Who knew "hanging out" could be an opportunity to teach about and learn so many important skills?
My class has participated in two Mystery Hangouts with a class from Colorado and Vermont. They have also participated in two practice Mystery Hangouts with Brent Catlett and a group of teachers he was educating about Mystery Hangouts as well as Emily Salie's class.
There have been many lessons as well as an opportunity for self and class assessment/reflection! As a class we discuss what went well and what we could improve upon for our next hangout. Part of the fun is trying to be the first class to guess the mystery state (we are a little competitive), but another very important part of these hangouts are the skills that are being incorporated before, during, and after each hangout.
Here are just a few skills that students are learning and practicing during our Mystery Hangouts:
- Using a map
- Locating various landforms, bodies of water, states, bordering countries, etc...
- Cardinal Directions
- Asking various types of questions
- Problem Solving
- Math Computation-Calculating mileage and hours/mins
- Communication skills
- Writing-Blogging about the Mystery Hangouts
- Researching-finding information about each state/region that have been in our Mystery Hangouts
- Sorting/Comparing-We have had discussions about the types of questions that have been asked during our hangouts. We compare/sort the questions that have been asked by both classrooms.
Students are also engaged throughout, because they each have a job during the hangout. I highly recommend joining a Google + Community as well as Twitter in order to give your students the opportunity to travel across the United States and possibly the world without having to leave the classroom! I have already made some great connections with various educators through Google + Communities and Twitter. Giving students the opportunity to make connections with what they are learning in the classroom and the REAL WORLD or even their lives is SO IMPORTANT! I have and will continue to make learning relevant and meaningful for my students!
A HUGE thank you to Brent Catlett and Sharae Geldes for introducing to the world of Google + Communities and Twitter!