As an instructional tech coach, I’m always seeking ways to help teachers acquire new tech skills through real-world projects, rather than direct instruction workshops. Like our students, teachers need to apply those skills in projects that thrive on an emotional connection to learning. “Awesome Squiggles” was designed specifically to be that gateway learning project for teachers who want to explore global collaboration, but need a good place to start.
Awesome Squiggles was inspired by a children’s television show from Wichita, Kansas, in the 1970s and ’80s called Uncle Bill Reads the Funnies. As part of the show, local children would write letters to Uncle Bill and include four random lines on paper. The challenge was to see if Uncle Bill could turn those lines into a picture, which he did easily to the amazement of every viewer, including me. These images always held a special place in my heart, so creating a global challenge, based on that same idea of interpreting four lines, felt like an ideal way to celebrate creativity around the world, knowing that every age, ability, and language could participate.
The real magic, however, is in the art itself. Our project creates the world’s largest virtual art gallery, showcasing thousands of artifacts of awesome.
Look at some of the masterpieces created by children all over the globe:
Teachers interested in participating in Awesome Squiggles can register through the Skype collaboration website and download the 2018 Awesome Squiggles lines (available in PDF for print, or as JPEG for digital art). You can also share your pictures in our Facebook group or tweet it out on Twitter!
How it works
- Register for the Awesome Squiggles project between now and April 15
- Follow the hashtag #awesomesquiggles on Twitter.
- Connect with a class and set up a time for Skype calls.
- Before your Skype call, students need to complete their Awesome Squiggle art projects. We would love to see your students involved in the creation process, so please post to Twitter using our #awesomesquiggles hashtag.
- During the Skype call, you and your partner classroom will compare/contrast their Awesome Squiggle art masterpieces.
- After the Skype call, share your pictures in our Facebook group or tweet it out on Twitter! Be sure to use our hashtag #awesomesquiggles and share your experiences with the project so everyone can see your amazing Squiggle Creations!
What to expect in the Skype call
- 15-20 minutes comparing and contrasting artwork. Did you see similarities? Differences?
- 5-10 minutes of Q&A. Students ask questions about what you do for fun. How warm/cold is it where you live? How big is your school?
- Snap a celebratory photograph of your Skype call and share it on social media using #.awesomesquiggles
The more global collaborative projects I design (over 75 at last count), the more I see these as the paths where students discover their passions, and teachers increase collaboration and communication in their lessons. Through projects like Awesome Squiggles, teachers provide students the platform to not only express themselves, but to begin relationships with peers around the globe. It feels like magic!
To get involved, collaborate and connect your classroom to the world, visit the Microsoft Education Community.
Dyane Smokorowski is the 2013 Kansas Teacher of the Year and is currently serving as an Instructional Technology Coach in the Andover Public schools. Mrs. Smoke, as she’s known to her students, believes in a project-based, student-centered classroom that helps students build skills in communication, planning, research and project implementation. Her 17-year passion for global collaboration has led Mrs. Smoke to design over 75 projects for teachers and students around the world. She wants her students to develop a love for culture, communication and technology, an to understand how to use that love and passion to advance their own future, as well as that of the global community.