Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Creating A Collaborative Poem Over Skype 1000 Miles Apart.....In Our Desks, By Iowa and Georgia 2nd Graders

Some of the best collaborative and creative moments in the classroom and library are those that are planned spontaneously and with faith that it will be successful. 

Also being able to accept that it might be a little crazy and fun....that is a must too. 

You must have trust in those that you collaborate with....and know that they are willing to roll with it if things go a little away from the plan.  Also to be able to pull from our knowledge, creativity, and experiences to create something really special and different for students is so important too.  

I have found this with my friend Andy Plemmons.  After meeting a few months ago, Andy and I have been connecting our kindergarten and 2nd grade students through various experiences through Skype, projects, and blogging.  

You can read about our first connection on the post Connecting Our Two Libraries In Georgia and Iowa With A Little Extra Yarn.
Over the last week few days Andy and I have been looking for a time to connect our 2nd graders.  They have been working on paper blogging and sending them to each other in the mail.  Also, we are connecting with them on our KidBlogs.  It was time for another face-to-face with the students to keep growing these connections and relationships.  

After Andy's tweet on Monday (shown above), I connected with our two 2nd grade teachers and worked with them to make this work for a Skype with Georgia.  And it was going to work today!  

At 11:20am, Andy and I connected for 10 minutes on Skype to plan for our connection that would take place at 12:00pm.  It was fun and I just love planning with Andy.  We both are open and excited about trying new things so it is so much fun.  

Andy did such a great job at telling the story about our collaboration session...I wanted to share this part of his blog post today too. 
Love it!  Especially the last lines, "Walking to our next class, carrying our laptops, finishing our chat, and disconnecting." So very very true.  

Sound familiar anyone on how collaboration happens within our own buildings?  Taking the time to walk back to the class with that teacher? Standing by the busses at the end of the day?  Meeting up in the parking lot before we leave to go home for the night?  Or how about planning on Twitter or texting at night time?  This is how a lot of the collaboration works for me and the teachers I work with everyday at Van Meter. 

Andy and I have developed a relationship where this works just perfectly for us too even though we are not in the same school or state.  
I just loved what happened next when the 2nd graders and their teachers came to the library to Skype with our friends.  
Andy read "In My Desk" from Georgia Heard's book Falling Down The Page, A Book of List Poems. 

He spoke to our students about what they find in their desks and backpacks and pockets....all the little treasures and things we forget about.
We then explained how we were going to be creating our very own "In Our Desks" poem together by opening up the Google Doc that we created and taking lines from both groups at the same time.  We turned down our sound a little bit in each school and started.  I explained to the students how we were figuring out how to work together within the Google we had to move the cursor and take turns at times too.  
Once we got started, I copied that Google Doc link and tweeted it out so everyone could watch as our poem was created by our amazing 2nd graders.  As we watched the audience grew, the students got even more excited as they shouted out their original lines.  We once had 48 people viewing the Google Doc.  They all became published authors within the 30 minutes that we connected.

All of the connections taking place within our library in Iowa, Andy's library in Georgia, and globally within the Google Doc were making such a difference in our students lives.

They would be able to take this experience and learn so many wonderful things from it including collaborating to create something original, writing poetry, the tricks to working within the same Google Doc, listening to our classmates near and far, and having fun with words.
Thank you Barrow Elementary students for connecting, collaborating, and creating with Van Meter Elementary today.  What a special memory.  
I agree Andy....One of my most favorite collaborative experiences too. 

We can't wait for our next connection during Poem In Your Pocket week and within our Kidblogs too. 

By 2nd Grade Students at Barrow Elementary in Athens, GA
and Van Meter Elementary in Van Meter, IA

In our desks you will find...

one big folder
three dirty notebooks
my stuffed puppy
tiny crumbs
unfinished work
an old crumby lunchbox
two broken pencils
one moldy sock
a tree with a happy family
scraps of paper
one bright striped pencil case
two green and red notebooks
a ripped up paper
my art shirt that has a picture of a puppy on it
old, rotten, bruised banana
a piece of crusty meat
an old broken iPod
a rotten, smooshed up goldfish
a dusty box of crayons
a ripped up dictionary
some broken crayons
a sticky, green, watermelon lollipop
an old tooth that never got taken by the tooth fairy
a chewed up yellow pencil
one pair of blue broken glasses
four wiggly worms that eat rotten apples
an old broken math journal
Godzilla finger puppets
a rusty old necklace
a teared up eraser
an old bag of McDonald’s apples
my football I got for Christmas
a couple of old, smelly shoes
a slimy stuffed animal
a stale chocolate bunny
little dots of paper from my paper punch
an old bouquet of flowers from the playground
mom’s old wig.


  1. I love it! This is a great story! Thanks for sharing it! Here in GA we are VERY proud to have Andy Plemmons, the award winning librarian. He contributes so much by sharing the things he does! Shannon, just so you know, GA is a great place to collaborate because I am here too and I have my Skype up and running and I have a fun flexible 2nd grade class to do cool stuff with if you are ever interested!!!!!

  2. Hi Sue,

    So great hearing from you my friend....And thank you for the amazing words. I am so happy to be working with Andy on projects. He is a rock star.

    I would LOVE to connect with your 2nd graders sometime, anytime. We could plan something for Poem In Your Pocket Day or with poetry. :)

    Let me know and perhaps we can connect soon. Hugs, Shan

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