Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Introducing The Catholic Classroom Collaborative Project


Welcome to The Catholic Classroom, a cooperative project open to all students in Catholic elementary, secondary or home schools.


This project was originally developed to show participants at the 2013 NCEA Convention how easy it is for Catholic schools around the globe to collaborate. The audience was asked to take pictures of their shoes and email them to a special Blogger email address which automatically posted them. You can see the results at To Teach as Jesus Did. The reaction to the activity was so positive that I decided to create this website as a place for ongoing projects for Catholic students.

How the Catholic Classroom Project Works

Every few weeks during the school year I'll post a task for students that will require them to send an email to a special address. The emails will become a blog post here on The Catholic Classroom for others to see, appreciate and comment on.

Most often, the task will ask students to take a picture of something and write about it. I'll try to focus on things that will allow students to learn about other parts of the world while at the same time giving them a chance to talk about their faith. You and your students are free to participate in every task or to pick and choose as you please.

Here a just a few of the ways you might use this project with your students:
  • You may choose to make this a required activity in which all students participate as homework.
  • You may simply give students the email address and requirements, and leave it as an option.
  • Students could work in pairs or small groups.
One of the advantages of this type of project is that students don't need to sign up for anything. They simply need access to an email account. This can be their own account, a parent's account, or an account you the teacher set up for the class to use. Any post that is emailed appears to have been posted by me, so there is no worry about their email address being made public on the blog page. Multiple posts can be sent from the same email address, so if you have a classroom email account, every student could use it to post.

One disadvantage is that there is no way to trace who sent what, which makes the tasks difficult to assess if they are assigned as homework.

Things to Keep in Mind
  • For safety's sake, there should be no students in any pictures that are posted.
  • Each email should include at least the following information:
    • The city and country where the school is located (the name of the school would be great as well, but this is optional).
    • The grade level of the student
  • Remind students to write a Subject for their email. The subject line becomes the title of their blog post, so they should make it interesting and catchy.
Inaugural Project

I'll be launching the first project tomorrow, and I'd love to have you and your students join in. Spread the word to all your colleagues at school and all your connections online. Together, let's build a place space where Catholic classrooms all over the world can come together and share.

If you have ideas for future projects, please send them to me via Twitter or by leaving a comment at the end of this post.