I use Skype fairly frequently in my classroom. We talk to and learn from classes in other cities and countries. We have talked to “experts” who were willing to help us learn. We have done reader’s theatre with a class of first graders in Alabama. We have even Skyped into workshops in far away places to tell teachers how we use Skype in our classroom. Last fall, one of my student’s parents was unable to be present for our student/parent/teacher conference, so she joined us via Skype.
This week we had a very special day in our classroom. Our “big” blogging buddies from the University of Regina drove to Moose Jaw to meet us. These big buddies have been commenting on my student’s blogs since January, so my students had been anticipating the day for a long time. Unfortunately, on the day of the big event, two of my students had chicken pox. I called both parents to see if they would like to use Skype so that their child would not have to miss out on the party. One child was unable to participate, but the other parent gamely downloaded Skype and gave it a try.
The experiment was a success! The buddies kept a running commentary going as they drew the student, and held up the laptop so that he could see what was going on in the classroom. Later, when Patrick Lewis told us the story of the Wide Mouthed Frog, one of the buddies held the laptop in her lap so that he could see what was happening.
After it was over, his mom sent me a Skype chat that said, “he thought it was pretty cool to see his buddies AND his classmates on Skype! I will have him blog about his experience this week. Thank you so much for giving him the opportunity to participate today.” She later told me that they were now using Skype in the evenings to talk to his father, who works in another city. I decided it had been a success!
Later in the week, I had this conversation with Carson in the Skype chat:
Carson: hi misis Cassidy I rily mis you frum your stodint Carson
Me: I really miss you, too, Carson. I think Dalton misses you, too. You can read about it on his blog. There are 8 students in our class who are sick now!
Carson: dus Dolton achaly have fethrs? hehehehee that is funy
Me: I don’t know. We’ll have to see when he gets back.
Meaningful literacy. Writing, reading and responding to text from your classmates. Even when you are sick at home with the chicken pox. Now that is definitely a success.