Here's a little update on our State Project. As you may or may not know, our 4th graders are studying the United States. Each student has a state to research and will put together a final project at the end of the project. We are trying to conduct interviews with other students to learn more about each state. For example, instead of just learning about North Carolina from a book or website, our students are going to interview someone who lives there. That way, they are getting information from a different perspective. Last year, we used Skype for the video interviews, but could also use Google Talk if needed this year. Our students interviewed entire classes as well as small groups of students. It doesn't matter to us, whatever works best for those involved is fine. We found that taking advantage of the technology available not only is exciting, but also a great way for our students to connect with other students and classes around the country.

The interviews will last about ten minutes with our students asking the questions listed below. We'd love to hear answers from most or all of the questions.

What do you like best about living in your state?
What are a few things your state is most famous for?
Are there any famous people from your state? (What are they famous for?)
What are some things to do in your state that can't be done in most other states?
What is the biggest city in your state and how far away is your school from that city?
If we came to visit your state, where should we go and what should we do?
Are there any other interesting facts you'd like to tell us about your state?

Last year, the students on both ends of the conversation had a blast. I hope that continues this year.


  1. H. Leon // May 18, 2009 at 8:47 AM  

    Hello, I follow you on twitter (haleon) and noticed your tweet about this project. I teach in the computer lab at a Chicago elementary school. When do you plan on starting the interviews? We might be able to participate.
    H. Leon
    Sandoval School

  2. Justin Kifer // May 18, 2009 at 10:59 AM  

    Chad, I was contacted in a round and about way through Julie LaChance about your project. I am a Technology Integration Specialist here at Nutter Fort Intermediate in Nutter Fort WV. I was wondering if you needed help from WV. We have video teleconfrencing capability here at the schoo and I am sure we could arrange something else if needed. Feel free to contact me if you are interested in hearing from West Virginia.

    Justin Kifer
    Technology Integration Specialist
    Nutter Fort Intermediate
    Phone: (304) 326-7514

  3. Justin Kifer // May 18, 2009 at 11:34 AM  

    Sorry I forgot to leave my e-mail address. It is

  4. smadlinger // May 19, 2009 at 11:53 AM  

    Thanks for the Skype video chat! I am glad we were able to connect once again this year. The students always get so much out of this very easy project. I look forward to beginning our own States Project for 5th grade here or 4th grade MO Regions Project next year. Fantastic example of accountability & 21st Century Learning!

  5. Mark Barnes // May 23, 2009 at 9:36 AM  

    Great question. I teach several online courses on creating classroom websites and using web 2.0, so I'm always looking for the new stuff, so I can remain current.

    What I find is that I tend to teach more of what I've always relied on -- the apps that don't disappoint. My wiki is as steady as April rain, and the people that run it are always tweaking it to make it better. I podcast at Gcast, because it's as simple a program to use as I've found.

    I've used several student blogs, but none is as reliable and easy as ePals, so I tend to keep directing my course participants back to it.

    I've seen many awesome community sites, but from a teaching standpoint, Voicethread is hard to beat.

    So, the long-winded answer to your question, I believe, is be sure to stay current, but always fall back on what you can trust.

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