Monday, November 16, 2015

One Amazing #GRA15 Comes to an End

It has been an incredible six weeks at DPMS while participating in this year's Global Read Aloud Project. Together with Literacy Coach, Peggy Rohan, I was fortunate to work weekly with a group of 7th grade students who elected to read Fish by L.S. Matthews in addition to their regular ELA class work.  During our six weeks together, we partnered with 7th graders from Tosorontio Central Public School in Everett, Ontario, Canada.  In addition to meeting via Facetime to discuss Fish, we also exchanged hand-written letters, emails, and iMovie videos.  It is always fascinating to learn more about how other kids live in different parts of the world.  More often than not (as was the case here), we find out that we have more in common with them than we even realized.

In addition to our partnership with Tosorontio students, we were also able to connect with schools from Arizona and Merton, WI through a group chat via Voxer. Voxer is a free messaging service that connects users through voice, photo, and text messaging.  Students in our group asked and responded to various questions about Fish throughout our six weeks.  As a culmination to our connection, we were able to Google Hangout with Mrs. Jones' fifth grade students from Merton, WI. During our session, we shared a bit about our respective cities and asked and answered questions about Fish.  We especially enjoyed discussing some of the more intriguing aspects of Fish as a whole such as What gender do you think Tiger is? (The author never states this) and Why do you think that the guide left so suddenly without saying goodbye?  There were so many questions that L.S. Matthews left for reader interpretation, and great discussion happened as a result.

5th grade students from Mrs. Jones' class in Merton, WI

Our last Fish Global Read Aloud connection occurred with the author herself.  Through Twitter, we were able to reach the author @LauraDron (her real name) directly in an attempt to find answers to our remaining burning questions.  She responded to us almost immediately! See our conversations with her in the screenshots below.

Overall we had an absolutely outstanding GRA experience.  A special shout out and thank you goes to Pernille Ripp for her tireless coordination and organization of this project.  As a result of her vision and dedication, we are so lucky to have this opportunity to connect with other students from across the globe to celebrate literacy and learning.  


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