vcv_squareOccasionally,  Powerful Learning Practice likes to share great opportunities that we are doing with our Year Long Connected Learner Experience with others. We have decided to invite the public to our first of three – Virtual Classroom Visits.

Patti Grayson is a 4th grade teacher at Hampton Roads Academy in Newport News, Virginia. She describes a lesson plan where she uses the TPACK model.


The fourth grade Social Studies curriculum is centered on the study of states and regions. Students learn about different regions of the United States including the climate, landforms, resources, economy, and people of those regions. Mystery Skype is a connected learning experience that allows student-driven learning, inquiry, and deductive reasoning to be at the forefront of instruction.

In a Mystery Skype session, a call is received by another class, but neither class knows the location of the other. Using geography questions, students use maps and construct yes or no questions to ask the other class in order to determine their location first! Students build inquiry skills, learning how to formulate questions that will further their learning.
Question askers and map-readers work together to figure out the questions that will best narrow down the location of the other class, while recorders write down the information learned and the answering team receives questions from the other class. The role of the teacher is to facilitate – to help direct the Skype call, and to encourage students to use the information they gain to formulate questions as they learn. This was the eighth Mystery Skype call for my students this year, so they have gotten much better at working together and need very little assistance from me.

After discovering the location of the other class, the classes share information about their own state. Many times this information will relate directly to the content we have studied regarding the region, and will help make the content more relevant. The technology enables students to connect with other classrooms, and to learn from other students.

In our Virtual Classroom Visits we watch the teacher teach the lesson and then engage in a threaded conversation around what she did that was in the best interest of kids or what we would change or sometimes just how do you do this.

Then we meet together online for 30 minutes and have a chance to debrief with the teacher about her lesson. We would love for you to join us. 

Thursday, March 7 at 8 PM-8:30PM EST New York
In Blackboard Collaborate (Click Here)

pattigraysPatti Grayson is a 4th grade teacher at Hampton Roads Academy in Newport News, Virginia. She serves as the Lower School Technology Representative, and is part of the school’s Digital Learning Team. She is a connected educator, and works to connect her students to other classes through blogging, Skype, Edmodo, and Twitter. She has been involved with PLP since 2010, serving as a writer for PLP’s Voices From the Learning Revolution, and as a Connected Coach. Her articles have also appeared at MindShift and, and she was named a Top 10 Teacher in the Hampton Roads community for 2012. You can find Patti online at Patti’s Ponderings, and on Twitter @pattigrayson.


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During a 25-year education career, Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach has been a classroom teacher, technology coach, charter school principal, district administrator, university instructor and digital learning consultant. Sheryl is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Powerful Learning Practice, where she works with schools and districts from around the world to re-envision their learning cultures and communities through the Connected Learner Experience and other e-learning opportunities. She is the author (with Lani Ritter Hall) of The Connected Educator: Learning and Leading in a Digital Age (Solution Tree, 2012) and serves on the ISTE Board of Directors.
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