Wow! Even though a major snowstorm was making its way across the country, we celebrated World Read Aloud Day with multiple authors and classrooms around the country. Educators around the world have been orchestrating this day for quite some time through multiple social networks. Through Twitter, Facebook, Google Docs, Skype in the Classroom, and Kate Messner’s excellent author website we have planned day-long and even week-long reading events for our students.
Twitter was buzzing this morning with authors and librarians having to reschedule due to the snow, but here at Barrow most of our scheduled stayed secure. Matthew Winner had to cancel due to snow impacting his flight to NC, so Kathy Schmidt and her students stepped in for us. Anne Marie Pace, author of Vamperina Ballerina, had to reschedule since the Virginia snow shut off her power. It’s pretty amazing that we were able to pull off so many connections even with bad weather.
Highlights from the day included:
- Okle Miller, librarian in Tampa Florida, and I read We Are In A Book. Okle was Piggie and I was Elephant. Kindergarten students loved it! We tried to play into the cameras in order to look at our audiences.
- Kathy Schmidt in Gwinnett County, GA had students listen to me read Same, Same but Different and talk about what was the same and different about living just 48 miles from each other.
- The amazing Laurel Snyder shared a favorite picture book with 2 fourth grade classes and then gave them a sneak peak of a new chapter book.
- Jesse Klausmeier, author of Open This Little Book, skyped with our students and Shannon Miller’s students in Van Meter, IA at the same time. A favorite question from one of our students for Jesse was “Did it make your family happy when you wrote your book?” We all almost teared up. So sweet!
- I shared a favorite story by Colleen Sally called Epposumondas Saves the Day with Mary Priske’s 4th grade in Mt. Vernon, IA and Mrs. Griffith’s 3rd grade joined in too. Students in both states chanted “sody, sody, sody sallyratus” as I read.
- Laura D’Elia, librarian in Massachusetts, and I read Same, Same but Different and compared living in GA with living in Massachusetts. Students in Massachusetts had 1:1 iPads while we have 1:1 netbooks.
- Lisa Waggett at GoForth Elementary in League City, TX and I read Same Same but Different to 1st grade classes and compared our 2 states.
- Mrs. Brink & Mrs. Ramseyer’s 2nd grade students read poems in 2 voices with Jeff McHugh’s 4th grade students in Arlington Heights, IL. Our students had a lot of energy and it was fun to combine our voices across the miles to read poetry.
- Jody Feldman, author of the Gollywhopper Games, read aloud to our 5th graders and allowed them to ask questions. She also gave them a preview of the sequel.
What a packed day filled with releasing words into the air across the country. Skype is such a powerful tool to connect us beyond the walls of our school. It was so interesting to see how much our students don’t know about beyond the boundaries of Athens. I predict that the work that we did today will lead to many long-distance collaborations with libraries around the country. Let’s continue to share the power of reading, connect our students, and understand what it truly means to be part of a global community!