Building Bridges to Tomorrow

My class participated in a pilot Flat Classroom project for K-2 students, Building Bridges to Tomorrow. Previously, Flat Classroom projects existed for students in grades 3-5, middle school and high school. I mentioned in a previous post, that I had mentioned to Julie Lindsay how much I wish my little ones could be in a Flat Classroom project. She said that she and Vicki Davis were just beginning to try something out with K-2 and was looking for teachers to join the project. I was more than eager to join the pilot.

I was paired with two other schools – one in Manitoba, Canada and one in Virginia, US. We all had several online meetings with the other teachers involved, over 35 of us. Our first task was to create a “handshake.” My group decided we would have each child introduce him or herself and state their favorite place in their city. All the schools in the project also participated in “View from our window” in which we all submitted photos of our locale and one teacher compiled it to a Youblisher booklet.

For our actual “Building Bridges” project, each group was to select a theme out of a few designated for this project. We chose “Sharing Stories,” which I like because my school has a strong emphasis on the writer’s workshop model and personal narratives. In kindergarten, we are not writing nearly as much narrative as students in fourth or even first grade. So it was great to have their narrative “writing” in the form of drawings and voice. I had a bit of a frustrating time finding the right “tool” and presentation format for their work.

I really struggled with this! Initially, we wanted to use Youblisher, myebook or issuu. I already scanned their drawings and recorded them reading aloud their writing. But then we realized many of these sites that create “flippable” books cannot include audio. So after we figured out we couldn’t use these sites, I looked at VoiceThread. Unfortunately, I already recorded them reading their stories. I couldn’t import the files with my free, unpaid account, and you need to subscribe to have that feature. The only way to have audio over the pictures was to re-record my students. If you teach little kids, well, you know that just drains more time.

So I just put everything into another video file. I hate that it is so boring, but I didn’t know what else was an option.

Here is our final product: (warning, it is nearly 6 minutes)

3 Responses to Building Bridges to Tomorrow

  1. What a great experience for you and your little ones! Often I feel like the very young get left out of some of the great collaborative projects. I’m glad to see Julie and Vickie finding ways to include the Kindergartners too.

    Be warned: I’ve heard that participation in these Flat Classroom Projects is addictive!

    • Thanks, Clint! Yes, my kinders had a wonderful time doing this project. They got the sense that it was important and took full ownership over it.

      Addictive, yeah? I’ll be in trouble then because I really buried myself with work this semester, with COETAIL, Flat Classroom, my regular teaching job (with the school going through 2 accreditation reviews) and a million other personal items!

  2. Flat Classroom projects are something I’m often reading about but have never jumped in. Congratulations for having the enthusiasm to take on this project with so much else going on.
    In projects like these it’s difficult to always find the right fit for the tech you need. It sounds like you were flexible and creative enough work through any issues. I’m curious how you ended up sharing this with parents and students. Were they able to view the end project on the Flat Classroom website?

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