“I try to create global citizens and a global classroom for my students.” – Todd Flory, USA
How can teachers show their students that they care about them? For Todd Flory, it’s pretty simple. “It’s the importance of being in students’ lives, not just from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.,” he says, “but the impact that you can have outside of school…”
For Flory, this means attending the events that matter to students, even when they fall outside of typical school hours – or even the school year. “I had one student who brought me an end-of-year-gift,” he says. “She brought me a ticket to her dance recital, which was a couple of weeks after school ended, but it really meant a lot to her. It was a hand-written invitation that said, ‘Thank you for being my teacher.'”
A former journalist, Flory takes pride in guiding his fourth grade students to tell powerful and personal stories. Skype has played a big role in helping their classroom’s learning come to life, and Flory is a Skype in the Classroom Master Teacher.
“I try to create global citizens and a global classroom for my students,” says Flory. “It’s really revolutionized the way I teach. I can bring in anybody from anywhere around the world, and I’m not limited to the four walls of my classroom. We can have experts in any field come in. We can do first-hand research with kids in Japan, we can share about our own culture with students in India, we can do writing projects with a class in the UK. It has really let my students know that nothing is off limits. They can learn anywhere, anytime, from anyone.”
One particular instance that stands out in Flory’s mind took place during that writing project Skype session with the UK classroom. “Our students each wrote their own individual stories, the teachers exchanged the stories and we paired them up one-to-one,” says Flory.
“One of the most powerful things about that experience [happened to] one student who was very shy in my classroom. When a student from the UK classroom complimented his story, he had the greatest smile on his face that I had seen all year. Because now somebody that he didn’t even know, from a classroom miles and miles away, was complimenting his story in front of both classes and it meant the world to that student.”
Here’s today’s Daily Edventure with Skype in the Classroom innovator Todd Flory.
Fourth Grade Teacher
Andover, Kansas USA