Sunday, 20 January 2013

Connecting Classrooms

Since our classroom has been involved in the amazing "What Can You See?" project, we continue to look for new ways to interact with the participating classrooms and their educators! In particular, I think we have created a 21st Century version of the "pen pals" tradition! After our class read the "We Can See" book from our friends at Bond Lake Public School, we decided to share compliments through the form of a letter on their blog! If you haven't had a chance to check out their blog, you can click on the following link:

We continue to feel inspired by their classroom happenings, inquiries and daily discoveries and their educators certainly embrace every opportunity to make for meaningful and purposeful learning! We would like to dedicate this post to them and thank them for exploring and communicating with our class through the blogsphere! It has led to some wonderful connections, questions, and new learning!

After reading the response letter from our friends at Bond Lake Public School, our students have enjoyed expanding on their connections, answering their posed questions, and writing a reply!

Dear Bond Lake Public School,

Thank you for the letter. We liked reading about your connections to our book. We liked how you think clouds are fascinating. Thank you for sharing the "fancy" word. We want to answer your questions.

J.S. (SK): We have three teachers. Ms. Schmidt, Ms. Theis and Ms. N. They are all really nice and like to have fun.

S.M.: We have lots of signs because they protect us from danger. We see STOP signs, "bump" signs for bumps on the ground and school crossing signs so cars know when we are walking.

I.D.: We had frogs last year but we do not have any pets this year. We had two frogs and one was big and one was small. We got to feed them.

J.S. (JK): We want to send you our class picture. What do you look like?

R.L.: We know about Ninjagos. They fight into battles because the master tells them when the bad guys make traps.

A.M.: I only know that Ninjagos have swords. They are yellow.

Here are some new questions we have for you:

I.D.: Do you get snow in winter like us?

C.M.: I wonder if your teachers is nice or mean?

A.C.: You have a rabbit. What is its name? What does it eat?

L.D.: Where does your rabbit live?

We want to share what we are learning about with you:

S.M.: We have been making a big cloud. We made raindrops too.

E.S.: We are learning about clouds. We know how they make rain and read a book called "The Falling Raindrop." It taught us about the water cycle. It's cool.

G.B.: We liked being raindrops.

I.D.: We learned that a pumpkin floated in a lot of water. 

R.L.: We did a "Shape Rap." Sphere, Cylinders, Cubes and Cones were in it and we got to wear sunglasses in front of our school at the assembly. We would like to share our video with you.

J.S. (SK): We like magnets because they stick to things. Magnets also don't stick to things. We have fun experimenting. Magnets stick to Ms. Schmidt's boots because they have metal on it.

E.S.: Clouds do all sorts of things. We wonder how they make snow. I think its called a "snow cycle."

Thank you for your letter. We want you to write back more. We drew some pictures for you too. We hope you like them. Thank you for your pictures. They were pretty colours.

This is a bridge. W.F. and R.L. and me made it in the
building and constructing centre. It has a thing that
lifts up and down so boats can go by. - J.S. (SK)

Ms. Schmidt and Ms. Theis' Class from Lorna Jackson Public School. 

Ms. Schmidt and Ms. Theis were also wondering:

What inquiries are you exploring in your classroom? Can you write back and share some of your learning with us?

We hope that you enjoyed this post! We look forward to continuing to connect our classrooms and our learning through this social media and look forward to extending our learning through the use of our "What Can You See?" blogspace!


  1. I love the way your classes have made a connection with another class. I am inspired by the way you have modelled writing stories and questions. This is such a powerful way to teach writing for an audience!
    At the bottom you posed a question about ongoing inquiries. In our class we use the camera to capture many exciting explorations, and then use the photos and movies to create stories. We are currently creating a Voicethread book about our newest inquiry around marbles, mazes, and motion. We are building marble tracks all around our room.
    My class asks: do you ever play with marbles in your class?

  2. Dear Laurel,
    I love the idea of using VoiceThread to capture learning through inquiry over time. Could you share out once completed either here or to me at @gregcollins2010 if you are on twitter?

  3. Hi Laurel,

    I love the idea of an inquiry designed around the topic of marbles, mazes, and motion!

    Sounds very intriguing!!

    Our students used marbles a lot last year. It would be neat to share your inquiry and see if it reignites their interest in using them again.

  4. Hello Greg and Joanne!

    Forgive the late response - I broke my wrist this week so everything I do is suddenly a bit more challenging. On the happy side, my students are very caring and curious about what has happened. I put my x-ray on the overhead in the light and shadow centre and the class bear now has a cast as well.

    Greg, I am on twitter. I'll follow you to leave a trail. I'm also listed here in the participant directory so that people can find me, virtually.
    I haven't yet posted the marble Voicethread as we haven't started added the voices, as it were. I may now, however, so you can watch the process! For now, however, I'll share one from earlier this year, and one I'm still adding to as students come forward with more languages to add to our "We Can Count" book. In fact, I've been showing the counting book during interviews this week, and uncovered two more students willing to share: coming this week, Mongolian and Vietnamese! I'm also teaching my students to count in Ojibwe so we can count to ten together.

    Here's our counting book. Note: this might be the thing I'm proudest of, next to my own kids.

    Here's another from this year:
    This is pre-iPad so the sound is varied: some are very loud!

    I will be sharing more of the pics (the ones that don't show identifying features) on twitter. I created, with the students, a seven-page pic collage story to show our parents our inquiry. They were able to do a gallery walk after interviews. The celery test and the marble stories were family favourites. I loved seeing big brothers and sisters testing out the mazes, too.

  5. Thanks Laurel,
    Love how many languages you represented from your class here. What a way to celebrate the diversity in your room with students teaching each other. Did you receive feedback from parents?
    You have me thinking.