LEARNING CIRCLES ON iEARN into the Third Millennium

Learning Circles are highly interactive, project-based partnerships among a small number of schools located throughout the world. There are two sessions each year, September-January and January-May. To join iEARN Learning Circles, you must first be a member of iEARN and complete an iEARN Learning Circle placement form two weeks before the beginning of the session. Once you complete the placement form you will be placed in a circle for the next session.

 

The Teachers' Guide to Learning Circles, by Margaret Riel provides detailed descriptions of Learning Circles and includes many suggestions on how to structure cross-classroom collaborations in your classrooms.- REVISED Fall 2002-

 

Learning Circle Slide Show

 

Schedule for 2003-2004 Learning Circle Conferences
Learning Circle Themes Teacher Sponsored Themes
Learning Circle Timeline Learning Circle Publications
Circle Publication Templates Instructions for accessing the iEARN Learning Circles through Web Crossing Forums

Learning Circles structuring cross-classroom and researcher collaboration:

Learning Circles have also been taking place for 5 years in French and English as a part of the Global Teenagers Project a project of the International Institute of Communication and Development. .In the March 2003 session, they had 170 classes from 90 secondary schools from 21 counties in Europe, Africa, Central and South America, and the Near East. Student circle interaction can be read from the Virtual Classroom There is a modified version of the Learning Circle Teachers Guide in French and English.

In Mexico, Círculos de Aprendizaje (in Spanish) are currently organized by Carlos Martínez from Monterrey, Mexico (originally organized by Jorge H. Gutiérrez). The Learning Circle Teacher Guide is available in Spanish.

Another project that uses some aspects of the Learning Circle structure and guide is the Friends and Flags Project dedicated to multicultural education, for information on this project contact Karen Eini in Israel. They give teachers the options of registering to be in triangles and squares as well as circles.

Inn 2002-2003, Learning Circles were used to connect researchers. In one project, 20 graduate students engaged in action research worked with each other in 4 Learning Circles as part of their work in an online Masters of Arts in Educational Technology program at Pepperdine university. In a second project, university researchers from 8 institutions and universities formed a Research Learning Circle to exploring methods and findings in online learning support by NSF as a CILT seed grant. The participants are continuing to meet as a research community in Tapped In. Send MargaretR in Tapped In a note if you want to join. Learning

 

Schedule for 2003-2004 Learning Circles

Session 1 (Sep. to Jan.):
Begins September 22 and ends on January 9 (16 weeks with a 2-week break in December). Learning Circle Placement forms are due on September 15.
Session 2 (Jan. to May):
Begins January 26 and ends on May 14 (15 weeks with a 1-week break in Spring). Learning Circle Placement forms are due January 15.

The first edition of CIRCLE NEWS will be posted to all participants announcing the beginning of the "Getting Ready" Phase (Session 1- Sep 22th, Session 2: Jan. 26th). This first phase is one week and it involves testing accounts, and reviewing the Learning Circle Timeline and reading the Learning Circle Teacher's Guide (or Guía del Maestro in Spanish). The next Circle News message will "open the Circle."

Circle News 2 formally opens the Learning Circle session and will contain the names and addresses of the classes that have been placed in each Learning Circle. It invites the teachers and students to begin introductory activities. After teachers and students find out about each other through letters and a class survey, the activity shifts to planning the Circle projects which are drawn from the curriculum of each classroom related to the Circle theme.

To understand more about Learning Circles, read the first section of the Learning Circle Teacher's Guide, look over the "Teacher Comments" at the end of each section of the Teacher's Guide or review a short paper on Learning Circles .

iEARN members can participate in one Learning Circle each session without any additional cost. You must be a member of I*EARN to participate, and you need to complete the Learning Circle Placement Form 2 weeks prior to the start of a session.

Placement forms can be submitted in any time prior to two week before the Learning Circle Session. Late forms are sometimes accepted during the two weeks prior to the start of Learning Circles if there is space in a specific Circle. Applications received after October 1st will be considered for the next session.

 

Learning Circles Themes

Computer Chronicles - This theme promotes writing across the curriculum. Interaction online revolves around producing a newspaper called The Computer Chronicles. Each class has the opportunity to sponsor one or more sections of the newspaper as their Learning Circle project. They solicit articles from their partner classes and edit them to create one section of the newspaper. This section is combined with the other sections sponsored by circles partners to form the completed newspaper, the Circle publication.

Places and Perspectives - Places and Perspectives encourages students to explore regional history, culture, government, and geography by sharing their knowledge with people from different locations. The goal is to help students understand how historical events and geographic conditions interact to help shape their lives and gives them a deeper understanding of themselves, their families and their communities. Each classroom sponsors a project for a section in the Places and Perspectives Review. For instance, a classroom might sponsor a section on local legends, interview native inhabitants or the elderly, describe the historical attractions of the area, examine local constitutions, or compare weather patterns, map studies.

MindWorks - Mind Works is an writing theme designed to enhance creative and expository writing as well as develop different forms of self-expression. The goal is to help student learn how to communication their thoughts and feelings in writing, then share and compare them with other students from distant places. The Circle publication for Mind Works is a literary magazine that might be called Creative Minds, Mind Works or a name selected by the group. The sponsored projects could be a specific form of writing such as: personal narratives, place poetry, city dialogues, school fables, local myths or personifications of local products. Or students can select a topic to sponsor and request different forms of expression on subjects like the family, jobs, schools or cities.

Teacher Sponsored Themes

Teachers are invited to sponsor a theme for a Learning Circle. We will list it in this space to help create this special circle.

 

If you would like to facilitate a special theme Learning Circle,

send information to mriel@us.iearn.org

 

 

 

Learning Circles Conferences

These conference are like classrooms. They are intended for use by the students and teachers who are part of the Learning Circle. They are private spaces for the work of teaching and learning. We hope to be posting excerpts of student publications soon.

These conferences are listed here to make it easy for those who are members of a Learning Circle to use this web page to interact with their Circle partners. If you want to be a part of a Learning Circle, you are most welcome but first need to be a member of iEARN. If you want to know more about these Learning Circle themes, click on a theme icon.

Computer Chronicles
cce1 Computer Chronicles --elementary school level

ccm1 Computer Chronicles --middle school level
cch1 Computer Chronicles --high school level

Places and Perspectives
ppe1 Places and Perspectives --elementary school level
ppm1 Places and Perspectives --middle school level
pph1 Places and Perspectives --high school level

MindWorks
mwe1 Mind Works --elementary school level
mwm2 Mind Works --middle school level
mwh1 Mind Works --high school level

 

Information on how to access Learning Circles through the iEARN WEB CROSSING FORUMS

 

 

Learning Circle Publications

 

While not all Learning Circle Teachers have access to the Web, this is increasing each session. Teachers have been working with their students to put their section of the publication, their Learning Circle Projects on the web. We are also beginning to have the complete circle publications online.

Congratulations to the students and teachers of the following Learning Circles for

creating online Learning Circle Publications!

Jan-June 2003 Computer Chronicles (Middle)

Jan-Jun-2002 Places and Perspectives (elementary)

Jan-Jun 2002 Computer Chronicles (Middle)

Sep-Jan 2001 Computer Chronicles (Elementary)

Sep-Jan 2000 Computer Chronicles (Elementary)

Jan-May 2000 MindWorks Learning Circle (Elementary)

Jan-May 2000 Places and Perspectives Learning Circle (Elementary)

Jan-May 2000 Special Topic: Expo 2000-Creative Writing Projects (High School)

Sep 1999-Jan 2000 Special Topic: Expo 2000-Environmental Projects (High School)

Sep-Jan 99-00 Computer Chronicles (Elementary)

Jan-May 1999 Computer Chronicles Learning Circle (Elementary)

Sep-Jan 98-99 Computer Chronicles (Elementary)

Jan-May 1998 Computer Chronicles Learning Circle (Elementary)

Jan-May 1998 Places and Perspectives (High School).

 

Also please visit the Learning Circle Projects which are individual school's contribution to their Learning Circle Publication.

 

 

Learning Circle Publication Templates

 

To help schools create online publications, we have created some templates and graphics that can be used to help create your web page documents. For each type of Learning Circle there are two templates. One is the index with the list of schools and the name of the projects. The second is a project or section template to be used for projects or sections created by each school. Copy the source code and the graphics and modify use any html editor to modify for your Learning Circle.

Templates
Mind Works Index Template Mind Works Project Template
Places and Perspectives Index Template Places and Perspective Project Template
Computer Chronicles Index Template Computer Chronicles Section Template


 


LEARNING CIRCLE TIMELINE --2003-2004

 

Getting Ready 

Prior to Week 1 

Sep. 22-26

Teachers log on to I*EARN, receive Circle News and read the Teacher's Guide. They introduce the concept of Learning Circles to their students. 

 

Opening the Circle 

(2 weeks) 

Sep 29 - Oct 10

Learning Circle interaction begins. Classes log on and respond to the Electronic Roll Call. Each teacher sends an introductory message to the on-line Learning Circle conference. Teachers and students prepare and send their responses to the Classroom Survey. Welcome Packs are mailed to postal addresses.

Planning the Learning Circle Projects 

(2 weeks)

Oct. 13- Oct 24

Teachers in the Learning Circle discuss the projects proposed in the Classroom Survey. Each class selects a section to sponsor. The class sends a message to the conference describing the information it would like to receive.

 

Exchanging Student Work 

(6 weeks)

Oct 27 - Nov. 28

Student work on different projects is collected and sent to the Learning Circle conference at least once or twice a week. Teachers and students continue to plan and share work related to the Learning Circle projects. (Most groups will be out of school for at least a week during this period, the circle continues with those who are in school).

 

Organizing the Circle Publication 

(3 weeks) 

Dec 1 - Jan 2

Students evaluate, select, and edit the articles they received for their project. Teachers work with students in their classroom to layout and print their section of the Circle publication. Schools exchange project reports (electronically or via postal mail) and assemble their Circle publication.

Closing the Circle 

(1 week) 

Jan 5th- Jan 9th

Teachers and students send their final good-bye messages to the conference and the Learning Circle closes. The Christmas Break is used as time for mailing sections to the schools with the final comments and good-byes taking place when many students return to school in Jan. The list will still be active for a week after the end of Learning Circles to make sure all final messages are received.

 



LEARNING CIRCLE TIMELINE -- 2004

Getting Ready 

Prior to Week 1 

Jan. 26 - Jan 30

Teachers log on to I*EARN, receive Circle News and read the Teacher's Guide. They introduce the concept of Learning Circles to their students. 

Opening the Circle 

(2 weeks)

Feb. 2 - Feb. 13

Learning Circle interaction begins. Classes log on and respond to the Electronic Roll Call. Each teacher sends an introductory message to the on-line Learning Circle conference. Teachers and students prepare and send their responses to the Classroom Survey. Welcome Packs are mailed to postal addresses.

Planning the Learning Circle Projects 

(2 weeks)

Feb.16 - Feb 27

Teachers in the Learning Circle discuss the projects proposed in the Classroom Survey. Each class selects a section to sponsor. The class sends a message to the conference describing the information it would like to receive.

Exchanging Student Work 

(6 weeks)

Mar. 1 - Apr. 16

Student work on different projects is collected and sent to the Learning Circle conference at least once or twice a week. Teachers and students continue to plan and share work related to the Learning Circle projects. (Most groups will be out of school for at least a week during this period, the circle continues with those who are in school).

Organizing the Circle Publication 

Weeks 11-13 

Apr. 19 - May 7

Students evaluate, select, and edit the articles they received for their project. Teachers work with students in their classroom to layout and print their section of the Circle publication. Schools exchange project reports (electronically or via postal mail) and assemble their Circle publication.

Closing the Circle 

Week 14 

May 10 - May 14

Teachers and students send their final good-bye messages to the conference and the Learning Circle closes. The list will still be active for a few weeks after the end of Learning Circles to make sure all final messages are received.

 

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Learning Circle Coordinator for iEARN:

Margaret Riel

mriel@us.iearn.org

 

Last update July 2003