Tuesday, February 4, 2014

New Quadblogging Partners

I remember when I was a little girl I had a pen pal in Singapore.  Occasionally I would write to her. By the time I got a return letter in the mail I couldn't remember what my letter was about in the first place.  My apologies for sounding like a broken record, but I can't believe the opportunities technology continues to give my students (especially when it comes to communicating with students in other countries).

During the past week my class was able to Facetime with grandparents of one of my students who were visiting Israel.  After the stories about their day and showing us the scenery from their hotel, I couldn't help but be in awe. Some of you remember the stories from parents or grandparents telling of their childhood.  The story always ended with walking to school (through snow, up hill). We always laugh when we hear those stories. My stories will include sending letters through the mail.  Now, we send electronic letters and connect using Facetime, Skype or Google Hangout. Amazing!

Throughout this school year I've been looking for ways to encourage my students to write and searching for an audience.  Over Christmas break I stumbled upon Quadblogging.  I was intrigued and started researching.  It almost seemed too simple to get involved.  I could not fathom how easy it would be to give my students the opportunity to share their writing with other students their age.  Before technology, communicating with other classrooms all over the world was not even possible.

After questioning some of my 4th grade friends that I met through the power of Twitter and hearing their encouraging words, I decided to jump in and get involved. Sunday evening when most Americans were excited to be watching the biggest football game of the year, I was extremely excited to receive a Twitter message that our Quadblogging assignment had been made.  I'm also honored to be the coordinator of our group, #Quad2.

Now for the "super bowl" of excitement...our Quadblogging classes are located in the United Kingdom and New Zealand.  I've added a link below to each of their blogs along with a picture of their flag.

How does Quadblogging work?  One classroom will blog each week while the other 3 classrooms comment on the blog.  The classrooms rotate through a cycle of blogging and commenting. Students have the opportunity to share their work globally while receiving feedback from peers. If you would like more information or would like to become a Quadblogger please visit their website.

Yesterday my class used their National Geographic World Atlas app to research the location of Whangarei, New Zealand.  We learned that New Zealand is located off the coast of Australia and consists of two large islands.  Whangarei is located on the north island.

As I continue to reflect on the places technology has taken our class this year, I can't help but wonder what the excitement will be next year as I sit and watch the Super Bowl game. Where will modern technology lead our class next? I can't wait to find may be way more exciting than the Super Bowl.

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