We all smile in the same LANGUAGE

This post is inspired by the amazing Technology Director at my school, Virginia Glass. I sometimes refer to her as Mrs. Claus because she is the one who provides me with the technological toys, the knowledge and inspiration to use them. She has the ideas and then I get to put them into play. And when I say PLAY, I really mean PLAY! We recently started meeting after school some days for “play dates” so that we can figure out all these incredible 21st century tools we are fortunate enough to possess.

The video above is what I want my next Skype call to look like. Ginni told me to watch it. She said it reminded her of a quote that I have in the end of each of my emails, “We all smile in the same language.” Our world is becoming so connected in so many ways. I love it. My 6th graders talked to teacher Greta Sandler in Argentina on Skype. She was “in” our classroom. When my students are out for a day, we Skype them into our classroom so they don’t miss a thing. We can read what each other have experienced in our daily lives and connect and empathize and discuss online. I am so optimistic that I am hoping technology can bring us to a place of compassion and understanding. Once we make these connections with so many places around the world with Skype, Twitter, Face Book, Wikis, Blogs or which ever social network you are using…maybe, just maybe we can reach that place of peace that so many people have been hoping for. Maybe these connections can help us reach a place of love and non-judgment. What do you all think? I know, I am the eternal optimist. My husband thinks I am naive. 🙂 I LOVE this new world or network where “being here is being there.” Maybe this change won’t happen in my lifetime, but I can hope, right? I can hope that understanding each other’s worlds and lives can help us get there?

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Skype

Skype in the classroom with students who are at home sick!

For the past two days I’ve had two different 7th grade girls absent from my last period Spanish class because they were sick. They were so responsible that they emailed me in the morning to tell me they were sick, but wanted to know what they were missing so they could get their work done. On Monday, the one student and I were instant messaging back and forth on Skype most of the day. I asked her if she was feeling up to it, we could Skype her into class and she could participate. She was so excited (and so was I) so we called her, placed my laptop at her desk where she usually sits, talked to her as if she were really with us, brought her around the classroom as we met with different partners practicing vocabulary words and even played a fly swatter game on the dry erase board with her on the computer. She even had her own fly swatter in hand during the game, was raising her hand to ask questions, and all the while had her dog resting at her side. It was so fun!!! The students loved it and so did I.

We loved it so much that we repeated it all today with another student who had been up all night coughing so her mom had her stay home. We called her. We read in our books with her and translated a story. She worked with a partner as we completed exercises in our books, and at the end of class, we said adios and she did not miss a thing! Skype is so awesome and so are my darling students who truly WANT to BE in class with us and are sorry to miss a day! What a great place I work in! What wonderful little minds I get to sculpt in a new language five days a week!