Last night for me here in Iceland I had an enjoyable time Skype videochatting with Chrissy’s class in Bangkok Thailand.
It was early morning in Bangkok and after midnight in Iceland when she called. Her students were so energetic, a handful all had prepared questions- they wanted to know about the weather, language, animals, food, dogs here in Iceland, and they got excited when I turned the camera to show them Skinna. They also were interested in my ideas on “exploration” which I gathered they were doing as a topic in Social Studies. When asked, I shared that my favorite places I have seen were the South Island of New Zealand (honestly, that was not for Chrissy’s sake, who is a kiwi) and of course, from where i live in the US, the Boss Ditch of the World.
Then a few of the most curious ones kept raising their hands to ask more questions. I think the biggest reaction was when I told them when the owners of the house return next week, they are making me a traditional dinner where the main course is reindeer. Then they told me some things about what it was like to live in Thailand. From my little window of a Skype camera I saw a roomful of motivated students.
I like the clever bit of storytelling she set up with the story of Sam the Kiwi, a stuffed animal who got lost on the journey to Thailand- the story is played out by students adding to it via comments — this is really simple to do and very effective.
Thanks Chrissy for letting me visit! I had fun. Video pen pals or whatever you call this is so simple to do to connect a classroom to almost anywhere else in the world, so a tip of the bog hat to Chrissy for doing these activities. I am trying to think of as a 5th grade how I saw the world- flat pictures in the World Book Encyclopedia, film strips, and 16mm films… all were static information that was rarely a look at real people.