Day 2: Getting Started with Read Around the Planet

Yesterday in our 20 Day Challenge kickoff post, Roxanne suggested that an excellent way to start off with videoconferencing is to participate in projects managed by others. So this week, we want to spend a little time thinking about how best to integrate participation in Read Around the Planet with your curriculum and videoconference program.

What is Read Around the Planet (RAP)?

So what is this project anyway? Here are some basic facts:

  • Read Around the Planet started as a Read Across America celebration in Michigan, and it is still primarily U.S. schools that participate.
  • Read Around the Planet is like a dating service! TWICE matches the classes and provides teacher materials. It’s up to you to make the relationship work!
  • It’s open to K12 schools with access to IP or ISDN videoconferencing (H.323 or H.320).
  • Read Around the Planet targets language arts and world language classes.

A class acts out a story during Read Around the Planet

What do you do in a RAP videoconference?

The recommended Read Around the Planet format is very simple:

  • Introductions and sharing maps
  • My class leads an interaction/presentation
  • Your class leads an interaction/presentation
  • We ask each other questions about our communities, studies, and daily lives.

This format is easy for first-timers. Teachers can share anything they are currently studying in language arts. World language classes share games, skits, songs, and readings to practice the target language.

Targeting Teachers

Sound like fun? It’s a great whole school celebration of reading and videoconferencing. Some schools use RAP as the highlight and mainstay of their videoconference calendar each year. Some make a bulletin board with pins showing all the places their students have connected!

Today’s Challenge

So, now it’s time to convince teachers to participate. What should you do?

  1. Show the teacher training video in a staff or departmental meeting. It’s just under 13 minutes long.
  2. If it is your first year participating, pick 5 or less teachers to participate.
  3. Pick the teachers who are the most flexible and able to deal with surprises and glitches. Yes, ANYTHING can happen in a real-time videoconference!

Your Turn:

Please comment!

  • If you’re new to Read Around the Planet, what questions do you have?
  • If you’re a pro with Read Around the Planet, what tips do you have for newbies?

Reminder: If you are totally new to collaborative projects and/or would like step by step assistance (including for RAP), sign up for Kid2Kid Videoconference Connections, a six week online course beginning January 25.

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About Janine Lim

Janine Lim is an Instructional Technology Consultant at the Berrien Regional Education Service Agency in Berrien Springs, MI. Her main focus is on distance learning via videoconferencing and online learning. She also trains teachers in technology integration in the classroom and maintains the SouthwestNet Distance Learning web site. Janine is a past President of TWICE, a Michigan K12 videoconferencing organization, and maintains the TWICE website. She is also the TWICE Read Around the Planet Verification Coordinator for 2007. She also writes a regular column for the MACUL newsletter and was a member of the MACUL board of directors 2001-2003.
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