My Global Read Aloud Experience Reflection

by mrsapia

Thinking about the many adjectives to describe my experience with the 2012 Global Read Aloud would be an insurmountable task.  It was an experience that I look forward to participating in again next year, and the year after, and the year after that.  You get the idea.

The Global Read Aloud came to fruition from the vision of Pernille Ripp.  I’d like to publicly thank her for making her vision a reality, and providing the necessary support and blog posts to get us “rookies” up and running. Additionally, how about a hand for Katherine Applegate for writing an amazing story that tugged at our hearts and souls!

(((VIRTUAL APPLAUSE)))

How it Was Done

My students used Kidblog, Edmodo, and Skype to purposefully connect with others around the world.  We connected with a class in Switzerland, Chicago, Texas, and California.  Students developed relationships with others through this incredible shared experience of reading the same book. Teachers shared  resources aligned with Common Core Standards in the Edmodo One and Only Ivan teacher group.  Many connected educators from around the world created Scoop.it with links to informational text about the story of Ivan.  You can read about it here.  The One and Only Ivan Scoop.it

Social Studies and geography were tied into the Global Read Aloud by using Google Maps to drop pins on the locations where collaborations took place.  Math was integrated as well, because we charted and tracked mileage from Connecticut to all the states and countries mentioned above.  We also discussed the importance of animals living in habitats that suited their needs, such as their natural habitats or zoos.  STEM, at it’s finest.

The rich conversation, exchange of ideas, and global collaboration was so refreshing.  The collective spirit of assisting others truly benefited the students and teachers participating.  While reading through my student’s blogs, my administrative team was floored by the in-depth nature of their responses and the focus and purpose in which my student’s were exchanging comments with others around the world, while building a global mindset through purposeful collaboration.

Creating a Culture of Readers

Ms. Laura Lynam, our Assistant Principal, discussing The One and Only Ivan with my students.

Ms. Laura Lynam, our Assistant Principal, discussing The One and Only Ivan with my students.

After the first day of reading, I had over half of my students in our classroom visit the local library and/or book store to pick up a copy for themselves.  Think about it.   When is the last time that happened?  Sure we have student’s who recommend and share books, but it’s been quite sometime since so many student’s collectively, and without me even asking, bought the book.  That’s the power.  No rewards were discussed. There was no demand to assign homework with this project.  Students, on their own accord, blogged and discussed the text because they wanted to, not because they had to.   Can you say intrinsic motivation for reading!

The other thought that kept running across my mind during the Global Read Aloud was how all students “were on the same page.”  Like many of you, I have students who vary in their reading ability.  To be able to equal the playing field in such a collective environment brought chills to my body and confidence to all students.

Can We Write a Song Mr. Sapia?

Finally, in conjunction with our wonderful music teacher, student’s wrote a song summarizing The One and Only Ivan in collaborative groups, ensuring everyone’s voice was heard.   I have posted a thirty-second preview below.  I can’t wait to watch this song grow into a masterpiece and have my students sing it in-front of our school community.  I will post the final version when it’s done in a few weeks.

If you’ve made it down this far, feel free to follow me on Twitter @mrsapia_teach

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