Guest blogged by Roxanne Glaser
Participating in Read Around the Planet is NOT like signing up to participate in a program that is delivered by a content provider. It is a matching project where two classes present to each other. It is a simple concept, but you must approach it with a certain mindset to create success for your teachers and their students.
- Know your capacity – For your first year, 5 connections is a good number to start with.
- Know your equipment – Make a cheat sheet of your IP Address, contact name, phone and email for quick reference.
- Check your school calendars – Double check the dates that your teachers say they want to connect. Make sure that it is not a holiday or testing day.
- Maintain an organized approach – You are responsible for making sure that you have conducted a test connection with your partner site and helping your teachers prepare. Here is a chart you can use to organize your connections. Some coordinators use Google Docs or add events in Outlook.
- Commit to your partners – Once your classes are matched, make sure that you do everything within your power to honor that commitment. Do not strand your partner class. Think about if someone did that to one of your classes.
- Be flexible – Some connections will have to be rescheduled due to weather, illness, or other unforeseeable events. If you have to reschedule, be kind and understanding. I have heard some of the most wonderful stories of collaboration that come from a small act of kindness.
Students get really excited about meeting a class from another school and sharing their learning and we, as coordinators, are responsible for assisting to make that happen.
Here is a list of the top 10 reasons for canceled videoconferences. While a canceled connection might be a bit frustrating to you, look at this list. Life happens. And it happens to all of us, so as you go into Read Around the Planet this year, know that in the end, it will always work out.
- Follow-up with the teachers that you think would enjoy Read Around the Planet.
- Double-check the school calendars.
- Download RAP organization chart and plan how you will manage your connections. Coordinators will also be able to get a .csv file of their matches.
- What are some strategies you use to keep organized and calm when life speeds up?
- How do you organize your test calls and connections for Read Around the Planet videoconferences?
If you are totally new to collaborative projects and/or would like step by step assistance making a collaborative project happen, from start to finish, sign up for Kid2Kid Videoconference Connections, a six week online course beginning January 25.