There are so many great programs out there that can help your class build skills, develop ideas, and connect them to others around the world. See if one of these programs would fit into your year. I'd like to try a few of these this year.
International Dot Day - September 15th
What International Dot Day is about:
It would be cool to have a Community Dot Wall, as well. We could invite the mayor, John, our crossing guard, John Cavers...he might even take a picture for the Cosmos..., past principals or vice-principals, staff at Blue Heron Books, Derek, our bird-box man, SCC members, Pizza people, Lunch Room Supervisors & anyone who is involved in Quaker in some way.
If anyone is interested, I'll sign up our school and put together the media to share our mark!
Global Read Aloud - Starts October 6th
Pernille Ripp states it best in her explanation of the program:
Mystery Skype - Where In The World?
Skype An Author
One great advantage of this, and I'm sure there are others, is that you can connect with authors either for free, with purchase and promotion of their books, or for a lesser charge, due to the lack of travel time. Imagine bringing the author you are reading or studying right into your classroom. How exciting! How empowering!
Robert Paul Weston, author of Zorgamazoo and Dust City, was at our school a couple years ago and I still can't keep his books on the library shelves. He has a new book out this year, Creature Department, and when communicating with him on Twitter this year he told me he moved to England, so travel costs might be a bit much, but that he would Skype with us. The opportunity is there!
Kate Messner, author and teacher, has lots of advice on skyping with authors. You can check out her articles Met Any Good Authors Lately? and An Author in Every Classroom: Kids Connecting with Authors Via Skype in School Library Journal if you would like more detailed information.
World Read Aloud Day - March 4th, 2015
We can use it to provide a window to literacy rates and the lives of children around the world and give our students the chance to figure out the importance of education. Reading from sections ofI Am Malala might be a good resource for that day or you could visit the Malala Fund to find statistics on girls and literacy or read the English translation of her original blog.
Another important aspect of World Read Aloud Day is the power of reading aloud to promote and gain literacy. If you have ever read Jim Trelease's Read Aloud Handbook, you already know. If you haven't you should read it or just check out some of the amazing benefits that arise from reading aloud to children. Here's a snippet from his book:
I believe this week will be a great week for our Page-a-thons! Perhaps we can incorporate a fund raising aspect into it to support Lit World or the Malala Fund.
So many ways to connect! Let me know if you are interested in trying out one of these programs or you already have. I'll be honest! I haven't and am excited about the possibilities!
Also, let me know if you know another great program I've missed. I know there are many more!