Thursday, March 6, 2008

Monsters Are Coming

I had heard about The Monster Exchange Project a couple of years ago. I don't think I ever went to the actual web site. I don't even think I had seen the Education World article I just linked to. It was just a project I had read about somewhere.

I have always wanted to do this type of project. Before I realized how globally connected my thinking could be, I tried to find a local school to partner with. It just never worked out.

Last year, I had the two fourth grade classes I taught have a monster exchange between the classes. It was fun. They enjoyed drawing their monsters and writing a description. They learned a lot about how important it was to be very descriptive of their monsters. Everyone thought that they wrote good, clear sentences. When they had to use someone else's description, they were shocked at the lack of detail. They were even more shocked when the other students had trouble following their write up. Once they compared their writing to the drawing the other student produced, it was easy to see where their own writing was lacking.

This year, I am part of the Twitter network. In a very serendipitous way, I happened upon @abaralt - a teacher in Florida about two days ago. Last night, she wrote that was looking for a partner for her second grade class in a monster exchange. A short email later and we're hooked up. She recommended two great books to introduce the lesson: Go Away, Big Green Monster by Ed Emberely and Hairy Scary Ordinary, What is an Adjective? by Brian Cleary. I almost fell over when the librarian had the second title on the shelf.

I spoke to the second grade teacher and explained the plan. She's going to help the students pre-write a paragraph so that it can be typed into Word. I only have 35 minutes once per week in the computer class, so this will help in a big way.

I'm off and running with a project that I've been wanting to do for a while. I can't wait!

Image Citation:
Monsters From England Web Page

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