Having connected with classes from all around the world over the last few years, I had a pretty good idea of how setting up such a connection would work and how it would impact my 4th grade students. So I was curious to see how using Empatico compared to other connections we had made in the past. Empatico allows classes to connect with one another and explore ideas and experiences that foster student empathy, curiosity, and kindness. Teachers sign up, fill out their available schedule, and are matched with a partner class. With the calendar feature, teachers can see the common availability with their partner class, then use the chat feature to set up a time to connect their classes. There are numerous activities on the Empatico website that teachers can use when connecting with their partner class to help students interact with the other class and share similarities and differences.
Our partner class was a third grade class from Nevada. For our first call, we decided to do the activity Weather Out the Window. We were able to video connect with the class directly through the Empatico website. Students in both classes shared about the current weather where they lived and about the climate for each state. That led to a conversation comparing the weather and climate in Kansas and Nevada. Students even discovered that despite having different climates, each state was currently in a drought.
When we had our second call a couple weeks later, we did the Ways We Play activity. On the call, the students shared their favorite recess games and sports they play after school or during the summer. The students discovered that they have far more in common than they had differences. It was great to see each class start to connect with one another over things they shared. One of the things I enjoyed about Empatico was the ease of use. Everything from the schedule and calendar to the activity lessons and resources to the video platform were all located on the Empatico website. It was helpful to have everything located together. My students gain so much when connecting with other classes around the country and world. They develop communication skills, empathy, and collaboration, and widen their perspectives of the world, continuing on their journey to become global citizens. Empatico helps them along that path.