1. Have a Mystery Skype Call

Overview: Two classes connect via Skype (or Google HangOuts). Neither knows the location of the other caller. Yes/No questions are asked to determine the mystery location. Jobs were created for the students so everyone could take part!

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Here is a blog link with the jobs and photos of the experience.
Silvia Tolisano's (@langwitches) video of our Mystery Skype Call:

Below is a modified blog post about our first Mystery Skype call with Langwitches.

Mrs. Tolisano invited Mrs. Yollis' class to be part of a Mystery Skype call with a group of teachers!

♪ ♬ ♫ We opened our call by singing the Hello Song! ♪ ♬ ♫

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Mrs. Tolisano came on and explained the rules: Two groups come together via Skype, but neither know the other's location. Closed questions, or questions that can only be answered with a YES or a NO answer, were permitted. If a question got a YES answer, a follow-up question was awarded. (Option: Some teachers prefer to alternate questions as it allows more processing time for each group. So, one class asks a questions and then the other class gets a turn to ask a question.)

Every third grader contributed and tried to solve the Mystery. Before the call, the class created some useful jobs and gathered resources that would help them be good geography detectives.

Because Mrs. Yollis' third graders were younger than the teachers who were with Langwitches, the students got to ask first.

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We decided that three students should be our Inquirers. They asked the yes or no questions.

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Two Question Keepers sat next to the Inquirers and typed the questions and answers in Word. It was helpful to review the yes and no answers quickly.

Below is a photo of the questions that Mrs. Yollis' third graders asked and the answers they received.

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Click to Enlarge

Others were Google Mappers. They used Google Maps and traditional atlases to zero in on the clues.

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A few students used our giant atlas we call "Big Blue" to find the mystery location.

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Another station was filled with Logical Reasoners. They listened to the clues and tried to eliminate states that did not match the clues. Logical Reasoners helped clarify if a question was logical or illogical before it was asked. For example, if the class had determined that the mystery class lived WEST of the Mississippi, it would be illogical to ask about states that were East of the Mississippi. With so much going on, it is good to have dedicated logical reasoners!

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Right behind the Inquirers were the Clue Keepers. They collected relevant information from everyone. This visual map kept by the Clue Keepers was quite helpful!

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Two students took notes on TodaysMeet.
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Nick was the Runner. If students had problems, Nick would try and solve them. In addition, he would run facts to the Inquirers that the Logical Reasoners wanted to contribute.

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It was a very close game filled with fantastic questions, but we were running low on time! The adults gave the third graders a final clue that they thought would really help. They said, "Pony Express."
Mrs. Yollis supervised the Googlers. The Googlers job was to research important words for clues. The Googlers looked up the term "Pony Express".

Mrs. Yollis' class asked if the Mystery Callers lived in St. Joseph, Missouri. The answer was Yes!

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The students then offered the teachers a big clue: Our city has the largest population in California!

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Kristen was our phabulous photographer!

Here is a Google Doc to connect with others who want to have a Mystery Skype Call! (Thank you Mr. Avery!)

2. Have a Share & Compare!

Communities:In third grade, we learn about different types of communities: urban, suburban, and rural. We are a suburban community, so we connect with other class to learn about their community. Share facts so students can compare and learn.

  • Rural Community:

  1. Open the Door to B-4 (In New Zealand)
  2. Mrs. Pearson's Class (in Iowa)

  • Urban Community:

  1. Borough of Brooklyn (in New York City)


Countries: We are blogging buddies with classes all over the world.
  • Here we learned about the differences between the northern and southern hemispheres! Kathleen Morris (@kathleen_morris) and Kelly Jordan (@kellyjordan82)
  • Here we had a Blogging Buddy Party! Students in my class stayed after school one hour while Kathleen Morris (@kathleen_morris) and Kelly Jordan (@kellyjordan82) students came to school an hour early! Students enjoyed sharing songs and interests with their buddies!

3. Share a Class Project!

Mr. Salsich (@jmsalsich) and his class in Connecticut turned their room into a rain forest! They were sharing their project with other classes at their school. I asked if we could join in and learn from our room in California! Here is a post of this fantastic Skype call exchange.