Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Virtual Career Skype Tour: Talking with Kristan Cunningham

This week we kick started our Virtual Career Skype Tour with the very own HGTV star, Kristan Cunningham. Kristan is the former host of Design on a Dime and is now working on a new show that will air on the OWN Network.

Our call started with a brief introduction, where Kristan outlined her educational background and work experiences. The remainder of the call was dedicated to student-led interviews, which covered a variety of questions from what skills and preparation are necessary for a career in interior design to what are the challenges and perks of your job. Before the call, my students researched the different expectations for careers in the arts field and compiled questions that related specifically to the field of interior design.

Throughout the call, students also had assigned Skype jobs. Because this was our first call of the school year with this particular group, I chose to keep my jobs simple and to a minimum so that students can focus on our guest speaker. The three main jobs were super stars, question keepers, and blog writers. The super stars were in charge of answering the call and interviewing our guest speaker while the question keepers kept track of the questions being asked and noted any additional questions that came up during the call. The remaining students were blog writers and took notes on key points that could be mentioned on a blog post about this event.

Our call was a success thanks to Kristan's insight and honest perspective on working in the field of interior design and television. She offered some great advice for students who are interested in this career path. We were glad she took the time to talk to us and were thrilled about being featured in the local news!

Have a look at the interview below.

Here is a video of our media coverage.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Math Skype Buddies

Last week we had our first Skype call of the school year with our friends in Nebraska as part of our Teaching Enrichment Activities Time. During this part of the day, we focus on reviewing and applying different math skills in a fun way. And what a better way to review place value than by playing a guessing game!

I choose the game 0-99 Guess from the book, Mega-Fun Math Games: 70 Quick and Easy Games to Build Math Skills by Dr. Michael Schiro and Anna Walker. This book contains many hands-on and engaging activities that are well suited for our TEA Time. First, each team had to select a number from 0-99 and the objective was to have each team ask a series of yes or no questions to guess the opposing team’s number.

I added an extra component by assigning Skype jobs during the game to engage all my students. Here is a list of the jobs we had for this game:

1. Super Stars- These two students greeted our partner class and sat in front of the webcam to ask the yes/no questions.

2. Number Keeper- This student was in charge of writing our class number and referring to it when we were asked questions by our partner class.

3. Runners- I divided my class into two groups so that each group could take turns asking questions to our partner class. I assigned a runner in each group and their job was to obtain the question that was to be asked and whisper it to one of the Super Stars. Runners had to also check with question keepers and problem solvers at their table before delivering their questions to the Super Stars.

4. Question Keepers- I also had one question keeper in each group. Their job was to write down all the questions that we asked in order to ensure that we did not have any duplicate questions.

5. Problem Solvers- I assigned this job to the remaining students in my class. Each problem solver had a laminated 0-99 chart that they could mark on. Their job was to eliminate numbers throughout the game.

Overall, my students had a blast playing the game with another class. They worked well as a team and used their problem solving skills to eliminate numbers. I was also impressed by how they carried out their Skype jobs. We look forward to future calls with our Math Skype Buddies!