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Given the reality of almost free and virtually instant connections between any two persons with access to the World Wide Web–and a shared understanding of how to “connect”– teachers can also organize student’s moving forward in their learning as a collaborative effort.
Considering the multiple possibilities for interaction can be overwhelming — but teachers, parents, and students are encouraged to brainstorm opportunities to make meaningful connections both during and outside of class and just begin somewhere! Doing one thing well is much more effective than understanding a hundred things and doing nothing!
Some examples that have worked in my experience:
- College students can mentor middle school students
- Grandparents can encourage and provide constructive feedback to elementary aged children
- Experts on any topic can visit a classroom learning about that subject via Google Hangout or Skype
- Parents can tap into what is actually happening in their children’s learning environments to prompt broader conversations around the dinner table, encourage students to recall and rehearse new learning, and foster personal connections to the learning.
For those new to the opportunities of online connection, there may be some useful resources in this TIES Presentation on School to Parent Communication by Dr. Roxanne Pickle and myself. There is a special emphasis in materials here on meeting the needs of exceptional students as well.
What do you do or plan to do in the future?
The Education Department at St. Kate’s is honored to have the opportunity to learn with local K-12 faculty conducting action research projects as part of their structured professional development activities. Some evidence of this exemplary work shared below!
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” Mary Oliver, Selected Poems
Teachers may be inspired asking this of our students. But we are certain as well to have a lengthy response if we ask it of ourselves. In each of our answers comes some sentiment or intentionality around service. At St. Kate’s this aligns with the overall mission of the institution. We hope to embody this in sharing our student’s work to synthesize educational research and theory here for themselves and for all who seek to grow in their profession. We can’t wait to hear how this work is helpful, or what else we might do to build an unpretentious go-to place for practicing teachers everywhere.