Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Mystery Skype: We got SKILLS!

I know I keep mentioning TCEA in all of my posts, but that is where I was exposed to all of the amazing ideas/resources that I have been using this second semester.  My classroom has literally been transformed in a short period of time.  Again, some things are the same, like I still have some students who are reluctant to work and there are other students who just have "their days" more often than not, but I can honestly say that as a whole, my class is a different, more positive, more exciting place to be!  I definitely don't want everyone getting the impression that I (and technology) are miracle workers! 

Anyways, another resource that I have begun to implement in my classroom is Skype.  When I heard about using Skype in the classroom at TCEA, I was enthralled by the ideas they gave:  skyping with heroes/champions to inspire your students, skyping with students from a different country, etc... these ideas were right up my alley, and would more easily allow me to work towards some of my goals that I have as a teacher:  connecting my students with the outside world and encouraging them to be open-minded and culturally aware. 

First I used Skype to connect my students with Mark Wood from Mt. Everest (which I STILL have to post about...) and now I am connecting my students with other students through Mystery Skype.  I actually learned about Mystery Skype and made my connections for Mystery Skype by using another social media source :  TWITTER. (which I will be doing a sparate post about, b/c I am in looooove!)  Now, onto the wonders of Mystery Skype...

Like I said, I started with Mystery Skype, because as a person and a teacher, and a "a dreamer" (John Lennon), I have a vision of our world that I would like to contribute to, and I will continually do that through the education of my students, who are future citizens of our world.  I thought that by using Skype in the classroom, that I would give my students access to the outside world and be able to open their eyes to the different kinds of people who are out there so that they will be more prepared to enter our world and interact with all types of people.  I want to give them as many memorable and beneficial experiences as possible while they are with me.

Although I originally looked at Skype only as a source of communication, I did not realize the critical real world skills that my students would gain from participating in such an activity. 

The premise is: Students have to work together in order to guess where the other class is calling from by asking them a series of yes or no questions.  Each and every student is assigned a job, based on their preference and the teacher's final decision.  This gets all students involved in some part of the action, which gives them a sense of belonging, unlike any other activity I have done in my classroom before. 

I explained each of the jobs to students and the characteristics required of the person who would do the job.  Students had to engage in self-evaluation in order to decide which job they would be good for.  Then, based on their success in that position, the next time we Skype, they may choose to stay in that job, or (like what ended up happening to most of my students) they may realize that they did not choose the best job for them and will try out a different job next time.  I think this experience is SO beneficial for them!  Self-evaluation and experience with different jobs, the realization that certain jobs are meant for certain people based on the characteristics of the job and the strengths/weaknesses of the person, is crucial! 

Some of the other critical skills that Mystery Skype builds in students by requiring them to engage as a part of a team in order to be successful are: accountability, responsibility, map skills, critical and logical thinking, working with others, patience, a sense of the world and where they are in comparison with others, communication, on the spot decision making, and technology experience. 

Just think: What would happen if teachers made this activity a REGULAR part of their classroom and students worked this multitude of skills on a weekly/monthly basis without realizing it!?!

Would they be more prepared for the next grade level?  For the future??? 

We ALL have access to these tools to let us connect our children...LET'S CONNECT!

                CLICK HERE to view our experience!

Job Assignments


  1. I am so sad I was not able to make either of the two sessions! I hope I can make the next one!

  2. I had sooooo much fun at last week's Mystery Skype! Thank you for inviting me! Let me know when you are holding the next one :)