone

The Journey of Being a Connected Classroom

Screen Shot 2015-04-26 at 1.25.41 PM

So what is a connected classroom and how do I get my classroom connected?  These two questions seem to be common for many educators today.  More and more teachers are seeking to build and maintain connections in their classrooms.  Establishing a connected classroom doesn’t happen overnight and it doesn’t happen without grit and perseverance.

I hope you’re still with me because being a part of a connected classroom gives the learners (and I am including us as  learners) a greater purpose and authenticity in our work, it motivates us and it pushes our thinking.

You may be familiar with this quote~

There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know.

Donald Rumsfeld

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/d/donaldrums148142.html#UuQeysFEr1kci7Lr.99

We know this is true for adults who have many years of experience, but let’s think about our studens who are just beginning to experience life. Their schema is limited, limited by the people they are surrounded by.  What they learn and how they think is based on the community in which they live and go to school.  As we prepare our students to be leaders of our communities we know their professional communities will reach far beyond the limits of our classrooms, our schools and even the communities in which they live.  Knowing this, as professional educators, we can’t stand unconnected in our professional lives. Not if we are preparing learners to be members of the global community in which they are living.

The journey of being a connected educator begins with the teacher.  I am not a spokes person for Twitter, but I would be remiss not to share the brawn of Twitter in becoming connected.  I know many people at this point begin to nod or curl a lip.  Don’t worry I am not talking about twitter like my teenagers use twitter. I am talking about following other educators and their classrooms.

In my first job I had an employer give me this advice,

“Always surround yourself with people you want to be like.”

This advice has served me well in so many instances and it couldn’t be more suited here. If you want to be a connected educator, follow connected educators and their classrooms. Follow their blogs, their thinking and their journeys. Connected educators share all this and more on twitter. They share tools, struggles and celebrations and they do it for FREE and they do it for OUR kids!  Connected educators are immersed in the voyage and they know the challenges, they are living them, they are overcoming them and they are sharing it all on Twitter!

Happy Tweeting!

Practicing what I preach … Introducing Mystery Skype #ionapsict

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Mystery Skyping with Nepal

In July 2014, after many frustrating years of relief teaching, I finally found a school to call home. I know I have been a little distant from the wider project community for some time, but I have been taking time out to actually practice what I preach. For the past few years, I’ve helped and watched teachers around the world flatten their classroom walls, but I was unable to learn how to do it in my own classroom and school. Until now.

Last year, Mrs R (a Year 3 teacher), and I joined a small handful of teachers in Western Australia who Mystery Skype. Integrating our Skype sessions into Geography, we made some memorable connections with Hello Little World Skypers and Global Classroom teachers from Argentina, India, Nepal, and the United States. We also were able to connect with ‘Flat Addy’, a little girl in Iowa, USA, who had sent us a Flat Stanley earlier in the year.

Mystery Skype proved to be a fantastic introduction for our students, who learnt how to communicate and share with authentic global audiences. As the 2015 school year progresses, I am hoping to introduce videoconferencing and Mystery Skype into more classes, as we work to build our students’ awareness of the world beyond their classroom walls.


  • Students will use map skills to find the location of the mystery classroom
  • Students will use communication and critical thinking skills to ask questions to help them find the mystery location.
  • Classes communicate with other classrooms via Skype or Google+ Hangouts.
  • Students will learn to respect and appreciate the cultures and customs of others.
  • Students will be able to see the differences and similarities between themselves and others around the world.

This post was adapted from Meeting the World via Mystery Skype (#ionapsict)

Looking for World Read Aloud Day 2015 Connections! (#WRAD15)


Kathy Kaldenberg, based in the USA, is looking for Skype Read-Aloud partners for March 3 and 6, 2015. Please contact her via Skype (scsdmedia), Twitter (@scsdmedia), or email kkaldenberg AT solon.k12.us

On March 4th, we will celebrate World Read Aloud Day with LitWorld. This is always such a special day for celebrating the power of literacy….and one of the best for our libraries, schools, and students too.

Over the past few years it has been so much fun coming together to read and collaborate together with other students, teacher librarians, teachers, schools, and communities.  And this year we are excited for even more of these special connections.

If you are interested in connecting with others on this day, please add your name, schedule, and ideas to this Google document: http://bit.ly/worldreadaloud15.

Check out all the wonderful activity ideas and resources that LitWorld has included on their website here. The classroom kit is great!

New #globalclassroom project: The Art of the Fibonacci Numbers

The Art of the Fibonacci Numbers

This project is designed to explore the Fibonacci Number Sequence and how it relates to proportion, the human body, and art. To accomplish this, you will be reading, watching videos, taking measurements, and using photography.

Have fun and be creative! :)

How can we get involved?

  • Here, Arthur Benjamin gives a great introduction to the Fibonacci Numbers.
  • Read Golden Ratio in Logo Designs.
  • Watch the tutorial: Fibonacci Photography to learn about taking pictures using mathematical compositions
  • Download the app: Camera Awesome on your iPad or on your smartphone.
  • Take and post a picture to the Global Project Wikispace using the Fibonacci Spiral as a guide.
  • Describe your picture and location of the picture underneath the picture
    Remember to name your images/files so they don’t save over existing images on your wiki. This is easiest if you do it from a computer.
  • In the Questions and Comments Section: comment or create questions related to the photographs, be sure to add where you are from

Reflections on International Mindedness

Copyright Shutterstock. Used under license.

Copyright Shutterstock. Used under license.

A guest post courtesy of Toni Olivieri-Barton who blogs at toniobarton.wordpress.com.

In the International Baccalaureate (IB) Organization, “international-minded” students are defined as demonstrating all of the following attributes: open-minded, risk-taker, reflective, principled, balanced, inquirer, knowledgeable, thinkers, communicators and caring. There are many ways to give our students enough time to practice these attributes. I have incorporated them into the library time and collaborating with teachers to allow students to show these attributes to others around the world

Global projects assist teachers and students in being able to demonstrate all those attributes, but especially open-minded, risk-taking, and reflective. In a global project, classrooms around the world meet virtually to discuss cultural similarities and differences. For students who may never get to travel outside of their neighborhood or school, this global experience is essential because they will hear ideas and opinions that they themselves have not thought about. Even understanding students in a different school in the United States can open up their minds allowing them to care and reflect on their life.

One example of this is Mystery Skype. Mystery Skype is a Skype videoconference where another school in the world to connect with my school. The teachers do not tell the students where the other school is from and the students ask each other Yes or No questions to determine where the school is located. While doing this the teachers and students talk about being good communicators and thinkers. Our students are not allowed to use slang or text talk so that they can be respective when they communicate. They are representing our school and need to think and act accordingly.  After the location is discovered, the two classrooms have a social exchange of what our classrooms, communities, and environments are like. We need to be knowledgeable about our own state and inquirers into what their state or country have to offer.

We had a few classes participate in the Global Read-Aloud. The teacher running this program simply picks books for every level K-12 and asks teachers to join her Edmodo group to find a connection with other teachers. Last year the students discussed in groups on Edmodo what they thought of the books and also video conferenced with other classrooms who read the same book. Our fifth graders were able to return to school in the evening to communicate with Kuala Lumpur students who had also read the book. The book this year was “Wonder” by Palaccio. The book talks about a student with deformities. Students discussed how a caring student would react with the main character. The students had an exchange about the book and then had time for a social exchange to understand each other’s culture.

On a larger scale, I am eager to have more classrooms participate in a global collaboration project, such as Flat Connections. There is one project for kindergarten through second graders that is called “Building Bridges to Tomorrow”. My 4th graders participate in one called “A Week in the Life”. Both of these projects are created and managed through Flat Connections, which is an organization who believes students from different schools, and countries can come together to collaborate with each other. During these projects, students learn to be open-minded and inquire to their fellow co-students from around the world. If students can see this task as simple and friendly, they will develop into adults who want to connect with others who are not similar to themselves. Flat Connections has projects for all grade levels in K-12.

During the last year, my students made amazing reflections. One class of 2nd graders all wanted to move to Iowa so that they can drive the tractors in the fields at age twelve. This farming community in Iowa opened our students’ eyes up to different experiences. Another group of students connected with a Catholic school in Illinois. When one of our religious students asked how often they studied religion, the Catholic students answered only on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday because on Wednesday they attended Mass. The student was surprised because they only study religion a few days a week. As a librarian, this connected learning is similar to learning from a primary source. The students are learning from each other by discussing their similarities and differences.

As a society we should learn from our past mistakes and make the world a peaceful place. We have a diverse earth where conflict arises when we don’t understand our differences. This past year, I had every classroom from second grade to fifth grade participate in at least one project with a classroom outside of our school. Some of these projects were only communication projects. This year my goal is to have all the students from second through fifth grade participate in a collaboration project.

As the IB model teaches, teachers should inspire students to act about the knowledge they gain during school hours. If that knowledge includes more international students or United States students who are different than them, our students will become more open-minded and reflective. Even at the primary grades, students question how the world works and take action on their knowledge and passions. The Flat Connections group uses the term “Glocalization”, let’s teach globally, but act locally.

Live Event: Take a Trip to the Deserts and Grasslands of Africa! (Feb 5, 2015)

Are you looking for new, exciting ways to connect your Grades 3-8 students with real world science, geography, and environmental issues beyond your classroom walls? Why rely on a textbook, when you can bring a real scientist into your classroom?

The Global Classroom Project is delighted to share an amazing upcoming live event, where The Nature Conservancy, PBS Learning Media, and field scientist Charles Oluchina will take your students on a live virtual field trip to Africa!

Event Description

Take your students on a virtual trip to Burkina Faso, where they will learn how one African farmer invented an ingenious method to help restore forestlands that had been lost to desertification. Head to Kenya to learn about the importance of grasslands, and how ecotourism has benefited both the people and Kenya’s majestic wildlife. Finally, you and your students will get a firsthand look at a PBS LearningMedia’s collection of videos, digital games and educational resources from the new PBS series EARTH A New Wild.

This event, focussing on the Deserts and Grasslands of Africa, marks the first of a new series of live events aimed at building students’ knowledge of, and emotional connection to environmental issues, which are at the heart of The Nature Conservancy’s mission.

Date and time:  Thursday, February 5, 2015, 12:00 noon Eastern Time (17:00 GMT). 

The event will be streamed on YouTube (40 minutes), and recorded for those classes which can’t participate live due to time differences.

Get Involved!

Interested teachers are strongly encouraged to register for this event via this online form.

Classes can participate in the event in three ways:

  1. Join the live Google Hangout On Air on The Nature Conservancy’s Google + channel
  2. Watch the live stream on YouTube here, or
  3. Watch the event recording via the Nature Works Everywhere YouTube channel

About Nature Works Everywhere

The Nature Conservancy and its 550 scientists created Nature Works Everywhere to help students learn the science behind how nature works, and how we can help keep it strong. Nature Works Everywhere gives teachers, students and families around the world everything they need to start exploring and understanding the natural world alongside Nature Conservancy scientists, including interactive games, and curriculum linked lesson plans that be customised for use in classrooms around the world.

Related Science and Geography Resources for teachers: