I have used Skype in the Classroom for years and love the opportunities it provides teachers and learners. Recently, I came across Skype in the Classroom's 2018-2019 calendar. Each month has a specific focus and I love that February will be focused on literacy!
You can even download Classroom Bingo cards for your students to keep track of their experiences!
A few ways I have used Skype to connect students with other classrooms (Mystery Skype, Mystery Number, Mystery Reader, Poetry Slam), to bring in authors (Caroline Starr Rose, Irene Latham, Jonathan London); experts (Rick Swartz); and special guests (Scott Hamilton, Al Roker, Willie Geist, Jonathan Tait, and several other Olympians); and support a building-wide book study (Dave Burgess). If you haven't used Skype in the Classroom, I highly recommend you give it a try! By taking time to breakdown the walls of your classroom, you'll be providing students with learning opportunities and authentic audiences.
If you would like support, don't hesitate to reach out.
In my last post about classroom activities, which unfortunately came quite awhile ago, I shared how I have used Skype to bring experts into my classroom. Today, I would like to share another way you can use Skype specifically in Social Studies: Mystery Skype! During a Mystery Skype, classes ask yes/no questions aimed at narrowing down the partnering class's location. As the answers come in, students cross out the eliminated states until they finally end up with one state. From there, clues are given to identify the town the school is located in.
Sample Questions (taken from the class we did our first Mystery Skype with)
1. Are you in the United States
2. Are you west of the Mississippi River
3. Are you in the ___________ region
4. Is your state larger than Illinois in total area
5. Do you border a body of water
6. Do you border another country
7. Is there an NFL team in your state
8. Is your state's population greater than 5 million
9. Does your state border more than 5 states
10. Is your capital ______________
11. Is your state ___________
Students, teachers, and administrators alike all enjoy and see the benefits of Mystery Skype. It introduces students to peers from around the country, and allows them to learn more about the states than they could from a textbook alone. Students can frequently be heard asking when the next Mystery Skype will occur, which cannot always be heard when talking about other content area learning.
If you are interested in setting up a Mystery Skype for your class there are a few avenues you can pursue. First, if you are not on twitter, you need to sign up! Twitter is an invaluable PLN where you can connect with teachers around the world. On Twitter, follow #mysteryskype and you will find hundreds of teachers ready to connect. Second, sign up for Skype in education, a fabulous website that not only connects you with classroom and experts, but has a dedicated Mystery Skype section as well.
I encourage you to give Mystery Skypes a try! You will not regret it, and your students will have a blast!
Chances are you've heard of Skype, and perhaps have even used the technology to keep in touch with friends or family. Well, have you ever thought of bringing that tool into your classroom? Video conferencing and collaborating through Skype opens doors and opportunities to your students. Skype in Education's website is full of teachers and experts looking for classes to join lessons and activities, all you need to do is sign up for an account, search and join already created lessons or post your own.
This week our 5th grades welcomed two poets into our classrooms. Irene Latham kicked off our poetry study and answered student questions. The kids loved visiting with a published poet, and Irene offered to have students send her their poetry for feedback! Another amazing thing Irene did was sending each student a personalized, autographed bookmark. Our second poet was Caroline Starr Rose, who shared poems from her book May B, answered student interview questions, and encouraged students to go for their dreams. Both Skype sessions were enthralling, and we look forward to many more as they year continues.
I encourage you to try Skype, whether it is to welcome a mystery reader, an author, science expert, or partner classroom, and explore the Skype in Education website as well. Your students will love the experience, collaboration and access to new information it provides!