Saturday, September 27, 2014

Celebrating International Dot Day All Week Long...

We had an amazing week in the Learning Center celebrating International Dot Day during the week of September 15 - 19. We connected with schools in eleven states and one province in Canada: Alabama, Georgia, California, Colorado, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and Ontario.

It all started with this diminutive book The Dot, by Peter H. Reynolds. 
Dot Cover
Now schools worldwide celebrate this book and its powerful message on and around September 15th.

We have celebrated Dot Day before but only within the walls of our school. This year I was able to connect with librarians and teachers all over the U.S. and Canada as we compared our schedules and made plans to coordinate our classes.

~ ~ Monday ~ ~

On Monday we connected with 5 different classes in four schools. Mrs. Rotach's 1st Grade class connected with Mrs. Sheahin's 4th Grade class at Flower Hill Elementary School in Gaithersburg, Maryland. As did Mrs. Yandell's 2nd graders connect with Mrs. Ibrahim's 1st graders at Flower Hill. All thanks to their librarian, Melissa McDonald, who collaborated with me to coordinate our visits. 
Flower Hill Elementary School, Gaithersburg, Maryland

Melissa McDonald mentions our school in her blog posting about her Dot Day connections. Click here to see her pictures and to read more.

Mrs. Tracy's 1st grade class connected with Mrs. Williams' class at Willard School in Shapleigh, Maine.

Ms. Rowley's kindergartners skyped with Mrs. Hilgenkamp's Kindergarten students from Prairie Hill Elementary in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Mrs. Day's kindergartners skyped with Art teacher, Kimberly Sunkel, and her kindergarten class at Morton Ranch Elementary School in Katy, Texas.

~ ~ Tuesday ~ ~

Mrs. Thayer's 2nd grade students connected on Tuesday morning with Mrs. Halici's 4th graders at Flower Hill Elementary School in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Mrs. Meehan's 2nd graders skyped with Mrs. Bohan's 1st graders. Their teacher librarian, Melissa McDonald, worked with me to coordinate our visits. It was fun to compare how far apart our two schools are; it would take longer than the school day to drive there.
Flower Hill Elementary School, Gaithersburg, Maryland

Mrs. McDonald read Press Here, a fun interactive book by Herve Tullet to Mrs. Meehan's class. Here they are moving and grooving:

Mrs. Snedeker's 1st grade class got to skype with another 1st grade class in their library with Teacher Librarian Tobey Rhodes in Woodruff, South Carolina. We noticed their accents sounded different from ours.
Woodruff Primary School in Woodruff, South Carolina

Our next video chat took us all the way out to Parker, Colorado, just outside of Denver, at Pine Grove Elementary. Mrs. Synnott's K-students met another kindergarten class, with the help of Kimmarie Lee and Mrs. Tuggle.
Pine Grove Elementary School in Denver, Colorado

Mrs. McNeish's kindergarten class connected with Angie Harrison's K-class at Lake Wilcox Public School, in Keswick, Ontario, north of Toronto.
Lake Wilcox Public School in Keswick, Ontario

Mrs. Seligman's 1st grade class got to skype with Karen Gelles' 1st graders way south at Bear Creek Elementary in Euless, Texas. We discovered that they were having really hot weather, while we had had frost at the beginning of the week. 

Bear Creek Elementary School in Euless, Texas

~ ~ Wednesday ~ ~

Mrs. Waldo's kindergarten enjoyed connecting with Mrs. Synthia Howell's kindergartners at Julian Newman Elementary in Athens, Alabama. We read The Dot together and asked each other questions about our schools.

Julian Newman Elementary School in Athens, Alabama

Nicole Czarnecki's 2nd grade class from Valley Road Elementary School in Clark, New Jersey, skyped with Mrs. Varricchione's 2nd graders. We were having a great visit but unfortunately the internet connection in our school hiccuped and we lost the connection. When we reestablished contact we could no longer hear them so we ended up having to say goodbye.

~ ~ Thursday ~ ~

Ms. Badore's 2nd graders got to connect with Jennifer Reed's 2nd grade class in their library at Mason-Rice Elementary School in Newton, Massachusetts. We noticed they used a cordless microphone which really made it easier for children to have a turn speaking. I think we could hear them better that way, too! Mrs. Reed and I took turns reading The Dot.
Mason-Rice Elementary School in Newton, Massachusetts
Jennifer Reed reading to her class - our class is on the screen
You can read teacher-librarian Jennifer Reed's post about Dot Day week by clicking here.

Mrs. Robbins' 2nd graders did a Google Hangout with Melissa McDonald and a 1st grade class in her library at Flower Hill Elementary School in Gaithersburg, Maryland. They shared some of their dot artwork and we did too. They also shared pictures of some of their state symbols. We learned their school has a mascot, a falcon!
Flower Hill Elementary School, Gaithersburg, Maryland

Our North Carolina skype partners came from Copeland Elementary School in Dobson, with Rebecca Bennett's 4th grade class video chatting with Sonia Clark's kindergartners.
Copeland Elementary School, Dobson, North Carolina

Gail Heppner's kindergartners had already had some previous experience doing a group skype when they connected with Vanessa Lugo Acevedo's kindergarten class at Fairmont Elementary School in Denver, Colorado.
DCIS at Fairmont Elementary School, Denver, Colorado

~ ~ Friday ~ ~

Mrs. Pariseau's 1st graders connected with Mrs. McDonald's 4th graders, while Mrs. Epstein's 2nd graders got to cyber-visit with Mrs. McDonald's 1st graders, each time in the library at Flower Hill Elementary School in Gaithersburg, Maryland. We shared this map so everyone could see how far apart we are. They are really close to Washington D.C. so it's quite easy to go there for a visit. Lucky them!
Flower Hill Elementary School, Gaithersburg, Maryland

Mrs. Acanfora's class had to wait a full week to reconnect with their skype partner, due to a miscommunication. We did get to speak to Mrs. Rhodes, the librarian, but we had just missed the children. So, on Friday the 26th we returned once again to Woodruff Primary School to skype with Tobey Rhodes and a first grade class in her library in Woodruff, South Carolina. This time we had an opportunity to ask each other questions to compare our two schools. Students took turns speaking in front of the camera, saying their name, and asking a question of the other school. We learned that they are exactly the same grade levels as EES, including 3 year old and 4 year old preschools, but they have more than 850 students in their school. Their kindergarten classes typically have 30 students each, with one teacher, one assistant, and one half-day assistant. That is very different from how it is in our school. This first grade class had 25 students in it. Together we looked at the map showing the distance between our two schools.
Woodruff Primary School in Woodruff, South Carolina

And, now for something completely different, Mrs. Ayers' 1st graders skyped with Andy Plemmons' students at Barrow Elementary School in Athens, Georgia for a little pirate talk to celebrate Talk Like a Pirate Day. Andy and I took turns reading No Pirates Allowed, Said Library Lou by Rhonda Gowler-Greene. Andy was decked out in full pirate regalia! We also compared the weather in our two states, and discovered that they have Krispy Kreme donut stores in their area while we do not. That Friday the Krispy Kreme stores were giving a dozen donuts free to anyone who came in to the store wearing a pirate costume, in honor of Talk Like a Pirate Day. Read more of what Andy Plemmons wrote about by clicking here.
David C. Barrow Elementary School in Athens, Georgia

Heather Jensen and her 2nd graders skyped with Mrs. Joecks' 2nd graders near the end of our day, but because of the time difference we learned they hadn't reached lunchtime yet. Their school is in Oxnard, California, 3 hours earlier than us. They reported that sometimes they can smell the smoke of the wildfires and sometimes ash falls out of the sky where they are. Their state is so big, they told us that it can take around 14 hours to drive from one end to the other, north to south. That's huge!

St.John's Lutheran School in Oxnard, California

This was a powerful experience for our children. A week later they were able to recall many details of our cyber-visits, more than I could! 

A huge thank you to all my Dot connections. I could not have done this without you!

  • Synthia Howell of Julian Newman Elementary School, Athens, Alabama
  • Heather Jensen and Lorie Hochberg of St. John's Lutheran School, Oxnard, California
  • Kimmarie Lee and Theresa Tuggle of Pine Grove Elementary School, Parker, Colorado
  • Vanessa Lugo Acevedo of DCIS at Fairmont Elementary School, Denver, Colorado
  • Andy Plemmons of Barrow Elementary School, Athens, Georgia
  • Alyssa Calhoun of Prairie Hill Elementary, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
  • Julie Williams of Willard Elementary School, Shapleigh, Maine
  • Melissa McDonald of Flower Hill Elementary School, Gaithersburg, Maryland
  • Jennifer Reed of Mason-Rice Elementary School, Newton, Massachusetts
  • Angie Harrison of Lake Wilcox Public School, Keswick, Ontario, Canada
  • Nicole Czarnecki of Valley Road Elementary School, Clark, New Jersey
  • Rebecca Bennett of Copeland Elementary School, Dobson, North Carolina
  • Tobey Rhodes of Woodruff Primary School, Woodruff, South Carolina
  • Kimberly Sunkel and Nidia Casillas of Morton Ranch Elementary School, Katy, Texas
  • Karen Gelles of Bear Creek Elementary School, Euless, Texas

I am excited to celebrate Dot Day again next year, but I won't wait that long before I connect with other classrooms around the world. 

No comments :

Post a Comment