January 10, 2010


Filed under: January — mbrown @ 7:54 pm

… connect with classrooms around the world.

by Melissa Brown

Technologies such as Skype and interactive video conferencing make it easy for students to work on projects with students in other classrooms anywhere in the world. Rather than assigning a student project and limiting participation to just the students in one classroom, teachers are using the Internet to connect with other classrooms within their own school building, across districts, and even classrooms in other countries. This month, we wanted to share some of the more popular Web sites that are designed to make it easy for teachers to find other teachers who are interested in participating in collaborative projects.

Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education


CIESE sponsors dozens of collaborative projects for K-12 classrooms in math and science. Participation is free and each project has a Fall and Spring session that classrooms can choose to participate in. Here are some sample topics that students will explore:

  • How does our proximity to the equator affect hours of sunlight and daily temperature?
  • Human genetics: do dominant traits occur more frequently than recessive traits?
  • Are organisms found in pond water the same all over the world?
  • What impact are humans having on oceans?
  • Compare the water quality of your local lake, stream, or pond with fresh water sources around the world.

These are just a few of the projects and resources available to you at this Web site.



ePals is the largest global learning community on the Internet. It provides a place for students, educators, and districts around the world to connect and collaborate in a safe and secure environment. ePALS provides three free, user-friendly solutions for educators. SchoolMail, SchoolBlog, and Classroom Match are easy to set up and are closely monitored for kid-safe content. Using ePals’ instant translation tool, students can communicate easily with students around the world in eight different languages. No additional hardware or software is needed to use ePals; a computer with an Internet connection is all you need to get started.

ePals’ Projects Page has projects covering a wide variety of subjects including: global warming, habitats, water, weather, and focus areas such as the election, black history, human rights, and geography. You can join an existing project, or post a project of your own and ePals’ Connect with Classrooms feature will help you find a classroom to collaborate with. Teacher guides, helpful tips, and easy-to-follow instructions are provided to help you get started on your project right away. Visit the Web site for complete details.


Global Schoolhouse is a project registry that has an archive of more than 2,300 collaborative projects completed. There are 73 projects currently in progress with 48 still accepting registrations and 10 future projects already registered. This Internet projects registry is hosted by the Global SchoolNet Foundation. Here are some new projects that are starting this spring:

  • Homes where we live – Social Studies Project
  • e-Iditerod Project – Community Interest Project
  • Catch Winter Olympics Fever – Social Studies/Math/P.E. Project
  • Wally Mammoth Blog Project – Language Project
  • Hello God, Nice to Meet You – IT/Language/Social Studies Project

Visit Global Schoolnet for complete details about each project.




Journey North is a free Internet-based project that allows students to track wildlife  migration and seasonal change. Projects are divided into three categories: Sunlight and the Seasons, Plants and the Seasons, and Seasonal Migrations. Teachers can go to the Web site and choose a project, register for the project, and then access the guides, lesson activities, reading connections and interactive maps for each project.

This Spring the Sunlight and Seasons project is a “mystery class” project that runs from February through May 2009. Each week students will record their local sunrise and sunset times and calculate day length on their data sheets. At the same time, 10 mystery classes will record the same data, which will be posted on Friday of each week. On May 1 students will be asked to predict where the 10 mystery classes are hiding, using their knowledge of sunrise and sunset times throughout the year for areas with proximity to the equator and the data posted by the 10 mystery classrooms each week.

The Plants and Seasons project will track the arrival of spring by keeping an eye on Red Emperor tulips planted by 400 classrooms this past fall. Students will record the progress on real-time maps. The Seasonal Migrations project has eight projects available this spring. The Spring projects available are:  Whooping Cranes, Bald Eagles, Hummingbirds, Robins, Monarch Butterflies, Symbolic Migration, Gray Whales, and a general project called Other Favorite Signs of Spring.  Visit Journey North for complete details.

Monster Exchange


Monster Exchange is an extremely popular K-8 English writing collaborative project that challenges students to draw a monster and write a detailed description of it  to send to another student. The receiving student then draws a picture of the monster based on the description provided and sends it to the creator to compare to the original. The pictures are scanned and posted online at the Monster Gallery. Students then receive feedback through e-mail. The Monster Exchange project is designed to meet educational standards for Language Arts grammar and writing skills. There are currently more than 182,000 students participating in this project.




Flat Stanley is a pen pal project that originated in Ontario, Canada. Students create a paper Flat Stanley using a template available at the Web site. They keep a journal of Flat Stanley’s adventures and then send him on to another classroom as a guest. The host classroom keeps a journal of their adventures with their Flat Stanley guest and sends it back to the original classroom. Some classes have taken video journals, some participate through  e-mail, and others create photo journals and Web sites of their adventures with Flat Stanley. He’s been all over the world! Visit the Web site and read success stories, visit the photo gallery, register (it’s free) and find a class to partner with. The site is also filled with great ideas for classroom projects with Flat Stanley, including research and creative writing topics, art, drama, modeling, and inventions. Each idea comes with a Hint of the Week to help teachers find creative ways to use Flat Stanley in the classroom.

Jenuine Tech


This site was created in 1999 to help teachers in Pre-K-6 classrooms integrate technology into the classroom in creative and effective ways. You will find a list of projects, online seminars, a blog, and helpful resources. The creator of the site, Jennifer Wagner, has hosted more than 50 online collaborative projects. At the site you will find a wonderful archive of all of those projects that will certainly inspire some new ideas for your classroom. You will also find a list of current projects. Here are a few of the projects available now:

  • Guess the Wordle – students practice problem solving skills by deciphering a new wordle each day. They will conduct research to find locations, dates, important events, and commonalities between words.
  • St. Patrick’s Day Project – a site is provided with project details, language arts, math, and computer skills activities, printable worksheets, standards, and additional resources.
  • Happy Birthday Green Eggs and Ham – students are invited to participate in cooking, math, art, history, and literature ideas.

More projects will be posted this spring, registration is free.

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