Not Really Over and Out

I just read the last post that @mitchsquires shared on his Year 3 class blog, The Blog Dogs, in my Google Reader.  Mitch very succinctly says “Over and out!” and I find myself here in my  home in Colorado with tears running down my face.  You see, I feel really invested in those kids.  Even though we live in separate hemispheres, timezones, and are over 8,000 miles apart, I know more about these young people than I do some of my own local students.  Mr. Squires did an incredible job showcasing their work and documenting their year through video, images, and audio on the classroom blog.  Additionally, each student had an individual blog that I read regularly.  I have connected with these kids.

All I have to say is…. it’s not really over and out!  I flat out refuse to say good-bye.  I wish each of you the best… Simone, Emily, Diya, Cameron, Josh, Victoria, Pubudini, Frank, Hannah, Brookey, Arden, Lachlan, Ethan, The Blog Frog, Sally, Rachel, Nikki, Kaelan, Andrew, Jack, James, Jorge, Eun Su, Pubuduni, Patrick…. May you continue to connect with the world using technology!  You certainly made an impact on me this year.  I will miss you heaps and heaps, and can’t wait to see what you do in Year 4.  And if you’re ever in Colorado, tell your Mum to look me up, and I’ll meet your family for dinner… even if you’re 7 hours away!

I repeat- it’s not really over and out… as bittersweet as this end of the year feels. I know that Mitch will be starting this journey all over again in 5 weeks with his next group of Year 3 students.  May you future students come to Mr. Squires prepared to learn, grow, and have your minds opened to many new possibilities!  Oh, and I look forward to meeting you soon!!!!  You’ve got a hard act to follow- but I know you can do it! 😀

Aussies Rock & Skype

This evening, I had the distinct pleasure of spending 30-minutes talking with a primary class in Australia called The Blog Dogs .  In the past months, I’ve been visiting their blogs, leaving comments, and generally just being amazed at what this group of Year 3 students can do with technology. Of course, that technology use is modeled and guided by their teacher, @mitchsquires.  He’s the kind of classroom teacher I hope to be one day- engaging, relevant, curious, and willing to try new things.  He not only models innovative technology use, but also how to be a life-long learner. Bravo, Mr. Squires!

In this conversation, we discussed many things.  From favorite animals to favorite colors, I learned that children are very much alike worldwide.

I’m finally getting my head around the time zone and seasonal swap that we see as Americans talking to Australians.  It’s hard to imagine what it feels like for Christmas to be drawing near… and for the weather to be getting warmer!  It makes me think of those funny cartoons we see with Santa in a swimsuit instead of his red suit…. that just feels very wrong to North Americans.

Here’s our visit

I already have a list of questions for next time.  Are those Jumpies like Goldfish Crackers?  What is a Jelly, exactly?  Are there skunks in Australia? (This one after smelling a rather…..well, smelly, smell on the way home from town this evening.)  Do the Aussie kids really think America is one big string of cities? What makes children on both sides of the world wonder if the children on the other side like living there?  Do they understand that where we live is generally all we know?  How do we give them a larger global understanding? ((Oh, and to whichever Blog Dog said they thought I should sing the American National Anthem for them?  Not. Gonna. Happen.  Sorry to disappoint, but I draw the line at singing…. but I’ll be happy to send you an audio link of someone else singing it. :D))

Oh, and I’m sure I’ll be in serious trouble with my 3rd, 4th and 5th graders for talking to the Blog Dogs without them!  Never fear, next time we’re planning to chat during school…. hopefully with video so we can see each other!!!!