The hive is buzzing!
The kids in Heather Durnin’s classroom and mine have started blogging and this week we will bring these kids together in the beginnings of full community.
While our photo contest will run until later in the week, we have also have had the students in our classes beginning to learn about blogging. They have written posts introducing themselves and have also completed an interests survey. Using Google Forms, Heather created a detailed survey asking all of our students about their likes, dislikes, fears, future plans and interests. Every student completed this survey and then, using the magic of google docs, the results were shared with them. Each student spent some time with the results of this survey, looking for similarities and differences between the two classes. They were then required to write a blog post about what they found.
As well as finding out a great many things about the classmates in their 2 700 km across classroom, many of them showed their excitement about this collaboration:
“Two classes are coming together to make one giant hive and they are all buzzing with ideas.”
“The Idea hive is buzzing with excitement as we begin our year together. Every one in the idea hive filled out a survey about our interests. I have more in common with the Idea Hive then I thought!”
“I can`t wait to see what Mrs.Durnin and Mr. Fisher have in store for the Idea Hive class and what we will be writing about next.”
Bringing learners together in common spaces, helping them to build trust with each other and having some fun are essential parts of building a learning community. Taking chances with your learning does not happen without these shared experiences first. The next step is building up some buzz and excitement. We want our students to be excited and interested in this collaboration. By keeping the energy high, our students will be motivated to collaborate and eager to learn more about one another.
We have a further set of contacts scheduled. Beginning tomorrow we are putting our classrooms together in another skype call to teach the students about commenting – an essential skill and one that needs to be actively taught and modelled in a classroom blogging community. After this, we will begin our first set of assignments together, drawing our classrooms together through common content, readings and projects.
Learning communities do not emerge – they grow and need tending.