I had an interesting experience when I went to teach my lesson today. I thought I would take a minute and share it with all of you. I picked up my student from school, as usual, and took her home. Today was the first day of school and she is starting 5th grade. I was asking her how her first day of school was when she started telling me about one of her classes. She said that one of her teachers is “the coolest teacher in the school. Like…really.” When I asked why, she proceeded to tell me a multitude of reasons. At the end of her explanation, I agreed that her teacher is, in fact, the coolest teacher that I’ve ever heard of (at least one of the coolest teachers).
Apparently this teacher won a $25,000 grant from some sort of Oak Ridge something-or-other. She wasn’t quite sure what it was. But with that money, he bought iPads, iMacs, iPods, a Smartboard for his classroom, etc. Anything electronically available, he purchased. Which, I think, is awesome. Some teachers try to keep their students away from technology. But if we’re all being honest, we are no longer in a world where technology is a give-or-take kind of thing. Everyone has it. Everyone uses it. It’s in the kid’s best interest to let them embrace technology at its best! Which is exactly what this teacher is doing. My student continued to tell me that throughout this class, they will Skype with students from other countries. She said that in a couple of weeks, her class will be Skype\ing with a class from West Africa. Later on in the year they will Skype with students from New Zealand. She told me that her teacher was explaining why it’s important to Skype with other countries. He told them that it’s a good way for students to see what schools are like in other countries. Students from both classrooms can talk or ask questions to the other classmates. One particular story she told me was from last year when the teacher first introduced his Skyping to the students. A student from West Africa told the students in Tennessee that he was happy today. One of the students in the Tennessee classroom said “why are you happy? You have no air conditioning, dirt floors, and no shoes.” The student from West Africa responded “I’m happy today because I had a meal and I am at school.” After the Skype session, the TN teacher was able to explain the differences between West Africa and TN and it gave the students in his classroom a real insight into other countries.
In addition to Skype, each student will receive an “e-pal” from another country and they will correspond via e-mail with their “e-pal”. And if you don’t think that’s enough technology, the classroom will also have a blog. So each student can write about his or her experience in the classroom for other students around the world to read about!
Now…all that being said…as she was talking, I was trying to remember what I was learning in fifth grade. It took me a minute to remember where I was in fifth grade because for those of you who know me, I moved a lot as a child so I wasn’t sure where I was. I believe I was in Asheville, NC at that point in my life. And to be completely honest, I don’t really remember a thing about it. I suppose I learned all the normal subjects a student should learn: reading, writing, math, history. But I don’t remember specifics. I think if I was doing something as awesome as my student is doing in her fifth grade class, I would definitely remember it.
Needless to say, it’s definitely interesting to see the differences between technology when I was in fifth grade and technology now. It’s come a long way! And it’s amazing.
Until next time, fellow BFs!
PS – I promise I’m working on my Ireland blog posts!