We would still use the 5 Themes framework, but I wanted them to branch out beyond the borders of North Carolina. I also wanted them to work collaboratively while sustaining interest in a project that was going to span a few weeks. I began with a regional map of the United States:
We went through each of the remaining themes like this: I modeled, they applied. I assessed them with a simple rubric of 3 (mastered), 2 (partially mastered) and 1 (not mastered), and provided support where needed. I expected to be tearing around the room with my hair on fire, but the kids were really into this and did an amazing job of working collaboratively.
We finished our graphic organizers (this took about 4-5 class periods of 45 minutes each) and I was (fairly) confident we were ready to set up our first Mystery Skype. I found a list of jobs and tweaked it to meet our class needs. What we ended up with was this:
- 1 note taker (records the clues on paper)
- 2 tweeters (to live tweet the event, of course!)
- 3 moderators (the faces of our class-- asked the questions from the inquirers and relayed answers to the mappers)
- 4 state experts (answered the questions from the other class)
- 3 inquirers (asked questions based on the mappers' notes)
- 4 mappers (used maps of the U. S. and Google Earth to narrow down the other class' location)
- 2 photographers (used iPads to document the experience)
For the first call, I assigned the jobs but in subsequent ones, I have had them pull them out of a hat (a fancy word for "quart-sized storage bag") and given the option to trade.
To set up the call, I turned to the Great and Powerful Twitter.
Thanks for making it this far! Please let me know of any questions or suggestions in the comments section! :) Happy teaching, everyone!
Megan Mehta is a Third Grade Teacher at Ballantyne Elementary. This is her 14th year as an educator and her 12th with CMS. She is grateful for the opportunity to work with so many wonderful students and colleagues every day! She would love to connect with you on Twitter at @megan_mehta and you can follow her class' adventures on Twitter too as @MehtasBESPandas.