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Phenology Data Exchange/Grade 2/Organization Strategy

Betsy Hawes
Blooming Grove, NY

Our "Phenology Data Exchange" was one of the highlights of the year for our second grade class. After signing in to exchange data, we contacted other second grade classes who had also signed up. After a while we had a little "network" of about 7 classes. On the suggestion of Karin Sanders, we used a 20 questions sort of format to find the locations of the schools in our network, moving from N-E-S-W to "Is your state one of the 20 largest?" to "Does your state touch an ocean?" to the start of learning about latitude and longitude. After several months , lots of list-making and chart making, lots of data analysis, and greatly increased interest in geography we were able to narrow down the questions and locate our "tulip-pals". We also then exchanged information on the development of our tulip gardens.

Some members of our network "disappeared" and didn't send information (only a couple.) Some teachers had more student involvement than others. Some signed on much later and had to be "caught up" on information. Some of us
were more accurate than others. Some of us were better at using e-mail than others. None of that was a major problem! My class went on to read literature set in the states they had had tulip-pals in. They were especially interested in the emergence and blooming data from those states and had some idea of the places they were learning about. They sang the names of all the states. They worked with maps and they wrote. It was a wonderful central idea for much of the school year!

Changes: Perhaps you might mention in the invitation to sign on for the phenology exchange that some teachers might like to form small networks to share information from several areas or throughout a grade-level. It would help newcomers know that it was a possibility, as well as individual communications. ( On the other hand, we did that without the suggestion.)

At any rate, please do it again! I hope it was as successful on other grade levels as it was for us at second! The possibilities for older kids were very exciting!

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