After learning about weather in Mrs. Winton's science class, Mrs. Winton and I decided that it would be a fun learning experience to have our seventh graders talk about weather with students from different parts of the world. We found two interested classrooms: one in Taiwan and one in North Carolina. We will be skyping with fifth graders in North Carolina next week (and especially looking forward to hearing how Hurricane Sandy affected them), but last Thursday, Mrs. Winton's first hour had the opportunity to talk with a group of Taiwanese students.
We only had 20 minutes of overlapping schedule time. (At 8:10 am our time, it was actually 9:10 pm their time. Yes, they were still in school until 9:30 pm!) We utilized our 20 minutes by beginning with each school sharing some facts about weather in that part of the world and then followed with a question-and-answer session. Questions ranged from weather to favorite foods to our pets. What an amazing experience to talk live with students in a completely different part of the world. Mrs. Winton and I were extremely proud of all students and the respect and professionalism that they displayed.
Twenty minutes just wasn't enough time to ask every question on each end. Due to daylight savings time, we no longer have that short common time available. With a little creativity and use of the great digital tools available, we are able to carry on our conversation through the free website VoiceThread. We created a slideshow with our questions attached to each slide for the other students to answer. The Taiwanese students will add their own answers and questions and share the VoiceThread again with us. Check out what we started below:
New London Middle School students represented us well, and we look forward to talking more with our new friends in Taiwan.