Virtual Valentine’s

In January, we decided to take a leap and sign up the three, fourth grade classes to take part in a “Virtual Valentine’s Day” exchange.

What is a Virtual Valentine’s?
By taking part in the Virtual Valentine’s Exchange, our class was agreeing to:

  • create virtual Valentine’s for another class
  • respond via email to the other class
  • share our virtual Valentine’s 
  • figure out how far in miles we were from the other class
Why take part in this type of exchange?
When we originally signed up, our learning objective was to flatten the world and expose our students to another set of students within our world. We were hoping to be connected with a class far across the country or even in another country. However, our learning objectives grew drastically. By taking part in the Virtual Valentine’s exchange, we not only flattened the world, but our students were also exposed to:
  • weather discussions
  • technology skills (copy, paste, a new website, embed) 
  • writing practice
  • inquiry
We truly never expected our kids to learn so much from a simple Valentine’s exchange. It was evident that our kids needed more practice with technology skills as this assignment exposed those gaps. Our students had never embedded a link before and this activity taught them how to do that. They also learned how to use a new website and brainstormed ways that we could use this website in class.
So what did the Virtual Valentine’s exchange look like?
The teacher from New Jersey reached out to my class via email.
We responded to her email as a class.
Her class asked us a few questions.
As a class, we responded to those questions and then asked her class questions.
Mrs. S’s class responded to our questions and my students found it funny that they had to research rodeos. It was a great discussion of life in the south versus life living in the east coast. We talked about ranches and farms that exist here versus what their land was like. Since we have been discussing the 13 colonies in social studies, it was perfect timing to talk about New Jersey’s land offerings and what jobs people hold now that they also held back in the 1600s and 1700s. 
At this point, our classes began working on their Virtual Valentine’s “gift” or creation. The Virtual Valentine’s team provided us with these ideas on things we could create for the other class:
Since we had never used Buncee before, our class decided to give it a try. It ended up being a super easy website to use and our kids loved it! In fact, the day after using this website to create virtual valentine’s, the science teacher used bungee in class. She had her students demonstrate similarities and differences between vertebrates and invertebrates. 
Here are a few examples of the buncees our students created. 

Mrs. Seidler’s class, the class we were matched up with, chose to send us a fun video. Watch video here.
What a fun experience that I hope to continue in the future!  As I said earlier, our learning objective originally was to flatten the world and simply do something fun and different. Something to break the traditional learning day. This project became so much more than that. The students learned about another part of our country, but also learned a few new technology skills as well. I challenge you to break the daily cycle and try something new and different with your kiddos!

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