I teach 3rd grade in Connecticut. I have done a few collaborative projects in the past and am hoping to build on these experiences.

This year I am hoping to do a collaborative project about rainforests with schools in Belize and Costa Rica during our habitats and adaptation unit. As a culminating project my students will turn our room into a rainforest and give guided tours to raise money for habitat protection. This would be around November.

Some other 3rd grade teachers I correspond with around the country have also discussed the possibility of sharing information about local Native American history (a fairly common unit) to compare how the natural resources of an area influence lifestyle (food, clothing, and housing, etc.). This could be done through a shared blog or a wiki. We cover this unit in December, but it is flexible.

Finally, in April/May I do a collaborative learning project about kites around the world. We learn about kite traditions and then use measurement and division/fractions to design, build, and fly kites. Last year 6 other classes from around the world joined us and we shared our learning on this website. This year I will switch the website to an edublogs platform as that seems to be more compatible with other countries' IT.

Anyway, if anyone is interested in any of these projects, please let me know. And I am always up for other ideas! Collaboration and project learning is fun and engaging for us teachers as well as for the students.

Tags: collaboration, elementary

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Hi,
The projects that you have done sounded so fun! I am wondering if we could collaborate.
We are a primary school in Singapore. Our new school year begins in January and ends in November.
We are in the midst of planning our grade 3 English curriculum and looking for classes to work with.
Do let me know if you are keen.

Regards,
Fadilah
Fadilah,
It would be great to collaborate with your school! Perhaps the kite project would work for April. We could also do smaller collaborations starting in January or February. Perhaps selecting certain books that the students could read at roughly the same time and then share thoughts and opinions through a blog or a video-conference (skype, google talk, etc.). Or find a mutual topic of interest to study.

Really, I'm open to any ideas. I'm sure we can work something out to the benefit of all. I look forward to working together!

Jonah
Hi,
Wonderful ideas! I am a second grade teacher in Illinois looking for other 2nd grade collaborators so thought I would put a word in here in case any of you know of someone you can connect me with. For more on some of my ideas check out my post under videoconferencing.
SMILES,
MaryBeth
Hi Jonah, I teach k-4 computers in a small private dayschool in Chicago. Your ideas are interesting. I'd like to join in on some of your projects. I've never collaborated before so I'd probably be best of starting in winter. Some of our units are Native Americans and rocks in 2nd grade, US states in 3rd grade, electricity, China in 4th grade. Where are you located? What type of school do you teach in?
Thank you!
Faith Shabat
fshabat@bzaeds.org
Hi Faith,
I teach 3rd grade at a public elementary school in Stonington, CT. It's right on the coast on the border of RI. Here are some of the units we cover, and the rough time line:
Sept. - local gov't, Oct. - habitats & adaptation, Nov/Dec. - local Native American history, Jan. - properties of matter, Feb. - immigration, March - rocks & minerals, Apr. - conservation & kites, May - local colonial history.
I don't mind collaborating with a different grade level if that works best for you.

Another possibility for collaborating would be to share literature circle books, and have the students discuss them through a blog or video-conferencing. This way the collaboration is simply an extension of what they already do, it just provides a wider audience. Sometimes that can be an easier start then to just jump into a project.
Let me know what you think!
Jonah
Hi Jonah,
Thank you for your reply. I actually saw a project with kites around the world a while back online. I think it involved writing messages on the kites and flying them all on the same day. I think it was called "Kites Around the World" and I think it took place around April. That might be a wonderful project to work on with Fadilla in Singapore and other teachers. I'll try to find the original project online over the weekend. I look forward to collaborating. I like the idea of sharing literature circle books too. We can plan that for late fall, so we don't have to wait to spring to start collaborating. We can do that with Voicethread or a wiki. After the students have initial connection, we can talk about video conferencing. What do you think? Talk to you soon,
Faith
Hi Jonah,
Your projects sound great. I hope to start my first year of teaching next fall, and I am truly a beginner with Web 2.0 applications, but your ideas have me excited about it. I hope to follow your progress to see how it goes.

-Chris
Hi Jonah,
Can you send me the link to the map you're using for the Native American cultures? I'd like to embed it on a different website. Also, am I doing Pottawatomi in Illinois or is someone else doing that tribe? Our 3rd graders cover it, and there's a lot of info at our local museum.
Thanx,
Faith
Hi Faith,
I made the map through Google "My Maps." It was pretty easy and I've now used that program to make maps for two other wikis on different topics. Anyway, here's the link. You can embed the map through the hyperlink button in the upper right corner (it even lets you customize the embedded window).

I believe someone else was focusing on the Pottawatomi as well. If you would like I can email them (or give them your email) and see if they would like to collaborate with you. Or perhaps each class could do it separately and then compare your learning. Or, is there another tribe in your region that you would like to focus on? Just let me know and we will work it out.

Thanks!
That is great that you can have a collaborative group communicate with other groups from all over. Perhaps an informative type analysis of other country's traditional textiles would be good. Understanding the link between functionliy and necessity is always enlightening.
Jonah-
Your ideas sound fun and I would love to use them with my own students. I am always looking for something new and different to bring to the classroom and these ideas are a great way to get students thinking outside the norm. Using classrooms from around the world and/or other states is a great idea for learning. I look forward to trying these ideas out in my own classroom next fall.

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