Connecting with students all over the world is possible due to technology. Better yet, there are teachers all over the world that want to connect– and once a PDS teacher has tapped into the stream, there are no limits.
One creative teacher in Wisconsin had a brilliant and simple idea: Why not have students all over the world listen to the same book being read aloud, at the same time in the school year? With that, Pernille Ripp launched the Global Read Aloud (GRA) in 2010. We began participating as a whole middle school last year.
During morning advisory, every group was quiet while each advisor read aloud from this year’s middle school selection, One for the Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt. It’s the story of a twelve year old girl who is placed with a foster family of all boys. We’ll read about a chapter a day for the next month. Sometimes we’ll use advisory for reading and sometimes we’ll use the part of class time. The variation in reading times makes the point that reading is fundamental to all subjects in school, and that we are connecting as a whole middle school community around this novel.
Our connections based on this novel will not just be within our own middle school, however. Students and teachers will connect beyond our school community. Using Twitter, Edmodo sites and Skype, our English classes will participate in an enormous “book group” around the plot and themes of this book. We also plan to schedule a time with the author– virtually! This was a highlight of last year’s GRA– students were able to ask the author about the decisions she made as a writer, using Twitter and TodaysMeet to submit questions on the spot.
In other news today, the frost warnings made us take stock of the courtyard garden. Emma’s eighth grade science class hauled in the plum tomatoes. Students and faculty shared them at lunch today, just a few minutes after they were picked. We still have some green ones on the vine, and one of our gardening experiments to to see how protective the courtyard environment is. Can we harvest tomatoes after Columbus Day?