Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Differentiating with Skype

While curling last night in our local bonspiel, my friend and colleague, Leah Obach, and I were discussing lesson plans for the upcoming day.

As you can see from the above Photobooth picture, we are not the most serious curlers on the ice!

Leah mentioned that she was teaching a lesson on -all and -ight words the following day. I replied that one of my K guided reading groups had just read the book "Balls" and worked on -all words as well. It didn't take us long to decide that my guided reading group should skype into her classroom to participate in the word sort lesson.
It was an exciting morning in the K room. Half of my class worked on letter and number printing with my EA while the remaining students skyped in to Mrs. Obach's class. We debated the merits of using SMART Bridgit so that the word sort could be truly interactive, but decided against it. Often we experience a delay with it, and the size of the web cam picture is very small. Instead we used the screen share feature in skype with one of Leah's special helpers moving the words for us when it was our turn. Leah did a quick mini-lesson on -all and -ight words, explaining how they rhymed with each other. She also discussed how to decode them by using the rime that we knew and adding the new sound on the front. Each classroom took turns reading and sorting words.
 I was so proud of my senior kindergarten students. They had no problem keeping up with the Grade 1s, and capably read both -all and -ight words. The level of engagement was high during the 15 minute call, and no reminders were needed to keep boys and girls on task. Mrs. Obach led the activity, while I occasionally prompted and encouraged my students. Once the call ended, my guided reading group showed the rest of my K class how to read and spell -all and -ight words, creating this slide on the SMART Board.
I was so excited to see how well Skype worked as a tool to provide differentiation to the learners in my K class. By using technology to connect a small group of my K students with a Grade 1 class, my boys and girls were able to participate in a learning experience that was at the perfect level for them. They were then able to apply their learning and teach the concept of -all and -ight words to the other students in my classroom. Ultimately, it is our goal that students will be able to engage in these Skype learning experiences with minimal adult guidance.


  1. This is coteaching in the 21st century classroom! :)

    1. Thank you for the comment--digital team teaching is our goal! Check out our shared blog at

  2. It is the place, where your child learns how to eat, how to seat, how to speak, how to dance, how to play music and many more things.