Yesterday was World Read Aloud Day. I am sure that like me, you saw Social Media loaded up with tons of pictures of kids, authors, teachers, grandparents, principals (Thank you, Mr. Kinney), and even superintendents reading to children! 🙂 (Thanks, Dr. Ryan!) What an amazing day it was! We owe it to our children to read them stories that interest them, use the funny voices, and make it exciting.
My principal friend, Matthew Arend, reached out on Twitter for people to connect with his school and discuss The Most Magnificent Thing. You can read about this awesome experience here. We were able to connect 7 classes from O.C. Taylor and a few more even have plans to do so this Friday!! So many very cool things happened.
Here are some of the things we learned:
1. Plano is NOT in another country.
2. They like to read and we do too!
3. We read the same exact book and got to talk about it!
4. We brainstormed Magnificent Adjectives for a richer vocabulary.
5. Both schools had kids who want to be professional soccer players!
6. Both schools set goals!
7. Both schools reflected on their learning!
8. We HAVE to do this again!!
9. We, as teachers, felt like we made new friends. Instant connections with like-minded people. (Just think, we are only down the road from each other and all it took was reaching out to say, “Hey, want to talk about a book?”)
As wonderful as it was seeing all the people read aloud, discuss books, and knowing that our children are blessed with this every single day, what stood out to me was something else.
It was the look of absolute amazement on the faces of the children simply from connecting with other kids less than hour away! This small thing amazed them! Do you know how much time that took on the teacher’s part? Not very much. Do you know how much meaningful learning happened in the short amount of time? A bunch!
I was lucky to guide a 3rd grade class, and be part of a 1st grade class during their Google Hangout. During the hangout with the 1st graders, they had a group of “tweeters” who were responding to Q1/A1 format questions. FIRST GRADERS, friends! This can happen. They had clearly been guided and practiced with their amazing teacher, Mrs. Tiffani Griffard!
On the side screen I had Tweetdeck open with our school hashtag, WRAD hashtag, and the other school’s hashtag where the responses were going. I thought I would sit by them while they typed and just be there to help, if needed. Well, let me tell you….was not needed, nor did they want my help! Then, I showed them the screen when their tweet went live. Oh. My. Goodness. The smiles spread across their faces like they had just met a superhero! They were so proud and so amazed! THAT….was my favorite part. THAT is why I love what I do. Seeing children get so excited about learning and the possibilities.
It really shows that something we may not think twice about (connecting w/Google Hangout, blogging with other classes, tweeting responses) can excite these kids and make learning more meaningful for them! They need to be connected learners, just like we do!
I am most excited about the fact that my special friends who reached out and did this with their classes, whether or not they had done this before in some way, have ALL expressed interest in continuing this. Some even have teammates who didn’t get to do it, but have said they want a class as well!! For me, that makes my heart scream with happiness because that means more kids will engage in meaningful learning! More kids will CONNECT to inspire and be inspired!
Connecting kids, Building Relationships, Creating Friendships….one day at a time.
Put yourself out there. Take the risk. Try it. You won’t want to stop, I promise!