Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Blogging Connection: A Guest Post by Sarah Gorbatov

This post was written by Sarah Gorbatov. follow her blogging on Come Somersault with Sarah!

I have had many great memories during my years blogging, but my favorite has been learning about our world in Mrs. Yollis’ third grade class. Mrs. Yollis has a class blog that describes her class activities with students, parents, and other teachers around the world.  During the middle of the year, we had a project called “Our World Our Stories.” Students from seven elementary schools from three different continents and six different countries (Australia, New Zealand, U.S.A, Canada, Ghana, and Belize) participated. Each class led a topic and published a post every week, and all other classes would leave questions and comments. Some of the topics discussed were school games, hobbies, favorite foods, and each classes’ environment. Through this activity, I learned about the daily activities of children around the world. It also taught me about the difficult life that children in some of the other countries have.
When it was our turn to lead, we wrote about our favorite schoolyard game at Chaparral Elementary School called Bamboo. The game is played with two parallel bars and two people on opposite sides trying to tag each other. As part of our post, we included a video of how the game was played. The best part of the day was when our nature-loving teacher, Mrs. Yollis, joined in the fun. She was smiling from ear to ear as she played and tagged most of my friends and me.  In addition, she brought our class mascot, a fluffy, soft bear named Beverly, out to play. One week later, we were pleasantly surprised to receive a video from our blogging classroom friends, Canada and Australia, of their classes playing the exact same game of Bamboo and having a marvelous time. The project Our World Our Stories came to an end once every school had a turn to lead a topic. To honor this project, we had a small celebration through video. Every class put together a video of their school singing a verse of the song “Make New Friends.” The teachers then put all the verses together to create the entire song sung by the seven classes. It was interesting to hear everyone singing it with different accents.
We also learned about the world through Skyping with numerous different classes all over the world. My favorite class was in Australia, where my best blogging friend lives. We both regularly comment on each other’s blogs and have learned many interesting things about one another. The biggest challenge was the time difference. We Skyped at the end of our day, which was the beginning of their school day. Sometimes we were so involved that we would lose track of time and stay after school to continue our conversations.
In addition to regular Skyping, we also had mystery Skypes. This was when we didn’t know who we were skyping with and would try to find out what country, continent, or state they lived in from the clues they gave us. Our class worked as a team to be successful and find the location of the other classroom. Each child had a specific job, such as Question Keepers to type the questions and answers, Inquirers to ask questions, and Google Mappers to review atlases for clues. Some of our mystery Skype calls were with classrooms in Louisiana, Massachusetts, and Iowa. Sometimes our class guessed the location first, and sometimes the other class would win. However, both classes always had a great time and learned a lot about each other and the map of the United States. I always looked forward to the next mystery Skype call.
Through this blogging experience, I have learned about the world and made new virtual friends. It also made me feel very lucky to be living in the United States, because in countries such as Belize and Ghana, they were very poor and didn’t have as many things as we have here, such as a nice playground and school supplies. Now that I am in fourth grade, I have my own blog and continue publishing posts on my experiences.  I also stay in touch with my blogging friends, who have taught me many things about their cities, and I try to make new friends through the blogging community.

[For Reference, below is the URL to the Our World Our Stories final celebration and the recess game Bamboo.]

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