Besides the babies we already have at our house, I have another baby; The Global Read Aloud. The premise is simple; we pick a book to read aloud to our students during a set 6-week period and during that time we try to make as many global connections as possible. Each teacher decides how much time they would like to dedicate and how involved they would like to be. Some people choose to connect with just one class, while others go for as many as possible. The scope and depth of the project is up to you. In the past we have used Twitter, Skype, Edmodo, our wiki, email, regular mail, Kidblog, and any other tools we can think of to make these connections. Teachers get a community of other educators to do a global project with, hopefully inspiring them to continue these connections through the year.
So why should you join, well, let me count the ways:
- It is free. There is nothing to buy besides the book, there is nothing you have to pay to be a part of it, and for free you get access to educators all over the world.
- It brings the world in. Every year, educators who participate in it cannot believe how many connections they make, whether just in the US or around the world. Having a common project provides you with a platform to start collaborating with others that you can then use the rest of the school year.
- You decide. This project is great because of its simplicity, I don’t tell you how to connect or what tools to use, just which book you should be discussing. Different teachers have different time to dedicate so this fits in with any curriculum anywhere.
- Students get it. The reason I keep doing this is because my students cannot wait to hear what others think of the book we are reading. They cannot wait to connect, they cannot wait to share, they cannot wait to reach out and learn with others.
- It is only 6 weeks. We keep it short because we know how busy we all get. 6 weeks is just the right amount of time to discuss, elaborate and dissect a great book without getting overwhelmed by all of the to do’s.
- There is a book for your level. Last year we expanded into two separate books, one for younger grades and one for upper grades. This year we took it a step further and now span K through 12. Now you truly get to pick which book you feel the most comfortable with for your students. There is even a French version of the project for those who would rather do it in French.
- It provides a way to introduce tech tools. I use the project to introduce students to Skype, KidBlog, Edmodo, Animoto and other tools. This way I am not trying to reinvent the wheel but get to use the tools in a meaningful way with my students for their intended purposes.
- You get a voice. I invite others to make it their own and share their ideas. This is not just “my” project, it is for everyone to make their own. I love all of the sharing and great ideas that come from being part of this project, it really sets me up for great collaboration and idea creation for the the rest of the year.
- You don’t have to be a techie to do it. Sometimes technology is really overwhelming and the great thing with this project is that you don’t have to use a lot of it if you don’t want to. You can email one other class, or even use regular mail to share observations and discussions. However, if you are feeling adventurous, this is a great project to get your tech feet wet because there is a whole group of participants that would love to help you!
- It’s fun! The biggest reason for why you should join, it is a great project! Many teachers have embraced this project and made it their own, using it receive grants and propel their own teaching. The students love it, the books are always thought provoking and who doesn’t love a great read aloud. So why not take something you probably already do and make it even better.
cross-posted at pernillesripp.com.
Pernille Ripp is the the author of Passionate Learners – Giving Our Classroom Back to Our Students, creator of Global Read Aloud Project, and co-founder of EdCamp MadWI. She teaches fifth grade in Verona, Wisconsin, and blogs at http://pernillesripp.com.