Last March 6, we celebrated the World’s Read Aloud Day with a twist! My class celebrated it by reading aloud the Indian folktale “How the Summer Queen Came to Kashmir” to a Grade 4 class from an international school in Hong Kong. The read aloud was done through Skype. We thought that by reading aloud the said tale, it will help students from Hong Kong know more about the rich culture and places of India. The other class read aloud poems from the book called Joyful Noise by Paul Fleischman. We had a great time listening to the poems as they read it creatively.
It is the first time that my class had this engagement. There were challenges like communication, arranging the schedule and the quality of the internet connection. In the actual read aloud, it was hard to hear and understand each other, but somehow we got through the event smoothly. Everyone seemed to enjoy, especially the part when my students and the other class were given the opportunity to say hi to each other. I think in away, my class was amazed seeing other kids from another part of the world.
What I love the most about the engagement is that first of all, it promoted global mindedness by taking part on an event that is celebrated worldwide. Tanja Galleti, a primary Librarian from an international school in Hong Kong, just twitted about the event. I replied back as I was interested with it. She had this wonderful idea of reading aloud through Skype, and I thought that was a good opportunity for my class. Without her help and initiative, this event would have not been possible. She was the one who arranged the schedule between me and Andrea Onken, the Grade 4 teacher from Hong Kong, despite her busy schedule. Of course, much thanks to Andrea as well, as she was also open to do the read aloud with my class. With this simple interactive activity, we know that we have encouraged reading around the world.
Secondly, I like that we showed that education is border-less. In that simple 30 minutes read aloud from both classes, my class learned how to observe and listen, how to model certain behaviour from other students from a different country, and how to use technology to help us learn. That simple 30 minutes was an opportunity for my students to be communicators, to be open-minded, and a chance to develop self-management skills. That simple 30 minutes gave us the opportunity to have new friends.
Thirdly, I like how the three of us- Tanja, Andrea and I- were all strangers to each other, yet are united by the same aim and love for collaboration, technology and a global approach to learning. I don’t know them personally, and I’ve never even worked with them before, but this certainly showed that when there is a goal, openness and some sense of familiarity, strangers can be great company. Thank you Tanja, Andrea and your wonderful students. More and more educators are collaborating on-line and I believe that this is one of the best practices a teacher could ever take advantage of. So thank you for all the selfless teachers out there who keep on sharing and sharing and sharing! It’s a small world after all, and there is this simple girl in India who highly appreciates you all.
Like what I said, simple as the engagement may be, it brought things that are essential to teaching and learning. Simple effort like this gives an opportunity for us and our students to be internationally minded. I’m definitely looking forward to doing this again.