Our Class on Social Media

Thursday, October 31, 2013

From the Fields of NC to a Powerful Position in Classrooms Across North America!

Pumpkin Lovers Unite With Pumpkin Power!

As I went about some of my favorite fall routines this past month, I never realized how my fall pumpkin purchase in Hendersonville, North Carolina would springboard collaboration and communication from my class to classes throughout North America. I'm not sure my purchased pumpkin realized the journey it was about to go on either!
One of my goals as a teacher is to bring experiences into the lives of my students that they may not be receiving at home, so naturally since I grew up having fun with pumpkins, it made it especially fitting to bring a pumpkin to my classroom.  The difference between having a pumpkin then and now is all the possibilities social media and technology can offer. I began contemplating an idea for collaborating with my Twitter friends, building valuable estimation and thinking skills in students, and vwala, Pumpkin Power emerged! 

My students were excited, our Twitter friends started flying in to join us and so began a joint learning adventure that brought out many connections and collaboration opportunities that I never experienced when I was in elementary school.  My students and I thoroughly enjoyed each time we checked our Twitter feed to find a new development in the collaborative ideas being created in this project.  
So how did Pumpkin Power work? I tweeted a picture of our pumpkin, a google doc introducing the project and let teachers and classes know how they could participate.  
My goal was to give various clues to my students and Twitter classes helping them make reasonable estimates on how much the pumpkin weighed. With each clue, more information would be given to help refine estimates. What made the project especially engaging were the questions being asked by the participants that would then help my class create clues to give out in our tweets throughout the project. 

Here are some of the tweets we used in sharing information during learning process of Pumpkin Power:
1. Pumpkin Power begins with many discussions and observations!
2. Our Initial Pumpkin Power estimates, switch class
8. Clue: Weighs less than 50 pounds (25 kilograms) Absolutely have LOVED hearing all your math adventures!
10. We used a QR code to present our next clue!
11. Final Pumpkin Clue! The pumpkin weights between 5 & 25 pounds! Good luck with final estimates. Submit these next week!
The time came to declare our winners!  We were so proud of all the participants and their hard work! And of course, we wanted to enhance the suspense of our winners by using a QR code!

My students and I developed so many valuable learning opportunities in math, technology and geography that delved way beyond our regular curriculum, but I sensed a genuine student interest in the learning process that can only be described as engaged, motivated learning! 

Thank you to these classes who helped enrich the experiences of Pumpkin Power:

It was such an encouraging experience to develop collaborative experiences and build relationships with other classes through this project.  My students were especially excited to see all the locations that joined us.  They developed an awareness for destinations they had previously no point of reference for.  Thank you to all our participating classes for allowing us to join your class in the learning process and for helping us develop more of a global awareness through the use of our simple pumpkin!

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