Mystery Skypes have been around for years. Teachers pair up and help their students have a game of 20 questions to discover the location of each other’s school. Depending on the grade, this could be a state or get as detailed as the town or school name. It all rests on the clues and resourcefulness of the students involved.
Catholic School Partners
A few years ago, several teachers thought it would be great to connect our Catholic schools as partners. The students have all the benefits of the geography-centric game and can share a little about their school’s patron saint, their uniforms, and a prayer. Sometimes this leads to future collaborative work between the classes.
Recently a local teacher asked if I would find partner schools again. I received a question from a teacher and thought it would be helpful to post my reply here. The question:
What is the best set up to do [a mystery Skype]. We have SMART Boards in every room, but in order for the kids to see each other, they would have to use a Chromebook. Do some schools set up a camera and so that it can be viewed on the SMART Board. I am just wondering how to help her get it set up and what the best set up would be.
Also, do you have a sample of the 20 questions game?
The best setup is one teacher computer with a webcam and speakers. What kind of computer is connected to the SMARTBoard?
I made a movie three years ago when I did a Mystery Skype with third graders in my school and a school in Louisiana where Marcie Hebert worked. It will show you how it works (from the viewpoint of third grade photographers and videographers – so there are some odd angles in the video): https://vimeo.com/86302818 Feel free to share it with your teachers. Also, I used this blog post by Pernielle Ripp to think through “jobs” for the students: https://pernillesripp.com/2011/10/25/so-you-want-to-do-mystery-skype/ She also wrote a post with great questions ideas to share with students and teachers: https://pernillesripp.com/2013/05/13/great-mystery-skype-questions-to-get-you-started/
If you teach in a Catholic school and you or other teachers in your school would like to connect your student with other students around the United States (and perhaps beyond at some point), add your contact information to this form and I will share the other participating teachers contact information with you. Form: http://tinyurl.com/rcancontactform