Well we are back in Israel for the summer after a rather weird journey back but first I want to pay my dues by writing up the wonderful linkup we did at the end of June between Danny’s Middle school kids and my friend Laura Shashua’s class of Middle school kids in Holon,Israel.It was Laura’s idea to do a joint lesson between the Chinese and Israeli students using Skype.So having discussed the content of such a class and preparing the kids for the meeting,the day arrived.It was logistically tricky due to the time difference and the original date was postponed because Laura’s class suddenly had their lesson cancelled,it finally took place in Danny’s last lesson ,before our trip to Chengdu.
We checked all the connections on the computer,had a dry run with no students and checked whether we could hear each other on the skype. The screens were not so clear,and the sound not so great but it was passable. WE had two Chinese English teachers with us, and there were twice as many Chinese students as Israelis. Never mind. When the bell rang we had two classes facing each other from across the globe. Laura had worked hard to prepare her kids,and they had a huge Israeli flag at the back of the room ,and the kids all had their names written on cards, in Hebrew and English.We quickly scrambled in Lin’an to find a Chinese flag and only found a small one,and made the kids name signs too.The plan was to have the kids ask each other questions about their lives,for the kids do demonstrate how to eat with chopsticks/knives and forks, and at the end to sing “My Bonnie Lies over the Ocean” together.
The main thing that was clear was how shy the Chinese were compared to the Israelis.The Chinese kids were very reticent but we finally got a kid who was happy to ask and answer questions. We had the Israeli kids greet their friends with “Ni Hao!” and the Chinese respond with “Shalom!” there was plenty of waving and smiling, the food eating demonstration was partially marred by technical problems but the final rendition of “My Bonnie ” was a roaring success,and all in all we think it went pretty well.
Hopefully we can try this again in future.