Knocking Down Classroom Walls

By: Mrs. Elyse Haber
from Hebrew Academy Montreal

Real-World Learning

Subject(s) of entry:
Literature, Math, Science

IBL - inquiry based learning, 21st Century Skills

Grade(s) to which this was taught:
1, 2, 3, 4, Elementary school

Grade(s) for which this will be useful:
K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, Elementary school

Why should we limit our students to the knowledge of our teachers? By using Skype lessons, we bring in knowledge and experiences to our students that were unavailable to them before. I built learning experiences for our students around Skype lessons.

Entry Narrative

Using Skype lessons, I have created learning experiences for our students in grades 1 to 4. In grade 1, after a unit on penguins, we Skyped with SANCOOB, a penguin sanctuary in South Africa. We learned how they rescue and help penguins. Then we adopted a penguin from them. We used surveys and graphs to name him (Kislev) and then each child chipped in 1 dollar to help adopt him.

In grade 3, after securing a Skype lesson with Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, we decided to have a space week! We read, wrote and learned all about space. Then ended the week with our Skype with colonel Hadfield. Shark week was a huge success! We did jigsaw activities, wrote fiction and non fiction. Read many different books and then ended with a Skype lesson to put it all together.

In grade 2, we had 2 separate weeks over the year that ended with Skype lessons. We had an elephant week where again we read, learned and wrote about elephants and then ended the week Skyping with an elephant conservation center in Florida where we got up close and personal with an African Elephant. We did the same with Sea Turtles later in the year. We have Skyped with Catoonists and authors who speak to our students about writing and illustrating.

These real learning opportunities open the doors to our classroom and let our students have access to the world around them. I’m always amazed by the generosity of experts willing to give their time and energy to help educate our students for free.

I’m taking what I have to teach from my curriculum, reading and writing, and giving their learning a real purpose. And it’s Fun!