Thursday, February 26, 2009

Read Around the Planet Video Conference

Today, despite the -44 Celsius degree temperatures in Pelican Narrows, the Gr. 7.1's connected with their reading partners to celebrate Dr. Seuss's birthday. This was our first live chat with our partners , although the teachers and students have been communicating somewhat via this blog and with emails between teachers prior to today. By the way , their temperature was +44 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Gr. 6 students from Roseville did a great job with their charades which depicted three of their favorite scenes from the novel "Julie and the Wolves". We managed to guess 2 out of 3 charades correctly- one depicted the first caribou kill by the wolves and they guessed our enactments of the 'belly basket scene and the 'Amaroq ignores Julie' scene.
The Roseville students also gave us directions on how to draw a car/truck seeing as they reside near the 'car capital of North America- Detroit'. They did very well in our Cree language lesson and it seemed like they were eager to guess our Cree words and offer their English translation. They pronounced 'tiniki' and 'tansi' like true Woodland Cree speakers.

The trickier part of the session was guessing their favorite animals as their choices ranged from alpacas ,ferrets,monkeys, chinchillas to penguins. They did a great job researching the facts and they even had illustrations/photos to show us.

Our clues for our favorite living thing were as follows: 'has red eyes, is black, has 2 feet located at the rear of their body, is a great swimmer,eats fish and spears them. We tried our best to demonstrate the call that these 'fowl' make. Do you know what our favorite bird is? Hint #1: One of our coins is has a picture of it on one side. Hint #2: The coin is yellow and is worth half our Twoonie.

My students thought it was important that we give a clue like the call because all animals and birds communicate in unique ways and here in the North , people need to learn to imitate these calls because that is one way to attract the animal or bird to within reasonable distance for hunting/eating/survival purposes. Our favorite bird is not for eating but the Elders say they are good , no great weather and wind indicators depending on the time of day they give their calls out to the world.

We closed off the session with a power point-virtual tour of our community with photos taken by the students. Roseville will email us their power point and we will try to post them here for all to see and enjoy.

I believe that students are teachers and that teachers are students as Mr. Mark Prensky, renowned educator and lecturer speaks of and when we use the tools of technology to highlight students' capabilities and talents, we are using a medium that helps them to engage with others in an immediate and interactive way. Today, both classes of students were quite able and capable of sharing , communicating, collaborating and engaging each other in today's media experience.
Well Done Everyone! Thank-you Mrs. Miglio and students for participating, cooperating and sharing your insights and imagination.

Gr. 7.1 Thoughts about the Video Conferencing Session

"It was so cool to see them in person." C.M.

"I was nervous but after I saw the students, I liked teaching them how to speak our language." A.B.

" It was good to do the acting because it helped us to see what their favorite part of the novel was." A.D.

"It was awesome to be the teachers." J.M.

"I hope we do it again, I'll know what to say next time." D.S.

" I was glad to show them pictures of Pelican, I can't wait to see pictures of where they live." M.B.

" It was unbelievable!" D.H.

" Those students were so tall and big. They looked like they were in Gr. 8." S.M.*

*This comment initiated a conversation that lead to diet and genes and DNA in a round about way. We talked about the price of food in the North and how costly it is to buy fresh vegetables, fruit and milk that help children grow into strong,healthy people.

" It was fun to hear them speaking Cree. They were brave to try!"

" I have never done this kind of learning before. I want to do this again soon!" S.M.

"The Gr. Sixers were so brave and were good speakers!" C.M.

"As a result of our great decision to have conversations and make a commitment to join Reading Around the Planet we have connected with a very intelligent group of peers from Michigan. We have new friends-colleagues-collaborators to engage with and we'll continue learning and sharing what we know in further activities/assignments in our next venture, which is to become epals." Cheryl Morin

Learning Challenge

In our upcoming plan to email our partners, think of some questions to ask them about our video conferencing session.
Be sure to let them know what you liked or learned through the video conferencing experience.

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