I finally took the leap this semester and assigned Skype jobs. I came across the concept of Skype jobs through Silvia Tolisano’s Langwitches blog. With Skype jobs, all students have a role. Whether it’s being a greeter, summarizing the chat, or recording the session, every student has his/her own responsibility. This concept inspired me so much that I decided to try it with my fourth graders. And let me say, it was an awesome experience.
The mere mention of having a job was something that immediately sparked interest in my students. They were thrilled at the thought of being in charge of something and knowing that they contributed to the chat. Instead of sitting back and waiting for me to tell them when to talk or waiting to talk at all, they now had a roadmap of what was expected.
The topic of our chat was very unique for gifted learners as well. Both classes were responsible for sharing and solving Rebus Puzzles that we researched prior to our chat. Here is a snapshot of the jobs and sequence of events for this particular chat:
1.Greeter- Responsible for answering the call, greeting our partner class, and having our class introduce themselves.
2.Speaker A- This student introduced how to solve our Rebus puzzles, which were picture based. This student also had to give a few simple examples of these and had the partner class solve them. As the partner class gave guesses, all our students provide clues.
3.Speaker B- This student reminded our partner class of the rules for solving and introduced new elements to the more advanced puzzles. Next, he presented several more difficult puzzles to solve.
4.Closer- After our Q & A session, this student thanked our partner class, said goodbye, and ended the call.
Before the closing, our partner class presented Rebus puzzles for us to solve. These puzzles were very different to the ones we had because they reflected Think-o-Grams, where words are used to show different expressions. My students enjoyed solving these and even appreciated the challenging ones!
Reflecting on the experience, I noticed that we had two students who did not get an opportunity to share their puzzles or complete their job. I did not anticipate this and will plan to have a back-up job for instances like this. Some jobs I am considering adding are having a student take pictures with a digital camera while the other records the session on a flip camera or camcorder.