Edmodo Pen Pal Project – New Round Begins

A few years ago, I heard about this social network for schools called Edmodo.  I thought it was a neat idea, but not something that was appropriate for my Grade 3 students (ages 8-9.)  However, I did end up using it with them as a required part of the Flat Classroom Project we were taking part in.  Once we started using it, I realized how wonderful this platform is!  Besides being a great way to connect and share with my own students, it was also the perfect platform for connecting with other classrooms around the world!

Atlas, it's time for your bath

There are many teachers on Edmodo who are looking for other classrooms to connect with but don’t know how to find them.  That is why I created the Edmodo Pen Pal project.  Once you join, I will connect you with 3 or 4 other classrooms in different areas so that you can connect with them via Edmodo.  My original idea was to use Edmodo in place of traditional “snail mail” pen pals.  However, once I connect you with the other teachers, you are free to use your creativity to connect in any way that you choose.  Due to the popularity of the project (we had about 170 classrooms sign up for the last round), I cannot lead and/or moderate every group.  One teacher in each small group will contact the other teachers involved and talk to them about creating the Edmodo group and brainstorming ideas for what the children should be sharing.  All teachers are responsible for moderating the comments left by their own students and the other students in their small group.

How do I join? Visit the Global Classroom Project wiki page for project goals, guidelines and a sign up form.  This project is appropriate for children ages 7 – 18.  I will place classrooms into groups by age level.  We run 2 rounds of this project each year.  Round 1 will start in the Sept/Oct time frame and Round 2 will start in February/March.  If you are new to Edmodo, this is a great project to get you started as you will be given support from other teachers in your group who have used it before.

Questions? – You can reach me via Twitter at @MrsSchmidtB4 or by email in the K-3 Directory of registered Global Classroom Project members.  Have fun connecting!

 

Photo credit: woodleywonderworks via Flickrcc

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Edmodo Pen Pal Project – Round 2

Edmodo is an excellent platform for creating connections between classrooms in different parts of the world.  In the past, I’ve always had “snail mail” pen pals for my 3rd grade students, but once I found Edmodo, I realized it was the perfect place for online pen pals.  So last year I created the Edmodo Pen Pal Project for the Global Classroom Project.

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How Does It Work?  Classrooms are grouped into age appropriate clusters of 4/5.  The teachers of those students will create an Edmodo group for that cluster and take turns providing discussion topics for the children.  Sample topics might include favorite foods, holidays, school subjects, free time activities, sports, etc.  Upper grades might discuss current events or topics for a certain historical event.  Teachers in a cluster may decide to put students into small groups for a book discussion or to collaborate on a writing project.

Join Now! The next round of the Edmodo Pen Pal Project will begin in February and run until about May.  It is appropriate for students ages 7 to 18 and will help students learn to respect and appreciate the opinions, cultures and customs of others.  To get more information and sign up visit the WIKI page.

Edmodo Pen Pal Project

Last year many Global Classroom members enjoyed having their students take part in the Edmodo Pen Pal Project.  Edmodo is a social network that allows teachers to create closed groups for their students.  It looks very much like Facebook, but students need a code from the teacher to access the group.  If you have never used Edmodo, go to their website (Edmodo.com) and click on the video link at the bottom of the page to see it in action.

Due to the suggestions of last years’ members, the project will run a bit differently this year.  Last year we had 3 large groups with 200 plus members in each.  Some of the teacher and students felt overwhelmed with that many members and said they couldn’t connect with any one class.  I also had a hard time keeping up with the moderation of comments on such large groups.  So this year, we will run the project a bit like the Quad Blogging sign ups.  Once teachers sign up, I will group them into clusters of 4 schools with similar age groups.  An Edmodo group will be created for each cluster and the 4 teachers in the group will be responsible for signing up their students, deciding on the chat topics, and moderating their own Edmodo group.  There are sample chat topics listed on the wiki page and I would really love it if teachers would add on more ideas.  The chat topic should be changed either biweekly or monthly and each class should try to get in and chat a few times a month at the very least.  If you don’t think your class can commit to that, then please don’t sign up.  It is not fair to the other students/teachers taking part when one class doesn’t follow through.

Feel free to get creative with your pen pal cluster.  Last year Kimberley Rivett and I used an Edmodo group in conjunction with a Flat Stanley Exchange.  We paired up students in my class with students in her class and had them exchange Flat Stanley’s and letters by mail.  We then created an Edmodo group and put the children into smaller sub-groups of 6 children where they chatted to learn more about each other, their schools, countries, hobbies, and more.  At the end of the year, my class came in at night to meet her students in a live Skype.  It was an exciting connection that the children (and teachers) won’t soon forget!

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Teachers who are interested in having their students take part, can sign up on the Edmodo Pen Pal wiki page.  I will do my best to connect classes in different parts of the world.  We will have 2 rounds of sign-ups for this project.  Round 1 will start now and go into January and Round 2 will go from February to May to accommodate the schools in Australia and New Zealand who will be going on summer holiday in about 5-6 weeks.  As always, I will be on hand to answer questions and help anyone who is new to Edmodo or the Global Classroom.  You can contact me on Twitter at @MrsSchmidtB4 or by email in the K-3 Global Classroom Directory.

I hope you are as excited as I am to get this project into gear.  My students had a lot of fun and learned so much from the other project members last year.  It opened their eyes to other parts of the world and made them appreciate the opinions, cultures and customs of others.  Can’t wait to see where this year’s project takes us!

Fun Times with Flat Stanleys from New Zealand

Tina Schmidt (@MrsSchmidtB4) and her 3rd graders in Pennsylvania, United States LOVE making Global Connections. Here is an excerpt from Mrs Schmidt’s blog:

Last Spring my students and I participated in the Flat Classroom “A Week in the Life” Project.  It was an amazing experience for us to work with students and teachers from 4 different countries.  After that, I made it my goal to continue flattening my classroom walls and providing my students the opportunity to reach out and connect with students around the world.  

This year I began doing that with our Flat Stanley project.   We joined the Global Read Aloud to share our predictions, book chats, stories we wrote, etc.  We then wanted to make our own paper Stanley’s to mail out.  Instead of just sending Stanley’s within the USA, I went on a mission to find classrooms outside of our country to do exchanges with us.  

With the help of the Global Classroom Project, I was able to locate classrooms in Canada, New Zealand, and Romania to get us started.  What was so incredible was how quickly a few of those teachers jumped on board to create wikis for us to share photos, videos, maps, and information about our countries.  In Edmodo, we are able to have discussions with some of them too.  

Far away places like Calgary, Auckland, and Bucharest became real for us as we saw their photos, heard their voices and chatted with them.  What was eye opening to the children was not only our differences but our many similarities too.  We love watching the videos to see their classrooms and hear the differences in their voices!  We had to make 2 sets of  paper Flat Stanley’s because we were so excited to get started and didn’t want to wait.

We are not just exchanging paper dolls, we are exchanging culture and customs. Technology has allowed us to become friends with people on the other side of the world.  I get just as excited as my students do when we find some new information on one of the wikis.  I had to wait until I was in my 40′s to make these connections.  I wonder if my students realize how lucky they are to be having these experiences now.

Hopefully, by exposing the children to different cultures this early in their lives, it will lead to a life of acceptance and respect for other people and their countries.  After all, it is our differences that make us unique and special.  If the world were full of the same person, it would be a very dull place.

Please check out the links below to visit our wikis and see the learning and sharing that is taking place.

New Zealand Wiki

Romania Wiki

Click on the image below to view our video:

Click on the image below to see our PhotoPeach album: