"One book to connect the world." It's a pretty lofty goal that 5th grade teacher Pernille Ripp set forth in 2010. Now having established 30,000 connections, the Global Read Aloud is about to start it's fourth year and it's not too late to join!
I discovered this project last year and absolutely loved participating in it with my 6th graders. For a month we read The One and Only Ivan together in class and found ways to make connections with the world. We started a class blog, which we wound up using all year long for responses, text connections, research, and more. We also connected with other classes using edmodo and skype. At the end, the kids created an edmodo of their experience. The kids loved the story and the idea that they were sharing this experience with so many different kids. There were connections to be made with the story itself, as well as with where all the other students came from. They enjoyed getting to meet other kids from all over and hearing not only how they felt about the story, but also what it was like to live somewhere outside of NYC.
This year the middle grade pick is Out of My Mind (there are picks for elementary and high school, as well). Everyone is set to begin reading on September 30th and I have already connected with three classes - one in Ontario, one in North Carolina, and a special ed class in upstate New York. With the NC class we are going to be using edmodo exclusively and having the students responding to discussion questions, among other things. With the upstate NY class, we are going to have them use Voicethread as a means of introducing themselves and then using our kidblogs to connect and respond to each other. Personally, I like connecting with multiple classrooms and experimenting with lots of different tools, but the project can be just as meaningful if you connect with one classroom and use one tool. Below is a slideshow of a presentation I gave at Teaching With Technology last year that gives examples of some of the tools I used.
I am very fortunate that I get to see my 6th grade students twice a week and even so, it's difficult to keep up with the rest of the world reading the book. I generally start about a week early to make sure that I can keep up and also have time to do activities connected to the book. I know that a lot of people only see their kids once a week or not at all, in which case I would recommend partnering with a language arts teacher. This is a great opportunity for collaboration.
You can find out more information on the Global Read Aloud website and on the GRA wiki. There you will find ways to make connections, resource ideas, a map of what schools are participating, and of course, how to sign up. I also am more than happy to answer any questions that you might have. Happy reading!