When I heard of a group of 4th and 5th graders who were trying to Skype with a class from each of the 50 states, I jumped at the opportunity to participate. And sure enough, as soon as I shared what we were going to be doing with my own group of 4th graders, they were beside themselves with excitement to represent our state.
The school doing this project made it easy to get involved. They sent us a set of questions ahead of time, set a date and time, and shared a link to their blog where they were tracking their virtual travels. In response, my students worked in pairs to answer each of the questions, then brought their responses together. As a group, we evaluated all of the responses until we came up with what we felt was a full and well-rounded view of Florida.
But that wasn’t all, my kids took it a step farther, bringing in props, clothes, and pictures to better explain each of their responses. And this was the best thing that could have happened to their motivation and interest in the 4th Grade Florida History Standards. They were so proud to share their history and culture that they were not only willing, but begging, to have extra time to research topics like the Kennedy Space Center, the Everglades, or St. Augustine. Most even extended their learning and research to home as well.