Renzulli Academy Social Studies Teacher/Acting Library Media Specialist Quoted in School Library Journal

SPOTLIGHT on EXCELLENCE     November 2014


Renzulli Academy Social Studies Teacher/Acting Library Media Specialist Quoted in School Library Journal

Congratulations to Melissa Thom, Renzulli Academy social studies teacher and acting library media specialist (student in the LMS ARC program), for being quoted in School Library Journal this month in the feature article about using Skype!


While many teachers and librarians use Skype and other videoconferencing tools to explore content areas and possible career paths with students, others focus on the geography-learning potential that such virtual visits open up. Melissa Thom, a teacher, works with fourth through sixth graders at the Renzulli Academy, a school that serves high-achieving students in the Hartford (CT) Public School system. She’s used popular “Mystery Skypes,” a Skype in the Classroom activity in which classrooms try to guess each other’s locations, sometimes internationally, to engage her fourth graders in their study of U.S. regions.
“As a class, the students come up with clues that will help the other classroom determine our location,” Thom says. “In this scenario, the students are the experts of the place where they live and are responsible for describing it in creative terms.”
Classrooms can match up with others in different parts of the world through the Skype in the Classroom site, and teachers can also connect with other educators in areas of similar interest.
Educators who use Skype once or twice tend to become advocates—big believers in its potential. Thom says many of her students don’t have opportunities to see other parts of the country. “This is one way to bring the world to students who aren’t able to travel or explore the world in physical terms,” she says.
Students who have been exposed to this kind of virtual visit grow to believe in the power of the technology as well. When Gross’s seniors learned that they’d be away on their senior trip on the day Eliot Schrefer, author of the National Book Award finalist Endangered (Scholastic, 2012), was to visit the school, they refused to miss out.”

Submitted by,
Kristine Woods
Curriculum Specialist – Portfolio Office
Curriculum & Instruction



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