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  • The future is not some place we are going to but one we are creating. The paths are not to be found, but made, and the activity of making them changes both the maker and the destination. John Schaar American Scholar and Professor
  • Shelfari: What am I reading?


Read Across America Day

First of all, I’d like to say how disappointed I was to see that the last posting date I have for my blog is December 1. In my defense, I’ve been facing the trials of being in the early months of pregnancy. I’m happy to say that we will be adding to our family of four in mid July, but that hasn’t been good for the blog!


Despite how long it’s been since I’ve posted to Keeping Kids First, I’m so happy to be sharing this post. Each year in the USA on March 2, we celebrate the birthday of Dr. Seuss with Read Across America Day. This year, I decided it would be a great experience for my students to actually “read across America” using Skype to foster cross-classroom collaboration. A few weeks ago, I was overwhelmed by the response by my Twitter and Facebook PLNs when I went looking for classrooms who might be interested in sharing this day with us. I scheduled us classrooms to chat with all morning in thirty minute intervals. I also helped my students to prepare for their conversations with writing book talks, practicing read-alouds and honing our skills on being respectful listeners.


As March 2 approached, I was excited to have parents join us for our classroom “Read In” first thing in the morning, which was also kicked off with our first call of the day. The parents of the students who attended, as well as other staff members who happened to stop by during the morning, were awed by how we were able to collaborate and share with classrooms across the country, how engaged the students were, and their enthusiasm for the opportunity. We charted our “visits” with Google Maps, which was also a great experience for students to see how far they were reaching!


Over the course of the day, we shared favorite books with Dan Callahan and Sarah Hayes’ class in Burlington, MA.  Eric Biederbeck’s 6th grade class in Essex, Vermont read us a favorite picture book, Bigger, Better, Best, that tied into our current study of Geometry. We read a favorite Cherokee cultural story, The First Strawberries, to a third grade class in Verona, New Jersey. A high school class in Sterling, Kansas, led by Carol Prather and Dean Mantz, even read a few of their favorite books to us.


What a great way to share and grow a love of reading!




10 Responses

  1. Congratulations Kelly! I am so excited to hear that you are expanding your family.

    I, too, had my students use Skype for Read Across America on March 2. We had to squeeze it in among three other Skype calls we did to show our Mardi Gras presentation to other schools. Our classes need to connect on Skype soon.

    I find that I am blogging less because I have all of my students blogging this year. The time I usually spent updating my blog is now spent moderating their blogs and comments.

    Take care and let me know when your bundle of joy arrives.

  2. Thanks Paula. I’m at a new school and new grade level this year, so it’s just been a crazy adjustment. I’m getting there! I’d love to connect our classes sometime this spring. I have third graders this year.

  3. Hi, Kelly! I am a student in Dr. Strange’s EDM310 class at The University of South Alabama. I think it is wonderful you let your students to collaborate with other classrooms via Skype. I would love to implement that idea into my future classroom! I would love to share your post on my blog.

    Also, congratulations to you and your family! Have a blessed day!


  4. Hi Kelly, my name is Ashleigh Skelton I am a student in Dr. Strange’s EDM310 class at The University of South Alabama. I think that its so amazing that you are embracing all the new technology thats out there. You are an amazing teacher. Having your students Skype is something that puts your students so much more head of other students. I know that I will most defiantly be using as much technology as possible in my future classroom.

  5. Hey Kelly, my name is Jenna and I am a student at the University of South Alabama. I am taking Dr. Strange’s EDM310 class in which we get to comment on other teacher’s blogs. I was assigned to follow your blog and a summary of my comments will be posted to my blog by May 1.

    First of all, let me say thank you for allowing me to follow and comment on your blog and congratulations on the addition to your family! I think your idea of using Skype to allow students to talk with other classes from around the U.S. is amazing! What at great way to celebrate such a wonderful day as Read Across America. Keeping students interested in reading is a wonderful way of assuring a lifetime of learning. What better way to get students interested in reading, then allowing them to use technology to reach people from other classes. It seems like you are doing a great job of introducing technology into the classroom. Keep up the great work and I look forward to using this idea in my classroom!

  6. Hi Kelly
    My name is Heath Morris, I am a student of Dr. Strange EDM310 class at the University of South Alabama. Congratulations on the addition to your family. I really like that you are giving your students the opportunity to engage the in conversations with students across the country. Teachers like you are the ones that students grow up and remember the most. You are giving them skills and involving them in class in ways that most students would never imagine. I commend your use of technology in the classroom and hope you have a great rest of the year.

  7. Hello Kelly,

    My name is Regina Sawyer. I am an EDM 310 student at the University of South Alabama. I was thrilled to read about your students participating in Read Across America. Ms. Hines, you have truly taken an opportunity to make learning relevant to your students. I was excited reading about the experience, I can only imagine the excitement of your students. It is amazing how technology can enhance learning experiences and opportunities. Thank you for sharing your great classroom experience.

  8. Hello Kelly,

    My name is Kevin Hutchinson. I am in Dr. Strange’s EDM 310 class at the University of South Alabama. Using Skype for learning amazes me. It seems to be one of the best new ways to keep the students engaged. Being able to use a book read on Skype to help teach your Geometry lesson shows how engaged the students were. So many children think that reading is a waste of time. But this is a great way to keep reading alive.

  9. I have just started working for a German based company and wanted to expand my language capabilities for business travel abroad. I purchased Rosetta Stone because I had heard it was the best around. After using it for the last few weeks, I too can join in and fully recommend this software as the best on the market for learning a new language fluently!! In just a few weeks, I can communicate with co-workers bilingually, and will give it the ‘international test’ tomorrow with my first business trip to Germany. I HIGHLY recommend Rosetta Stone to anyone wanting to learn another language. It is a GREAT product.

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