Thursday, May 7, 2009

Travel Buddy exchange with the UK!

Dyane Smokorowski has one of the best descriptions of travel buddies on her blog, Making Teachers Nerdy. Dyane wrote... “Travel buddies are exchange projects where a stuffed animal is chosen by a classroom to be an ambassador or an “exchange student” for research in another school anywhere on the globe. Using postal mail, students ship the travel buddy to the partner school. Both classes provide updates on the travel buddy’s visits via email, wikis, or blogs. Upon completion of the visit, the travel buddy is mailed back."

The Honeybees and our third graders were able to partner with schools this year to participate in the travel buddy program.

Our primary students exchanged travel buddies with children in the United Kingdom. Burrton Honeybees (aka First Graders) received Billy the bear from Pontnewydd Primary School in South Wales. Billy is a travel bear. We mailed Burrton Bear over to visit the primary students in UK. Then on May 6th, the Honeybees telaconferenced via Polycom with 5 and 6 year olds from Pontnewydd Primary School.

Our students kept a journal to document Billy's time here in the United States. We put our journal together using Mixbook.

Mixbook - Create Beautiful Photo Books and Scrapbooks! | View Sample Photo Books | Create your own Photo Book

We shared our Mixbook with Pontnewydd Primary School. Then, Pontnewydd displayed two Photo Stories, a map of where the school is located and a powerpoint. Students were able to ask each other questions. My students were amazed to find out that we had to end the session so the Pontnewydd students could go home for the day. (It was only 9:00 a.m. here in Kansas but it was 3:00 p.m. in South Wales.)

Travel Buddy projects can reinforce writing skills, geography and history, math skills and reading. Using telaconferncing tools like Skype or our Polycom is a great way to take a cheap field trip! I hope that is not the last time we have the opportunity to visit with the students at Pontnewydd Elementary.