Teaching in Australia, means that our time zone makes it one of the hardest to connect synchronously with others.
A request via Skype in the Classroom to do a mystery skype with a class from Portugal was read with real interest. However, our time zone is not good for working synchronously with students from Europe, coupled with the fact that 99% of my students catch a bus back to their farms and small towns which can involve more than an hour on the bus.
This was explained in a message back to the requesting teacher (Ana), but instead of giving up, Ana suggested we ask 10 clues via a video message. Students in each class would then work out where the mystery class was from. This was a new idea to me and it is always exciting to learn with others, but it was also a little daunting as I was not sure what this would look like.
Here is what it did look like!
- Ana’s class sent us a video of her class sharing 10 clues. Her students were in pairs sharing one clue.
- We watched it and gained ideas for our clues.
- An answergarden allowed students to add short answers to what they think of when they hear “Australia”
- A google document was set up for my students to collaborate on, and as a pair share their clue. Each clue had to be different. The link to the document was shared on my class blog for them to access.
- We quickly filmed pairs of students sharing their clues, uploaded it to youtbe and shared link with Ana
- Accents were a stumbling block for us, so we listened, rewinded and worked out their 10 clues. They were written on the board.
- Students then proceeded to search for the answers to the clues. The music clue stumped us we could not work out whether their famous music was fun, or funk, or folk but then after some research and narrowing down the country to Portugal, some girls worked out it was “fado”
- Finally most pairs of students worked out the mystery country might be Portugal. Here is our video response which has been sent to Ana and her class who do actually come from Portugal
As this was all in progress, students were highly engaged, actively searching, collaborating and brainstorming together. Further learning took place by more intense searching on some of the clues eg what exactly is fado music, where is Portugal in world soccer etc.