Flattening Classroom Walls!

After two years of blogging, and exchanging a plethora of comments with classes around the world from Canada, to New Zealand, to the heartland of America, we finally connected via Skype with a class in Connecticut, Mrs. Emerick’s 6th grade wave riders!  This visit is the epitome, so far!, of our blogging adventure.  We spent two half hour sessions chatting with our blogging buddies about summer reading books, sports, band, school uniforms, book trailers, brain teasers, Genius Hour, and of course, blogging!

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Mrs. Emerick on our Apple t.v. during our Skype visit

Capturing my students on the iPad as we Skype with Mrs. Emerick's class.

Capturing my students on the iPad as we Skype with Mrs. Emerick’s class.

We learned that we have a lot in common:

  • The book we read for summer last year, A Long Walk to Water, by Linda Sue Park, is what Mrs. Emerick’s students will read this summer!
  • We love to play sports and music.
  • We love blogging and Skyping!
  • We don’t love homework (teachers included).

We learned we have a few differences:

  • In Connecticut, lacrosse is favorite sport; in Florida soccer reigns supreme.
  • Mrs. Emerick’s class created book trailers on Animoto; Mrs. Donofrio’s class will learn how to create book trailers on Animoto.
  • The Floridians are on summer vacation now!  The New Englanders have to wait until June 23rd.


Next year we hope to Skype more often.  In addition to our high tech pen pal system, i.e. blogging, we will put the Pony Express to work as well and send each other some postcards this summer.  We are also hoping to share in each other’s curricula in new ways.

Participating in blogging and Skyping makes me think about all the ways education has changed since I was a middle school student in the early 1980s.   We barely knew what schools around the block were doing, never mind across the country or around the world!  The biggest technological advancements were erasable pens and dustless chalk.   Grades came home on papers in schoolbags.  Now we can visit schools around the world and engage with them through blogging, Vimeo, Skype, YouTube, and Educreations, among other technologies.  Parents can much more actively participate in their children’s learning.  Today I used my iPad to email a mom a video of her daughter participating in a Chinese tea and speaking Chinese.  Another mom asked me to post my grammar lessons which we record on Educreations on the blog next year.

Here is a photo of a classroom, 1978, and another now 2014.  I am in both photos!  Can you find me?

Mrs. Donofrio- Grade 5, 1978.  Sister Lois taught our class "nitty gritty grammar".

Mrs. Donofrio- Grade 5, 1978. Sister Lois taught our class “nitty gritty grammar”

Mrs. Donofrio-language arts teacher grade 7, 2014.

Mrs. Donofrio-language arts teacher grade 7, 2014.














What changes do you see in teaching and learning over the last 30 years?  Ask your parents to comment also!

Thank you to Mrs. Emerick and her 6th graders for helping us end our school year so fantastically!  The walls are tumbling down!


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5 thoughts on “Flattening Classroom Walls!

  1. My students were recently amazed to learn that we ate lunch at in silence at out desks while Sister Alice patrolled the classrooms with a yardstick behind her back. Life without a cafeteria seems hard to imagine now!
    I love, love, LOVE your blog!!!

  2. Technology is the biggest change. SMART Boards are in almost every classroom. Google drive and Powerschool have made it easier to access school projects and grades (no more floppy disks or flash drives) at home. I cannot get over how competent my fourth grader is at doing a research project and presenting it as a PowerPoint! In the Fall my son’s 5th grade class will be the first in the district where every student will be given an iPad Air and their own Apple ID Account. The hope is to use it in all aspects of teaching and to help bridge between home and school as well. As they move through the grades their text books will be on the iPad as well.

  3. Beth,

    Wonderful blog! You sound like the teacher that everyone would hope for when the assignments for the following year come out. Keep up the wonderful work you are doing! And thank you for posting the throwback picture from St. Mary’s. Whenever I think of Sister Lois, I think of her Latin phrases especially non compos mentis. Enjoy your summer vacation!


  4. Dear Mrs. Donofrio,
    I am blown away by the amount of things that have changed since I was a student. However, I do feel like I was always a part of the upcoming changes; my dad was in the computer software business since computers were the size of rooms and my kindergarten class were testers for Mac in the classroom. The BIGGEST changes that I still CAN NOT understand is how something on my little iPad or even iPhone can send information to the TV! Example, we are in full Stanley Cup mode in this house and one of the girls asked a question about a player while we were watching a game last night and I was able to look it up AND show her video about him right then and there! The world is THEIRS! They can pack those wonderful brains full!!! Can’t wait to find out what is in store for your students next!!

  5. Mrs. Donofrio-

    I am so grateful for the opportunities that blogging provides me as an educator. While I blogged personally before, it is through the Student Blogging Challenge that my eyes have been flung wide open to the world outside my classroom. The truth is, as overwhelming as it can be sometimes, I like what I see out here in the blogosphere. I’m learning so much from so many teachers…and I’ve only just begun.

    Like you, our class Skyped on Tuesday with our newfound blogging friends, Mr. Jewell’s sixth graders from California.
    While they’re surfing the waves after school, we’re playing soccer, lacrosse, basketball, or hitting the nearest Starbucks. It was my first Skype session…so I’d love to trade thoughts on how best to set up future ones. My first was slightly problematic (working from a laptop).

    Thanks for visiting our class blog and commenting on Annie’s comment. 🙂

    Martha Rombach

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