New 6th grade Skype Project: Global Plastic Pollution Crisis

Greetings from Kansas City!

My 6th graders and I are jumping into Skype for the first time and going global thanks to our school librarian, Susan Anderson and Tricia Scott, tech specialist at central office. Thanks to both of you for your help this week. Susan sent me a video link that shows how to set up Skype using my doc cam. The video featured Steven W. Anderson (@web20classroom). I laughed when I watched it because I knew him from my Twitter PLN. He shares TONS of useful resources on his blog and via Twitter. His video-help worked! Of course, I tweeted him and thanked him for helping me.

Skyping is not common practice in our district, YET. I suspect it soon will be with our switch to Apple/Mac. I'm stoked to Skype with my kids beginning next week and talk to people who live/work near the ocean and KNOW personally of the plastic pollution issues, as if they're in the next room. I know I'll be learning right along with the kids. The genuine questions, discussion, and critical thinking that will come from the kids as a result of these experiences will be beautiful to witness. Who knows where this will lead? This is the beauty of student-driven PBL, or project-based learning. There are no predetermined right and wrong answers, as all those tests would have us believe. There are optimal solutions and multiple paths to a solution.

An elementary school friend who is a marine biologist, illustrator, and owner of Fathom-it Studios, Kirsten Carlson (@kirstencarlson), will Skype with us next week from Germany. Author Darcy Pattison, who just released Wisdom, the Midway Albatross graciously agreed to Skype with the kids as well! I'm working on setting up these FIRST Skypes! Thank you both for agreeing to take time to work with the kids and share your knowledge and passion!

We hope people will visit our SKYPE project shown below and take part in it. My 6th graders and I would enjoy learning from you about the problem and then planning ways to involve our school community (and more?!) in helping!

Here is a powerful TedX video about plastics and pollution. 7 minutes worth your while.