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Skyping Lisle, Illinois

On Thursday morning last week, two classes, somewhere in the world, pretended it was…

      halloween!

Our class and Mrs Sutton’s class in Lisle, Illinois, got together on Thursday 30th October, 9.30am for an amazing Skype session! Well actually, for our buddies in Illinois, it was Wednesday 29th October, 6pm! All our buddies had to come back to school after school so we could find a time when we were all awake together!

The Skype session was fantastic. Everything went well with the connection and we hooked up at exactly the time we had planned. We had an agenda that we followed precisely. Designated speakers introduced topics and asked questions. We found that that was a very important part of the success of the Skype, because although there was no actual lag to speak of, it is still tricky to get 44 people interacting together using only two microphones and two cameras!

Our two classes have been collaborating together for a few weeks now. We use online tools such as Edmodo and Padlet to work together. This was the first time we were able to interact in real time, though. Because we have been working on a Halloween Monster Project, we decided that everyone could dress up! So there was much, much anticipation and excitement for the Skyping session. Despite this, all the children (42 of them!), behaved very sensibly and calmly, which allowed us to have a successful Spyke experience.

We talked about:

  • Our Australian wonderings about the Halloween tradition, and how American children celebrate it.
  • Our buddies asked us why Halloween is not celebrated as widely in Australia as it is in the U.S, but also in other countries such as the U.K.
  • They were also curious about the origin of the Monster Project. Well, I first heard of this project through Mr. Avery in the U.S and Mrs. Morris & Mrs. Jordan in Australia.
  • We discussed the book we are currently reading together, One For The Murphys… Mrs Sutton asked whether we thought Carley would be adopted by the Murphy family. We voted yes or no, and then justified our opinions to one another.
  • Then, the time came to share the Halloween Monsters we had drawn! The children lined up and came one by one up to the camera, holding their drawing up so the other class could see it. Despite the fact that the video quality was not very sharp, I heard many children exclaim in recognition of a monster for which they had only read a description before!
Shiver, by Jennieva

My monster’s name is Shiver, and it is very scary. It basically has a human body (I didn’t draw the body any lower than the hips. By The Way, the hips are very wide), with very long, curly, tentacles as fingers. Its body is blue, and has cracks from its chest down. Its arms and hands don’t have cracks. Its mouth is very long and wide, and it has long jagged teeth. Inside its mouth is black. Its tongue is dark blue, and splits into five curvy tentacle like parts. (This is only part of Jennieva’s description).

  •  Finally, we said goodbye. It was a truly wonderful experience to be able to share in real time with our buddy class. We were lucky that our buddies’ families were keen to drive them back to school after hours, and we really appreciated everyone’s efforts!

Soon, we will publish an e-book that we will share on the blog, to show all the Monsters – the original ones, and the ones drawn only from descriptions – created by our two classes.

Hopefully, we will get to skype another time before the end of the year… perhaps to talk about an Australian tradition this time: Christmas at the beach…? 😉