News Release
Homer CCSD 33C
Goodings Grove   Luther J. Schilling   William E. Young   William J. Butler
Hadley Middle   Homer Jr. High
Contact: Charla Brautigam, Communications/Public Relations Manager | 708-226-7628

For Immediate Release:
Dec. 22, 2015
Schilling School third graders connect with students in Missouri, Minnesota and Canada

Reading aloud has taken on a whole new meaning for third graders at Schilling School.
For nearly six weeks, students have been using the Internet to connect with students in Missouri, Minnesota and Canada. Together, they’ve been practicing their reading and comprehension skills by reading the book “Fish in a Tree” together.

It’s all part of a Global Read Aloud project that was initiated five years ago by a teacher in Wisconsin. Her goal was to expand her global collaboration.
Today, more than 1,000,000 students have participated in the project, which now strives to connect the world through one book each year.

Schilling third grade teacher Tasha Ohotzke was among those to sign her class up for the project this year.
“I was intrigued by the idea,” she said, after dialing up her class’ “Missouri friends” one final time on Dec. 21.
Each week, for nearly six weeks, students would gather around Ohotzke’s laptop for a Google Hangout or Skype with students from Missouri, Minnesota or Canada and read aloud from Lynda Mullaly Hunt’s book “Fish in a Tree.” Afterward, they would blog about the book or demonstrate their comprehension by taking a quick multiple choice quiz on their iPads.

“It has brought a whole new level of student engagement and excitement to the classroom,” said Ohotzke.
Students would often come to school asking if this was the day they were going to connect with their friends in Missouri, Minnesota or Canada, she added.
On Dec. 21, students met up with their Missouri friends one last time and took turns sharing what gift they would like to give to a character in the book and why.
Each report was met with thunderous applause from each school.
“Thank you for sharing,” Ohotzke told their Missouri friends as they prepared to sign off one final time. “We had a great time reading and connecting with you as we read `Fish in a Tree.’”
As the students from Missouri waved goodbye to their new friends in Homer Glen, one of Ohotzke’s students stood up and yelled, “Goodbye, Fantasticos,” using a phrase they all learned while reading the book together.
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