Guest Post – Andi McNair

One of our second grade classes recently had the pleasure of Skyping with Angela Moses and her class at Warren Elementary.  It was so much fun and the kids enjoyed getting to know another class from another district in Texas. Angela messaged me before the Skype session and asked if we wanted the students to backchannel the session using TodaysMeet.  I have used TodaysMeet in my classroom to backchannel while reading aloud and I was very excited about the opportunity to use it again in a new way. Before we began, I went into the 2nd grade classroom and introduced TodaysMeet to the students.  We talked about appropriate conversation and meaningful comments including what was and wasn’t allowed when backchanneling.  Mrs. Craig and I made sure that all of the tablets were set to open TodaysMeet and showed the students how to “talk” and “listen”.  They were very excited and couldn’t wait to get started. Next, it was finally time to connect.  We contacted Angela’s class and started chatting.  The students had several questions for each other including “Where do you live?” and “What is your school mascot?”.  They also wanted to know about the weather, Spring Break, and book fairs.

 When we first began, our students were learning how to comment and respond.  It looked like this…

skype session.PNG

Once the students became comfortable and familiar with the format of the chat, they began to ask questions.  We allowed students to stand and ask verbal questions as well as write questions on the backchannel.

skype session 2.png

 

Our second grade students loved this because they felt like they were texting.  They were so excited and felt so “grown up”.  I loved watching their faces as they would get a response or as they were chosen to ask or answer questions on the Skype call. When we had completed the activity, we were able to look back at the TodaysMeet backchannel and talk about our chat.  If we had more time, we could have used this as an opportunity to discuss punctuation, sentence structure, and so much more. Mrs. Craig was excited about TodaysMeet and how she will be able to use this in her classroom in the future.  She recently decided that she is going to place a tablet on each table while reading their weekly story.  Students will be able to share questions, thoughts, and comments using TodaysMeet as they read.  This was such a fun experience for our students as well as the teachers.  It was exciting to reach outside the walls of the classroom and make new friends.  We can’t wait to chat more with Angela’s class and find new ways to connect with others all over the world.

If you are interested in connecting classrooms using Skype, please feel free to contact myself (@mcnairan3) or Angela Moses (@angelamoses) on Twitter.  We would both be more than willing to connect and learn!

 

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