Connecting Classrooms through Skype

It all started with a simple comment on a blog. Recently, I started reading a blog of another international school teacher’s blog in Saudi Arabia through the two writing teachers slice of life challenge on Tuesdays. I found out that she was also a fifth grade teacher. I left her a comment, asking if she would be interested in collaborating with our class. After a few e-mails, we decided to create a google document where we would write questions for each other. So we had our first Skype session this afternoon (morning for them).

It was great as my students learned about their life, culture and school in Saudi Arabia. We also shared about our lives in Korea and our school. I think one of the funniest parts was when we taught them some words in Korean (hello, teacher & student) and when they repeated it, my students did the Korean “oooooooh” in unison. They were so impressed by their good pronunciation! Towards the end of our Skype session, one of my students asked me if we could ask them what book they are doing for their read aloud. We didn’t have a chance to ask them, but it seems like it could be a good topic to discuss the next time we Skype with them!

Here are some more resources for finding global collaboration opportunities!

Skype in the classroom

Epals global community

ilearn

The Global Read Aloud

Global Collaboration Project

Earth, as Seen by Astronauts Eugene Cernan, Ronald Evans and Harrison Schmitt from Apollo 17

Connecting to the world through Skype!

chartchums

Visuals are extremely important, don’t you think? At the beginning of this year I was introduced to the site: chartchums (their most recent post is actually about an international school in Taiwan!). I love them. I don’t know who Kristi and Marjorie are, besides literacy consultants… but I wouldn’t mind being their friend.

They gave me the idea to visually keep track of my students quiet reading time. At the beginning of the year I saw this chart on their site and I immediately implemented it into my classroom:

My students couldn’t even make it two minutes! But when they saw this chart, they realized they wanted to make it to the star. Now my students can read independently for 21 minutes.

Let your students see their progress, and they will progress that much more. Thanks for the chart idea, chartchums!

Part 2: Common Teacher Interview Questions

The job fair in Bangkok was my second job fair experience. The first one I attended for international schools was in Cambridge, Massachusetts four years ago. After going through many rounds of interviews over Skype and in person, I’ve compiled a list of some of the good ones. I think the best way to prepare for an interview for a teaching job is to spend some time reflecting on what you are truly passionate about as an educator. Make sure to have a few examples in your head of lessons and projects that were successful.

 Interview Questions:

What are 3 words that your students would use to describe you? (I got asked this question over and over again!)

What are 3 words your administrators would use to describe you?

What are 3 words your parents (of students) would use to describe you?

What are 3 words your close friends would use to describe you?

How do you use technology in your classroom?

Describe a typical lesson in your classroom. (Going through the step by step overview)

Describe a successful lesson and how you knew it went well.

Why did you want to be a teacher?

What are you strengths/weaknesses as a teacher?

What would your colleagues/administrators say about you?

How do you differentiate your lessons for all the learners in your classroom?

How do you communicate with parents?

What is a difficult situation you faced and how did you deal with it?

If you met your students 20 years from now, what would you want them to remember about you?

Why do you want to teach at __________ (school)?

What do you want to teach__________(grade level) students? What do you like about them?

Why do you want to live in __________ (country)?

What kinds of things do you like to do outside of school?

What kind of extracurriculars would you be interested in being part of?

Describe a difficult student you had and how you handled it.

What are the talents/expertise you can bring to your team?

How do you use assessment in your classroom? Describe how you used the information you gained from an assessment in your instruction.

Why are you leaving your current school?

What did you like the most about your current school?

What was the most difficult thing about your current school?

How do you address the needs of English language learners?

How do you integrate other subjects into your units?

How would you implement the school’s core values into your classroom?

How do you approach classroom discipline?

What are your thoughts on collaboration with other staff?

What is your favorite essential question (UBD model)?

Is there anything else you feel that you want me to know about you, that we haven’t had a chance to talk about. (I think this is a really good question. Sometimes at the end of the interview, you feel like there are things about yourself you haven’t been able to share yet.)

Here are some other good sources for sample teacher interview questions.

100 Teacher Interview Questions

K6 Elementary Interview Questions

Teacher Vision Frequently Asked Interview Questions

Some of the major themes that many schools touched upon were: classroom management, communication with parents, assessment, differentiation, technology, and daily lesson execution. Also, I did prepare a portfolio with sample unit plans, letters of reference, and professional development certificates for the job fair. However, I didn’t end up using it or showing it at any of the interviews! Even though it can be costly to go to one of these job fairs, I would highly recommend it if you are open to going to other countries! 🙂

I’m curious to hear how you got your current teaching job! Fill out the simple survey below.

the beginning of a beautiful blog

We would like to officially welcome you to our blog! (I promise that, that will be the only exclamation point I will use in this post, no one likes to be yelled at… even if it is with excitement.) When Jee Young approached me with the idea of co-authoring a teaching blog last September, I am pretty sure I agreed before she finished her sentence. For one thing, we both love blogging, for another, we are incredibly talented teachers (okay… Jee Young may be the brains of the operation, but I bring my own special charm- as people like to tell me… I also bring a LOT of parentheses), and lastly, we are excited to share our ideas.

Our main goal is to tap into the international community. We know there are a lot of amazing things happening in classrooms around the world. Teachers are continually finding ways to build their daily lessons around culture differences; teachers are continually looking for ways to work with these culture differences instead of against them. We want to be a part of that.

At the moment, both Jee Young and I are working at an international school near the outskirts of Seoul, South Korea. Next year, Jee Young will be teaching fifth grade in Singapore, and I will (hopefully) be teaching in a second grade classroom in the heart of Seoul. Join the ride and enjoy! (shoot, one last exclamation point…)

Ready for the world to be a part of twoapplesaday.org!