Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Connecting with Ireland

The Irish Connection: Building Background  As many of you know, the fact that I am a 'McGinty' and of Irish ancestry is a point of particular pride for me. I love the Irish in me and I love that I have a connection to this remarkable country and its remarkable people. I can still remember the magical day, during my European backpacking trip, when I visited the small town of Donegal in northern Ireland and stumbled across 'McGinty's Sweater Shop' and came face to face with a distant relative. I was greeted like family and welcomed with open arms. The Irish are awesome!

Connections and chance meetings with the Irish continue. Through our participation in the 100 Word Challenge we have had the opportunity to be exposed to people all around the word. Recently, my mother, Irene McGinty, who helps leave comments for the 100 Word Challenge, left a few comments for students in a small town in Ireland. Their teacher, 

Múinteoir Niamh, and my mom began a correspondence. It was suggested that our two schools forge a digital connection. You may have noticed a few comments left on some of your story's over the past week. Those may be just the beginning.

Gaelscoil Chill Dara is a "Catholic, all-Irish, Co-Educational Primary School" that is located directly outside Newbridge, in County Kildare, Ireland. What is remarkable about this school is that its students are bilingual and instruction is delivered in both the native Irish language and in English. Think of 
Gaelscoil Chill Dara as like the Alianza Charter School (where students are taught in both English and Spanish) of Ireland.  

The 27 boys and girls in Múinteoir Niamh's class are in Year 6, and "have a huge interest in everything! especially sport, languages, literacy, friends and technology." Would you be interested in reaching out and developing a connection with them? 

Students in Niamh's Class

Getting Started: Reaching Out  One of the easiest ways to establish a connection is by reading each other's writing and commenting on each other's work. Some of the students from Múinteoir Niamh's class have already done this for some of you. Let's return the favor. I have provided a list of some of the names of students (which are also hyperlinked to their most recent 100 Word Challenge story). Click a name and it will take you to their story: MarieEmilyJosephineRayElizabethAngelaPatricia NiamhRóisínAnneSaraBrigidPatricia RóisínThomasGráinneAnthonyTomasLoganEllenPaulCathal
PatrickMaryMarie, and Katie.

When leaving a comment, remember to make sure your feedback is specific and positive. What did you like about their story? What did they do well? You may also want to consider asking your student a question and/or sharing a little about yourself. Additionally, please check your spelling, capitalization, punctuation, and spelling before posting. You want to make sure you're representing yourself and our school in a positive and professional manner. Let's remind ourselves about writing quality comments by watching the video below. 

Lastly, if you would like the dialogue to continue, make sure to leave the link to your Kidblog, so if they choose they can contact you in the future. Sign off with your first name and where you're from (Lakeview Middle School, Watsonville, California, U.S.A.). Have fun making connections today!

Homework (1.) Read your A.R. book at home for at least 30 minutes and make a Digital Reading Log entry. (2.) Continue working on your 100 Word Challenge: 5 Words (Week #15) story, which we will publish on Friday, December 12.