Last week my kindergarteners were treated to a special visit from Wonderopolis Ambassador Barbara Phillips and her 2nd grade class from Hamilton, Ohio. Barbara and her students prepared a few special Thanksgiving readers theater pieces that they wanted to share. I was more than happy to provide an audience, and it happened to be a perfect opportunity to introduce live video chat for the first time this year to my kindergarteners. View Barbara’s post about our visit here.
I often share about the many friends that I’ve made through Wonderopolis with my kids. I think that it makes Wonderopolis seem real to them. My conversations about my “wonder-friends” lets them know that Wonderopolis is more than just a website we visit on our interactive whiteboard. They somehow get that Wonderopolis brings people together and on this day we got to see how that happens.
Before our visit we shared a few of the ground rules that will be our guide for future video visits. It’s a perfect time to discuss behavior and digital citizenship. I told them that any special guest we invite into our classroom via video-chat deserves the same respect as a guest in real-life. We listen and take turns speaking. We show that we are enganged through our body language and where our eyes are focused. We also learned that even though our visitors are not in our classroom, they can see and hear almost everything we are doing. It’s also a great lesson on classroom management when technology is involved. As a teacher you have to be ready for almost anything. My kids never disappoint though. They know that these visits are special and want to continue to have many more of them throughout the year.
My kids are eager to meet with them again. In fact, we’ll be doing some 1:1 buddy reading with them later this week. We’re very excited.