Milbank Middle School sixth and seventh grade students are using books and reading to connect with students across the globe. The Global Read Aloud was created six years ago by a teacher in Wisconsin, Pernille Ripp, and has grown to nearly one million students this year.
“The goal is to connect with another classroom somewhere in the United States or the world to discuss a common book during a six-week time period,” explained sixth grade teacher Eric Townsend. “Students read the texts selected for their age level and connect through any means of technology,” added seventh grade teacher Robin Simmons.
The sixth grade students are reading Pax by Sara Pennypacker and made a connection with a sixth grade class in Dothan, Alabama at college preparatory school. “The teacher in Dothan and I decided to use Google Hangouts to video chat each week and discuss or present different items from the book,” Townsend said.
The seventh grade students are engaged in reading Orbiting Jupiter by Gary Schmidt. They are taking part in discussions with a school in Canada.
“We have connected with the school in Canada through Skype and Google Hangout,” said Simmons. “I also connected to them using a website called Padlet which allows students to see and share ideas about the books on a collective website. Some teachers participate in Twitter chats, others share Google Sheets, and some share blogs. The technology used is up to each teacher and class.”