Monday, November 9, 2015

A Mystery Skype to Remember

I'm a little late on writing this post but wanted to share because it was such a fun day for our students and gave them an opportunity to see themselves as teachers as well as students.

We were recently given the opportunity to participate in a Mystery Skype with teachers at a session at the Microsoft campus in North Dakota.  Kelly Rexine had contacted me to ask if we would be willing to participate and we were more than willing.  We were so excited!  Our third grade students absolutely love to Mystery Skype and I thought it would be a great opportunity for them to share their expertise and excitement about the topic with teachers that were wanting to learn.  

I want to begin by saying that our third grade teacher, Mrs. Battistella, is amazing at making each Mystery Skype a success.  She does a great job of explaining the roles, asking for feedback, and ensuring that it is a learning opportunity for everyone that is involved.  The first time that I observed her class participating in a Mystery Skype, I realized right away that every student was engaged, willingly engaged. 

We began the session by taking time to let Mrs. Battistella explain how a Mystery Skype works.  She shared the roles of each group and explained why each of them are important to the process.  After this, we turned it over to the students and let them work their magic.  

When the students correctly concluded that the audience was in North Dakota, they were so excited! As closure,  Kelly asked his audience if they had any questions for the students.  One teacher asked what it was about Mystery Skype that the students liked.  In response, several students shared that they liked learning about new places and liked that they were learning by having fun and meeting new people.  They absolutely loved answering the questions and being the experts as they shared with the teachers.

It was so fun watching them find ways to share their learning and express their feelings about the activity.  I was so impressed with their willingness to speak up and give their perspective.

As we wrapped up, Mrs. Battistella asked her class to reflect on the event.  She has a wonderful reflection sheet for each Mystery Skype and so she gave one to each student.  Below are a few of their responses. 

I love that almost every student was surprised to learn that they could teach teachers. They were in awe of the fact that they had spent their afternoon showing teachers how to do something well.  

It was such a fun day!  The students were given an opportunity to teach and they did.  Sometimes learning from students is more engaging and has more of an impact than learning from our peers.  I love nothing more than to hear from student panels and see students doing whatever it is that I am learning about.  I am so thankful that Kelly was willing to ask our students to teach educators about Mystery Skype and share their perspective.

If you haven't considered trying a Mystery Skype in your classroom, you should.  It is such a wonderful way to encourage critical thinking while using geography skills.   And even better, it's a lot of fun!


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