As part of our unit of inquiry into Where We Are in Place and Time, KC have partnered up with a Kindergarten class in Canada as part of a project called Kindergarten Around the World.
Michelle, our buddy class’s teacher, and I have been emailing each other to plan how the project might unfold. Michelle’s class have been tweeting for quite a while. I had planned to introduce the KC children to twitter as a collaborative writing engagement but was waiting for an authentic purpose and audience. Et Voila! Perfect timing! Our Canadian buddy tweeting experts initiated the contact by tweeting KC. And so began the collaboration.
We know our Canadian buddy class as KinderPals, their twitter handle. The KC children pointed out that Ryan and Maya have Canadian connections. We wondered where in Canada our KinderPals were, and where Ryan and Maya were from. We tweeted KinderPals and emailed Ryan’s and Maya’s parents for more information.
KinderPals replied that they were from Abbotsford, in BC, about an hour from Vancouver. The children poured over globes and iPads, trying to find these exotic places. Recently, we have been talking about initials, and it wasn’t long before someone located British Colombia and connected that with BC.
The children wondered why KinderPals don’t reply immediately to their tweets. One child explained, “It’s because they have a different time there. My granny has a different time in England.” This lead to a discussion about time zones. I tried to explain, but I could tell by the faces gazing up at me that some of the children were not convinced. I made a mental note to think about how I can make the idea of time zones more accessible to the children.
We have added KinderPals to our blogroll so that the KC children could access the KinderPal blog independently using our iPads. Using Twitter, the children have communicated back and forward across the ocean. A post on one class blog might lead to a question tweeted out across the time zones. The children are excited to check our Twitter account each day to see if there is a response from their buddies.
The children have wonderful ideas about how to share their learning with their new friends. One child suggests making a video. Someone else suggests we send a link to blog post. Another child, responding to a tweet from our buddies, suggests taking photographs of different areas of the school. Yet another says we should make a VoiceThread so that we can talk about the photographs and our far-away buddies can respond.
Michelle and I email back and forth, following the children’s lead, supporting and guiding them as they think about each next step. I am intrigued to see where this journey leads us, weaving between two continents and many cultures.