There are many ways to extend learning beyond the four walls of our classrooms. Here are a few ideas.
When we break through the boundary of the four walls of our classroom, we extend the learning beyond what one teacher and one building can achieve. There are many easy ways to reach out and connect with others outside your classroom. Here are my favorites:
Mystery Skype: This program started in 2010. Hundreds of schools have connected across the world using Mystery Skype. In a Mystery Skype students will ask yes and no questions based on location and try to guess where the other class is located. In our school, we’ve done this several different ways. On Dot Day our students created “dots” that reflected where we live. We showed our dots to the class we were connecting with. We limited our questions to 5 and then paused our visit. This gave students time to digest, reflect and consider further questions on location. We connected again to finish our visit.
Mystery Hangout: There are many ways to connect using Google Hangout. There is a G+ community dedicated to connecting classrooms. I suggest the teachers connect in advance of the visit to tailor the questions and focus of the visit for their classrooms. Then, have some fun and watch the learning happen!
Google Expeditions: Talk about instant engagement and smashing classroom walls, this has it all! Students can explore the world without leaving their classroom. The implications for learning that this tool has is endless. I can only suggest getting ahold of a set of Google Expeditions and trying it out! Students can explore everything from the moon and the galaxy to the bottom of the ocean and everything in between! Please note: The noise level in your classroom will rise. It is the pure joy of learning in action! Enjoy it!
Now you can create your OWN Google Expeditions. This is new and in beta, but I can’t wait to see where this will take our learning!!!
Remember to lead with learning, but don’t limit yourself to your building. Smash down those classroom walls and have some fun in the process!