|image from icanread|
While the third annual Global Read Aloud is in full swing and more than 28,000 kids participating, I cannot help but be in awe. After all, as I have said many times, this idea seemed so simple, so minor when first discussed, and now here we are; 6 continents involved in reading the same two books and global connections being formed around the clock. So how do you get to this point, what is the secret? Well, I'm not sure, but here are some ideas:
- Be simple! No collaborative idea ever took off if it required hours of explanation. The Global Read Aloud's strength lies in its simplicity; read a book aloud and connect with others to discuss it. No convoluted rules, no disclaimers. And the core premise has not changed.
- Make sure the idea is easily translatable. Both in explanation but also in doing. If it centers around a book make sure others can get it and that it wont cost them too much. Whatever you are collaborating around has to be easily accesible for educators all over and for varying skill levels.
- Don't make too many rules. If there are too many rules the project may get stifled. Relax and let the project develop, guidelines can be developed together and changed as needed.
- Invite others to contribute ideas. Another reason I love the Global Read Aloud is all of the ideas being shared by people who are much smarter and much more creative than me. This is what has made the project so special to so many people; they are invested in it because they helped create it.
- Don't get stuck in a rut. After the first year of the Global Read Aloud I pondered whether we should use the same book year after year and then realized that it would be too easy that way. I love discovering new texts and must admit that I had not read "The One and Only Ivan" before its selection this year, now I count it as one of my favorite books.
- Use the tools. We have an incredible array of technological tools available to us as educators and everybody feels comfortable with different things, so use them all or let people choose. Schools, in particular, often block certain things but it varies from school to school, so if you let people use many different tools to connect chances are one of those use will be accesible.
- Create a community. We established our Edmodo community in June so people had time to get to know each other and create connections before the October 1st kick off. This has been valuable to many participating and the readiness level was more prominent this year than in prior years. So find a venue to create a community outside of the project; Twitter or Edmodo are great places to start.
- Be accessible. I love connecting with people and I love helping out so make sure people can get a hold of you. I answer emails quickly, as well as tweets, and do my best to leave comments and showcase cool things people are doing. I am as much of a participant as everyone else.
- Trust other people. Again, another strength of the Global Read Aloud is all of the people involved and everything they bring to the project So while it may have started as my idea, there are so many others now involved that it has evolved into true collaboration. Everybody adds ideas and it benefits everyone. Don't be the only one making decisions, create a group to help plan and they will also spread the word.
- Make it fun! Even if you are tackling serious subjects have an element of fun. We tend to get excited over things we can see our students get excited over. So whether it is the topic, the process, or how you will connect, do something that will bring out the smiles and cheers.