How to Schedule a Time to Meet with Other Classes

The two types of calendars every collaborative project needs

Want to see students excited? Want to see them run to class? I’ll never forget the time we skyped with  Govinda and his students in Nepal. The fifth graders had an optional meeting at 7 am where they could come to school to meet the other kids half a world away. Every student came early! The room was bustling and full at 7 am! Kids came early to school so they could meet other kids!

Learners love to meet learners in other classrooms, but how can you make it simple? Here’s a trick I’ve learned from experience. I’ve found that two types of calendars– the project calendar and the classtimes calendar — are essential for managing global projects.

Vicki Davis Skyping into a Conference

I like to connect my students with experts and other classrooms. An easy way to do this is to share the classtimes calendar and let the expert pick a time when you’re in class. It makes things easier. Here I am connecting with educators from my classroom half a world away.

Now, if you just want to meet with other classes and aren’t doing a project, just use the classtimes calendar. In this demonstration, I’m using Google Calendar. I’m also using the MAD about Mattering project as part of our goal is to create a fantastic library of tutorials for you to use in your projects and work. (These are OER and ready for you to use.)

Simply put, teachers put their class times on the calendar (making sure they are viewing the schedule in their time zone), and you look for overlaps. It saves so much wasted email and frustration!

How to Use this Tutorial to Help Teachers Learn Google Calendar

Also, note that I made some common mistakes (and fixed them) that teachers have when working with Google Calendars. Entering times in a classtimes calendar is excellent practice for making sure teachers know how to use the features of Google Calendar, so you could just have teachers do it for a week of their time to learn how.

5 Uses for the Classtimes Calendar

  1. Connect with classes. Share it with other classrooms to easily pick a time to meet.
  2. Connect with experts. Share your classtimes calendar with experts to let them select a time they can meet with you (If they are in a different time zone, ask them to make sure their time zone is accurate.)
  3. Collaborate. Have other classrooms add their classtimes and see when you overlap to easily schedule a meet up.
  4. Organize yourself. To keep yourself organized! (If you have an Apple Watch, you can link it and see who is walking in your door next or how many minutes you have left in class.)
  5. Increase participation in live events. To make it easier to connect with anyone in the world! You can add times you’ll be periscoping and a link and embed it in your class blog or school website to increase participation in your live events!

Video Tutorial: Creating a Classtimes Calendar

Tutorial Location: http://madaboutmattering.wikispaces.com/classtimes+calendar+tutorial

I am sharing the tutorial and video notes here, but go to the original page for up to date instructions. Use this video and tutorial to help you in your collaborative projects.

Overview

In global collaboration, the coordination of calendars can be a challenge. Classes are in different time zones but they want to connect. Classes also have breaks, testing schedules, and other things preventing work on the project. This can be easily overcome with the use of two calendars.

Key Points from the Project Calendars Video

There are at least two types of project calendars in education collaboration experiences:

  1. The Project Calendar
  2. The Classtimes Calendar

For this tutorial, we use Google Calendar. Teachers need a Google account in order to use Google Calendar.

The Project Calendar:

The calendar with official dates for the project.

  • Typically this is updated only by project organizers.
  • It can be embedded on project websites and even school websites for up to date project timelines.

The Class Times Calendar

  • This calendar has all of the class times of each school participating in the project
  • All times those schools are unavailable to participate in collaborative activities are also listed.
  • Project organizers will typically set these up and invite all of the lead teachers to join.
  • Each teacher adds their classtimes to the calendar following the instructions in the video.

Tips for Facilitating Collaboration when Entering Classtimes

1. Enter Weekends before and after breaks

Because of time zone and weekday differences (many countries in the Middle East have Friday and Saturday as their weekends, and in others like the US, Canada, UK & Australia, Saturday and Sunday are the weekend) mark off the weekend before and after breaks too.

2. Use a Standard Format for Classtimes Calendar with 4 ingredients as follows:
  1. 3 Digit School code
  2. Description
  3. Teacher’s Name in Brackets [ ]
  4. Each school uses a different color on the calendar

Google Calendar Tips:

  • Always click on the event and double check dates and times. It is easy to make a mistake.
  • Google Calendar likes to put things on your default calendar, like it did for Vicki Davis in the video. Just click on the item and swap the calendar to fix it. The cue is when all of your default calendar events appear suddenly like they did in the video tutorial. Turning on and off your personal calendar will help catch this.
  • Make sure your calendar is set to the correct time zone. (Gear in top right corner)
  • DO NOT ROUND! Use the EXACT time you are in class. Other teachers should know if they can meet with you based on this calendar.

How to Set up a Live Event with Another Classroom

1. If you see an overlap between your classroom and another one on the project, contact the other teacher to see if you can connect.
2. Put the handshake event on the classtimes calendar with start and end times.
3. Give a courtesy email to project organizers so they can let everyone know.

2016, Creative Commons Share-Alike Attribution
An OER Resource created as part of the
MAD about Mattering Project
Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher

If you want to know more about how to set up and create global collaborative projects or student-driven events, check out the book I co-authored Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds.

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