I have a dream to have a classroom that is connected worldwide. How inspiring would it be for your kids to have consistent communication with a school across the ocean, or in another state? Kids their age! How much cooler would it be if you could do projects together in any subject!
I made my first big attempt recently. Through my work with Beasts of the Beat I was able to connect with a teacher in New York named Gregg Brienberg, He is the Director of the PS22 Chorus in Staten Island. He is basically the Michael Jordan of music education for me (haha), I have followed him and his kids for over two years. I am inspired over and over by what he does with his kids and the way he gets them to sing. So I just threw it out there and asked him if he would want to do a collaboration for valentines day.
My idea was for both of us to shoot fragmented performances of both of our classes to combine them into one ultimate youtube concert experience. It took at lot of coordinating and communication back and forth but we were able to pull it off. After working the song with both of our classes I did some video editing, staying up WAY too late for a teacher to be up, and put the video together.
Check it out HERE
It was a hit with over 13,000 hits in a week! But even cooler was this; my kids felt connected to students they had never met, their world was a little bit bigger. We wrote them valentines day cards, they sent us cards, it was a fun experience. And kids from both classrooms can look up the performance on youtube and feel like superstars.
This video was not only a big step for me as an educator, it was a big step forward for music education. Imagine the performances that could happen in this format, the connections that could be made, it’s endless.
Enjoy “Love Somebody” featuring the 5th graders of The ps22 Chorus and NPA_Music
6 ideas to connect your classroom with people and experiences outside of your school:
1. As a class, Sponsor a child as a class through Compassion International, write them letters and send them pictures. Talk with your children about what life is like on the other side of the world and why we should take care of each other. Possibly open up the project to families adopting a child together to sponsor.
2. Sell art, cookies, music, or raise money for an effort somewhere in the world like Clean water for Africa
3. Send an e-mail to a teacher in another state and ask if your classes could be pen-pals for the year.
4. If you are a music teacher, e-mail an english teacher in another state and ask for some of their poetry, record a sound-track and send it to them to read their poems over.
5. Science teachers, e-mail a teacher in another state, try doing the same experiment on during the same period of time like growing flowers and see how your results differ in different climates. send pictures and videos!
6. Math teachers, have your kids make math tests for kids at Another school, including an answer key : )