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

Phase 4 Narrative:

The Electronic Exchange

"Hey, Nainoa, Susan, Tim! Look, what we got from California. It's their project description. We were so worried that they wouldn't send one."
"Great news," Tim replies. "What else came?"
"Look, here are some answers to the questions kids in Utah asked about Alaska."
"Look at this one, it's about the Northern Lights."
"Are there any answers for our project?" asks Nina.
"No, but Canada sent a note saying they are giving our survey to all of the 6th to 8th grade classes and they will be sending the results in the format we specified on Friday."
"Mrs. Tanaka, can Al and I send our work for Utah's project? I interviewed my brother and his partners yesterday and I did the writing in the lab during our free time."
"Let me see a printout before you send it. What a good idea to interview your brother, I forgot that he would be perfect! Maybe you could ask him to come talk to our class. I still remember when he was a student here!"

Michelle is pleased to see how excited her students are to read messages and get involved in the projects. It doesn't bother her that it takes a few minutes for her students to settle down in the morning. It's become a normal part of their Learning Network routine. When they come in each morning, they find any new messages posted on the Learning Network bulletin board. They always spend some time crowding around to see what's new. The best part is that she no longer hears--"Mrs. Tanaka, what should I do or where can I find this?" Instead, her students look to the network for directions and are actively exploring and creating their own networks of information sources. Many of Michelle's students have always lived in Hawaii. For some, this is the first time they have cared to find out about life on the Mainland and beyond. Her students have taken a new interest in maps, the globe, time zones, ice storms, tornadoes, dog sleds, and even technology.

Michelle knows the excitement her students feel. It's the same feeling she has when she receives messages from the other teachers in her Learning Circle. She initially joined the Learning Circles for her students, to give them a way to reach out beyond their island life, but the communication with other teachers has been surprisingly useful for her as well. Welda Hunt's experience in Utah teaching Native Americans was in many ways similar to her own experience teaching native Hawaiian students. The package of instructional materials that Welda sent from her district was so helpful that she organized a workshop at her school to share it with other teachers. Eric Soot in Texas told her about a great science lab software package which was just perfect for her school. And, after a particularly hectic week of endless giving to her students, she was surprised at how rewarding it felt when Leanne Schmidt began her message by recognizing her as a "super" teacher. What a treat to interact with adults!

School is over for the day, but there are a few students who always stay a little longer to send the class transmission to the Learning Circle. Michelle lets the students take care of sending and receiving mail as this gives her more time to get the room ready for the next day. Students have already learned how to use the cut and paste method to get their message online quickly. They push reply and then paste and laugh as the computer types their messages at super speed.

"Mrs. Tanaka, we are ready! Can we send them?"
"Have you checked to see that each article lists the authors' names and our school name?"
"Yes, and we are sending an update message listing everything we have sent so far."
"Well, you guys are doing a great job! Yes, send it off right now."

The students grab the disk and rush to the lab. They listen as the computer dials the phone and the modem transforms their carefully typed information into a stream of sound.

ReturnPhase 4: Exchanging Student Work...Detailed Description of Phase four
ending with "Exchanging Student Work" Checklist.

ContinuePhase 5: Narrative...continues the story of Michelle.



Copyright © 1997, 2002, Margaret Riel