Saturday, June 18, 2011

Don't Stop Believing...That We Can Make A Difference!

Last year I had the pleasure of meeting  Stephen Gagnon,  who is a 4th grade teacher in Portsmouth, New Hampshire at Strathum Elementary.  Our mutual friend Patrick Larkin introduced Stephen and I on Twitter.  Throughout the school year, Stephen and I connected his students with the 4th graders at Van Meter in Staci Braun, Cindi Burnes and Jenny Stephens classrooms.  
These connections happened in the classroom and in the library at Van Meter.  I loved the day that his students taught ours about World Math Day (this is a post about connecting that day).  
They even played on the World Maths Day website against one another which was a great learning experience for all of the students....and the teachers too.  

One of my very favorite connections was when Mr. G's class had a "So You Think You Got Talent" show for us in the library computer lab.  When his class started singing and dancing I told our 4th graders, "Get up and dance too!"  It was so much fun for everyone.  
As the year continued, I started to connect with Stephen's class each day through Twitter. Stephen started a Twitter for his class called @mrgclass and I connected with his students through this account.  
 
The students (especially Faith) would send me weather updates every morning and compare the weather at Portsmouth to Van Meter.  I loved getting the Twitter updates and making that daily connection with the students.  They called this project "Race To Summer" and each student gathered weather data for the two locations.  
Last week his students took all of the weather data that they had been collecting over the last few months and created impressive graphs.  They shared their predictions, outcomes and even photos of their graphs.  I was so proud of what they had accomplished and created.
After I wrote a post about our connections on the Edmodo blog entitled The Little Things That Make A DifferenceI was so honored to receive several tweets like this from Mr. G's class.  They mean just as much to me and I saw them as other students of mine as well.  
Mr. G's class gets out of school for the summer next week.  We really wanted to connect another time before the break.  Last Friday they invited me to watch another GREAT talent show. I couldn't wait! 
At the end of the performances, they surprised me with a special song they had practiced just for me.  As I sat in my kitchen watching the students at Strathum Elementary do an incredible job singing Journey's Don't Stop Believing,  I got tears in my eyes. 
When they finished singing, the kids yelled out "Thank you, Mrs. Miller."  I was sad to tell them goodbye for the summer.  I told them how they could connect with me over the summer and that I couldn't wait to see them in the fall.
I was so happy to also receive a VoiceThread from Mr. G's class.  Everyone of them left me a little message.  I just love listening to what the connections with our students, authors and others meant to them.  The connections, relationships and projects made a difference in their year, learning and lives.  
This is definitely one year that Mr. G's class will not forget.  Stephen is one of the most amazing teachers that I have ever meant. He has given his students a VOICE through their classroom Twitter, Skype and several experiences such as the ones I have described in this post.  I am the lucky one to have been invited into his classroom.  
Image created by Gwyneth Jones, The Daring Librarian 
As I prepare for ISTE next week in Philadelphia, these students come to my mind often.  During the SIGMS Forum There Is No Better Time: A Dawning Era For School Librarians, they will be part of how I describe how we can all Be A Change for our students, schools and throughout the world.  
For when one receives a tweet like this.....
we know that we can make a difference.  

And that a class of 4th graders 1000 miles away can make a difference in your life too.  

This is one year that I will never forget.

1 comment:

  1. Very impressive school experience. Have a wonderful day!

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