http://education.skype.com is a website I've found this year that I LOVE. It allows teachers to find other educators or businesses who want to Skype and let's them partner up. So far this year my class has been able to Skype with 3 classrooms in England using Skype in the Classroom.
Well, I finally decided to put up my own "call-out" on Skype in the Classroom to allow my students the opportunity to Skype with kids from all over the world. This morning we Skyped with Petter Hartman's class in Sweden. Sweden is quite a few hours different than us, so we had to skype 30 minutes before our school actually began, and they had to stay after school 30 minutes their time in Sweden :)
I had about 35 students show up early to school for this experience. We talked about climate, sports, tv shows, music, and even learned some Swedish. It was a blast and Mr. Hartman's students were so well spoken and prepared. I truly hope we can Skype with him again at some point.
Later that afternoon we had a Skype with Olympic Gold Medalist Steve Mesler. While perusing the Skype in the Classroom website I came upon an activity by "Classroom Champions" about Skyping with Olympic Gold Medalists about setting goals. I immediately signed up, and MY class was selected as the very first class to participate. We've been looking forward to this for WEEKS, and my kids couldn't have been more excited. We got special permission slips signed too because they wanted to record it!
We did a "Goal Setting Pyramid" activity ahead of time, watched a video, and prepared our questions. Steve Mesler is an Olympic Gold Medalist for the US Bobsled Team. All 70 or so of my students crammed into a room to listen to Steve.
I cannot express to you what an incredible experience this was. Steve was energetic, engaging, and had a great sense of humor. My students were enamored and interested the entire hour long chat. We started the Skype by Steve telling us a little about himself, and then he talked about setting goals, and went over the whole "Goal Setting Pyramid". He then worked with two kids (and the rest of the group) with looking over the pyramid they had already made. At the end he shared a video with us and allowed time for questions.
It was truly and experience my students will never forget. They have been talking about it all afternoon and are dying to Skype again!
I'm so looking forward to the Skypes we have planned with China, Australia, Spain, and Saudi Arabia coming up in the future due to connections on Skype in the Classroom.
Man, what a great day!