Parish Elementary Students Read Across the Planet Through Distance Learning Connection

Second graders at Parish Elementary School made connections with second graders from across the U.S. and Canada during special videoconferences made possible through Oswego County BOCES’ Distance Learning Department as part of the Read Around the Planet.

<p>Marty Daniels and Katherine Kinney, students in Stephanie Huebner’s second grade class at Parish Elementary School (PES) read clues for the camera broadcast to students from Newport News, Va. about books the two classes had read. The Newport News students guessed which book the clues were about and then took turns giving clues for the PES students. The videoconference was set up by the Oswego County BOCES’ Distance Learning Department to celebrate Read Across the Planet. The week also celebrates Dr. Seuss’ birthday on March 2nd which explains the “Cat in the Hat” hats worn by the PES students.</p>

Laurie Ouderkirk, OCB’s Distance Learning Coordinator, arranged for the celebration as part of the national reading week of February 27 – March 2. The videoconference connected PES with schools in Virginia, Michigan, and Alberta, Canada.

The classes connected prior to the videoconference to collaborate on a specific reading project so each class would be prepared for the time of sharing.

One class read the same books in preparation and then played a trivia sort of game where clues were given and the other school had to guess which book was being referenced.

Each class shared information about their community, and a question and answer time allowed plenty of interaction between the classes.

<p>Stephanie Huebner’s class at Parish Elementary School in the APW School District was one of the classes that participated in the Read Across the Planet videoconference through the Distance Learning Program from Oswego County BOCES. The class connected with a second grade class from Newport News, Virginia.</p>

The PES students were surprised by how similar they were to the students from many miles away.

Stephanie Huebner’s class was surprised to discover that Laura Bridges’s class at Hidenwood Elementary School in Newport News, Virginia, began every class with a special morning greeting.

Two students from Parish Elementary demonstrated their special “motorcycle” morning greeting they had used that day and the class from Virginia was so impressed that they said they would incorporate the greeting into one of their morning meetings in the near future.

<p>Melissa Thomas’ reading class at Parish Elementary School connected with a second grade class from Edmonton, Alberta Canada for Read Across the Planet, a videoconference through Oswego County BOCES’ Distance Learning Program. The class created a map detailing points of interest in the Parish community that they shared with the students from Edmonton through the video broadcast. Thomas is pictured holding the map in the center of the class.</p>

The two classes each read four books and then took turns giving clues about a book while the other class guessed which book they were talking about.

After that, the schools shared information about their community with one another and information such as weather, geography, etc. for the area.

In spite of being so very different in many ways, the students from Edmonton in the Alberta province of Canada found similarities in what they like to do in their free time with second grade students at PES in Melissa Thomas’ reading class.

Living in a large urban city in northwestern Canada in comparison with small, rural Parish in Oswego County, the students from Edmonton were surprised to learn that Parish, New York, has no stop light or public transportation such as taxis, buses and light rail transit.

<p>The students from Edmonton were impressed with the wonderful reading pirate ship located in the right corner of Melissa Thomas’ reading room at Parish Elementary School. The two groups found they had more in common than they thought considering the geographical difference between the rural Parish community and the large urban Edmonton whose population is one million people. Reading, video games and playing outside seemed a common thread among most second graders regardless of where they are from.</p>

The students in Parish were surprised to learn that Oswego County receives far more snowfall on average than they receive much farther north in Edmonton.

Additional reading celebrations will be held throughout the week at Parish Elementary including guest readers and parents and family members are encouraged to attend a special reading celebration at the school on March 2 beginning at 6 p.m.