Brookside students Skype with Nebraska class

Brookside Elementary students in Mary Barbot’s fourth-grade classroom spent part of their Wednesday morning meeting fellow fourth-graders in Omaha, Neb., for Skype-A-Thon. (Pioneer photos/Meghan Gunther-Haas)

BIG RAPIDS — For many young students, a visit from another class is an exciting experience, especially if the visitors come from a different state.

Brookside Elementary teacher Mary Barbot connected her fourth-grade class to a group of fellow fourth-graders at Castelar Elementary School in Omaha, Neb., via Skype on Wednesday.

Noah Sweppenheiser checks a printed map and crosses states off as Brookside students’ questions are answered.

The meeting was a part of the worldwide event, Skype-A-Thon, which makes learning possible for students in a virtual setting and allows them to connect with people and places beyond the classroom, according to the Skype-A-Thon website. One aspect of Skype-A-Thon, which is celebrated Nov. 28 and 29 but was postponed for the Big Rapids crew due to technical difficulties, is a mystery Skype. For a mystery Skype, the students must guess the whereabouts of their guests’ school.

With only a few questions — “Does your state have a professional football team?” “Is your state east of the Mississippi River?” “Is your state in the Midwest region?” and “Does your state name have two words?” — Barbot’s class quickly guessed the correct state.

“Mrs. (Jennifer) Bentley has a friend in a different state who is a technology teacher,” Barbot explained. “He knew it was world Skype day. Then the students came up with the questions. We are learning about the regions. This was fun.”

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Posted by Meghan Gunther-Haas

Meghan is the education reporter for the Pioneer and Herald Review. She can be reached at (231) 592-8382 or by email at mhaas@pioneergroup.com.

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