Sunday, November 4, 2012

Connecting the Dots

Students from University of Saint Joseph, West Hartford, Connecticut, in the course Computers in the Classroom, linked up with 5th graders from the Longfellow Elementary School, Columbia, Maryland, in celebration of International Dot Day. This day, celebrated on Sept. 15, is a way for students from around the world to connect.

Matthew Winner, the librarian at Longfellow, reached out to teachers, via Twitter and other means. He posted on his blog, The Busy Librarian, numerous ways to celebrate. These two posts are examples:
That's the project University of Saint Joseph student joined, linking up with fifth graders at Longfellow. The Longfellow students began by designing trading cards. Their cards were based on the book The Dot by Peter Reynolds in which a young child, afraid to be expressive, learns to open up and shares a dot that she has drawn, challenging others to make their mark on the world.

On the front side of the cards, the fifth graders draw a dot. On the back, they wrote an invitation challenging others. On a rainy Tuesday morning, the students Skyped with me, displaying their cards. Mr. Winner then mailed the cards to me to share with the Saint Joseph students, who designed their trading cards. The cards from both groups were organized into a final project, as captured in these two displays.

Reactions to this Dot Day project are welcomed. What ideas do you have for connecting classes? What are the benefits of International Dot Day? What other days or events lend themselves to cross-class sharing?


Christina N said...

I thought that the International Dot Day was a terrific idea! The benefits of having International Dot day are the connections that students can make with people outside of their classroom. Having these skypes like International Dot Day or Mystery Skypes can broaden a student's background knowledge because student's can be opened to places and people they may have never interacted with.

Christina R. said...

The presentation of the students work and our work was great! Thanks for putting that together. It was really great!
I think International Dot Day was a great idea for collaboration with other classes in another state. Having a Skype about it only enriches the project because the students can make connections across the state or country.
Starting with Dot Day in the beginning of the school year can be a great stepping stone for further Skypes with the class as well as other classes and to do other fun global projects.

Brianna said...

I wish I had gotten my class to contribute! We are now in our groove and they would love to be a project like this. I do like the Animoto. The music is just enough that it doesn't take away from the messages. It would be interesting to include the student's pictures with their messages!

Christina R. said...

I love the Dot Letter Project Mr. Winner did with his students. It is a great project I can share with my elementary colleagues as well as adapt a version for my grade level. Very Cool!

Felicia's Blog said...

The Animoto looks great. I didn't think to extend the dot Day project we did in our program past September 15th. I think it is a relatively easy project for both students and teachers, and it's still a great way to get kids to connect with other kids from different cities, cultures or countries. I think the basic idea that kids across the globe are celebrating International Dot Day also makes them feel like they are a part of something bigger than just the normal things they study in their curriculum. I don't think kids realize that other 1st graders are learning about rectangular prisms in their classrooms too. This project can be used as an ice breaker in getting students to explore their world outside of their classroom, home and school.

Danielle N. said...

Dot Day is such a cool idea and I really love the positive message it sends kids about making their mark and seeing where it takes them. We have now seen a few different ways that classrooms connected through Dot Day, and each one was so unique. I can picture kids getting really excited to hear from other kids around the world, and I think this would be a great tradition to start with all classes in a school so that kids have it to look forward to each year. Another great way for schools/students to connect may be through Dr. Seuss Read Across America Day (I think it's in January?). Maybe kids could do something similar but recommend great books, authors, genres, series, etc.

I also really liked seeing the same content in 2 different formats (Animoto & Slideshare), side by side, so I could compare and contrast. The Animoto to me was more engaging because of the panning/animation & music, although the Slideshare was also engaging through use of text and photos/images. I found the Animoto a bit hard to read at times (some words were covered and then uncovered) but overall I really like both presentaion tools!

Mary Beth Cadieux said...

I think these presentations came out great! I was especially fond on the Animoto, because of the messages. The powerpoint was also good in that the dot pictures were certainly showcased. Did you get a reaction from the 5th grade class at all?

Matthew C. Winner said...

Hi! Can I just say that it's so sweet to read all of your reactions to our Dot Day project! I'm so thankful that ripples are still traveling out from our connection in September. The students are now deep into other projects, but have been overwhelmed to see Dot Day cards and messages return to their classes (when do they EVER get chances like these to see how their work matters to other people?).

Those of you looking to jump into similar projects can keep in mind that November is National Picture Book Month, Read Across America is a HUGE celebration, and their are countless other ways to connect classes and make an impact throughout the school year. If your class is looking for a sister school to make an impact, consider us at Longfellow Elementary. I'm always looking for new ways to engage my students in the world at large.


- Matthew C. Winner

Rachael D said...

I love the idea of Dot Day! It's a great way to connect with classrooms outside of your own on a common theme. This animoto is also a really nice way to showcase the trading cards, I loved it!