Teacher teams up with West Branch for distance learning project


Kindergarten teacher Daniel Kibby teamed up with West Branch schools for the second time using technology for a special literary distance learning project.

Daniels’s wife, Kari Kibby, is a third-grade teacher at West Branch, and he said the two came up with the idea to have their two classes work together via Google Hangouts.

“It’s a strong teaching point, helping the third graders kick off their fictional writing as well as setting a good example for kindergartners as they begin to write more advanced stuff,” Daniel said.

To kick off the project Daniel’s kindergartners fill out a paper indicating a few of their interests.

“Student’s get to talk about their favorite color, food, vacation spot and other things that help the third-graders get to know them a little bit,” Daniel said.

He said that the students are then teamed up with a third-grader, who they spend a little time getting to know.

He explained that West Branch third-graders then use the information they were given and write a short fictional story based on the kindergarten student, including a drawing based on the students photo.

“The kindergarten kids love it,” Daniel said. “We use it later as a good example of writing for when we work on our curriculum.”

The pairs of students are then able to video chat, where the third grade student will read the book to the kindergartner as the whole class listens.

Kindergartners get to keep the book based on them, complete with an about the author section that lets them get to know their third-grade partner better.

“There is a high interest at both ends, it’s easier to get them to engage with writing when it is something fun and unique like this,” Daniel said.

This is the second year the two schools have been partnering for this project, and Daniel said they are looking to add more collaboration from the schools throughout the year.

He explained that it helps both classes reach their writing curriculum standards while utilizing technology to engage students.

“It’s always amazing to see how small ideas make a full story,” Daniel said.