Introduction Getting Ready
Learning Circles Teachers' Guide
Open Circle Plan Projects Share Work Publish
Close Circle Overview

Phase 2 Narrative:

The Learning Circle Comes to Life

"Do you remember what we are going to do today?" Michelle asks her class.

Kanani is the first student with his hand up: "We're going to find out who is in our Learning Circle."

"That's right. Normally, one person will take the disk down to the computer lab to send and receive messages, but today we will all go to the computer lab so we can learn how to do it."

In the lab, Michelle has a copy of the communications software ready on the hard drive. She shows the students how to start the program. "I have written a short note to our Learning Circle saying we are here and ready to communicate," she says as she shows the students her message.

"We are going to log on and find the conference for our Learning Circle. Watch here and you can see what is happening. Hear the dial tone? The modem is dialing....there can you hear those sounds? The modem changes those sounds back into words that we can read. Look we have 4 messages!!! Now we are back to the beginning screen and the phone line is clear. Kimo, pick up the phone and listen. See, we are not connected anymore."

"Mrs. Tanaka, let's read the messages!"

"Yes, let's!"

Michelle is as excited as the students to read the mail. The first one is from a teacher getting into the conference early. The second one is Circle News with the participants and the others are hello messages from other classes. As Mrs. Tanaka's class reads Circle News and learn that they will be communicating with students in Alaska, California, Utah, Texas, New Jersey, Virginia, Monterey, Mexico, Bielefield, Germany and Ontario, Canada! One of the messages is a friendly note from the teacher in California who said she is willing to serve as the Circle Facilitator.

"Wow, they only have 15 students in the whole school from K-12th grade in Alaska!"

"And they go to school on a Ski-doo, whatever that is," adds Kanani who has a special interest in Alaska. He's always wondered what it's like to live in such a cold climate and go to school without sunlight.

"I wonder if the kids in Texas wear cowboy boots to school," asks Kalani.

"They probably wonder if you wear grass skirts," Eric teases.

"All right," starts Mrs. Tanaka, "I am sure we will have the chance to find the answers to your questions, but right now I want to help you send a message. First, we need to fill in the subject header line."

"How about 'Aloha from Crestline'?"

"Or we could say 'Howzit brah'."

"I think we will use 'Aloha' now, but you can use your own greetings later when you send messages. Now we need to add the address for our Learning Circle," she explains. "Every time we send mail to this address all of the classes in our Learning Circle will see our message." The message they write is short but full of enthusiasm.

A few days later Nani races back from the computer lab to announce new messages. Together the class looks over the Classroom Survey as well as two more "hello" messages from the students in Florida and California.

"I am going to make a number of copies of the Classroom Survey and I want you to spend the next few days thinking about these questions. What makes our school unique? What do you want to tell them about our community? Remember, the other students in our Learning Circle will be just as curious to know about us as we are to know about them."

ReturnPhase 2: Opening the Circle...Detailed Description of Phase two
ending with "Opening the Circle" Checklist.

ContinuePhase 3: Narrative...continues the story of Michelle.



Copyright © 1997, 2002, Margaret Riel