Mystery Skype was great! Mystery Skype is when two classes communicate through Skype to try and guess the other's location by asking yes/no questions by using maps and other identifying questions (i.e., does your state have two words in its name). The kids all have a job. We have one student who is a greeter/closer, one student who records the information on chart paper, two students who conduct research online to try to answer unknown questions, and to help narrow down the states, and the rest of the students use their maps to try and guess the state.
For our first Mystery Skype we spoke with students from a private school called Colorado Academy in Colorado. We learned that it is very important to ask specific questions that will eliminate many states, and also to answer the questions accurately. Unfortunately, we were given some misinformation and weren't able to guess their state before they guessed ours, but it was still a lot of fun! We learned that they go to school from August-May and have a shorter school year than we do. They also had a shorter school day.
On Tuesday we Skyped with Hammond School in South Carolina, another private school. We did not win this round of Mystery Skype, but it was very close! Finally, today, we Skyped with a private school in Illinois and this time, we did win! I was so impressed with the questions the students were coming up with in order to narrow their choices. They were using information from 5 different maps in order to guess correctly. We have a few more Mystery Skypes planned ahead. Now that we have experience, I think we will be a tough group to beat!
In addition to Mystery Skyping, we were lucky enough to hear Matt Tavares speak to us about his books, his life, and the process that goes into writing a book. Matt Tavares is the author and illustrator of 7 nonfiction books and the illustrator of 11 more nonfiction books. His illustrations are just amazing. Some of the books he has authored include Growing up Pedro, Becoming Babe Ruth, There Goes Ted Williams, and Zachary's Ball, just to name a few!
Of course there was a lot of learning that went on in addition to all of the fun we had. Hopefully some of the learning was fun as well! This week, we wrapped our multiplication and division of fractions unit and investigated persuasive writing. Next week we will prepare and take the math test and start writing persuasive pieces of writing. More fun ahead!