"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
"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!"
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
"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
"I wonder if the kids in Texas wear cowboy boots to school,"
"They probably wonder if you wear grass skirts," Eric
"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
"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
"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."