Global Fun and Laughter

This has been an amazing week for me to solidify contacts that I began on Twitter through building a PLN. The week started with the arrival of a package from Japan. After posting a call to my PLN for help with a unit on Japan, Barb Sakamoto quickly responded from Japan. To quote my posting on her blog, “Barb responded in less than 12 hours, incredibly quickly given the time difference. She offered to help and sent me her email to communicate more directly. After receiving my description of what we were studying, she sent me a response with websites to visit, ideas for online research, and a connection with a female Buddhist priest, Victoria Yoshimura. Suddenly the world of Japan, not as a subject in a textbook, but as people on the other side of the world who want to help my students, came alive. Barb and Victoria both reached out with eagerness and thoughtfulness, considering what would support my class and offering wonderful suggestions.”

It was during these conversations about culture that Barb offered to send rice crackers and candy to my students to help them personally experience some Japanese food, sent directly to them from around the world. The arrival of a special package for them not only increased my students engagement with the material, but led to the creation of a new, interdisciplinary project, Japan Day, in which teachers from English, History, Art, Music, Math and Science are all engaged. Online collaboration has led to new collaborations within the school. Very exciting for the teachers and wonderful for our students!

My next moment of PLN fun was a day later when a member of my school’s wonderful EdTech team was asking me how I would describe Blended Learning and wondering if there was a way to create an illustration of what it looks like. I fumbled around and tried to think of the best way to describe my understanding. Then I shrugged my shoulders and opened my laptop. “I’ll just send a tweet and see what I get.” She smiled and shook her head. Out my tweet went, and over the course of that day, as we all have experienced, people responded, sending me links and ideas for areas to explore. Each one made me smile at the generosity of the people who connect through my PLN.

But last night was a new highlight! A totally unexpected, international connection around education that was filled with laughter. I had responded to a tweet a few months ago about helping to build a ning that would facilitate ESL students to practice their language skills by sharing with other students around the world. I thought that some of my students might enjoy being part of it, modeling language skills and learning about other cultures at the same time. A group of us have been working collaboratively to think about the ning and slowly build it. (My part is far less than that of @bealup and @hoprea).

I received a tweet last night that Bea and Henrick were having a skype conversation, asking if I like to join. I accepted and within moments was talking to these two people, one in Argentina and one in Brazil, whose work I knew but whose voices and faces were almost totally new to me. Twitter photos that suddenly began to move and take on personalities! We were very focused on our task, trying to develop a series of topics for the students to address and some questions to guide their investigation. Then @briandowd came online and the conversation continued with another American voice in the mix.

And then came a moment of global magic! We suddenly transformed from 4 people, working to help our students, into four friends. There was laughter, sometimes verging on hilarity as we tried to reconcile our different ideas and interpretations, and as the time passed, partnerships were being forged that were more than simply professional. We were laughing at each other’s jokes and sharing each other’s joy at being together in this digital, “living room” space where we all existed together.

The week was reinforced for me that we are building a new world of connections, one that is based on our own generosity and the generosity of people who once were strangers. That I have never stood in the same room with Barb, Victoria, Bea, Henrick or Brain does not detract from the level of growing friendship that I feel towards them. They are people who have touched my life and I hope will continue to do so. To them, and to all of the others that I share thoughts with here and through Twitter, thank you! For smiles and laughter!

6 responses to “Global Fun and Laughter

  1. I’m amazed how you and your colleagues have built on this! It seems like your project keeps getting better and better…

    I love those moments of global magic. Thanks for continuing to share your adventures with us. You are a great role model for us all!

  2. Hello Ms. Hadley. My name is Heather Ludwig and I’m a Special Education major at the University of South Alabama. I’m taking a class called EDM 310 and I was given your blog site to do my comment 4 teachers assignment. Our class blog site is my personal class blog is I liked this post because I have just started my own PLN and it is interesting to see other people including active teachers use their PLNs and have positive outcomes. I have a friend that I went to High School with teaching in China and I hope to have a positive outcome like yours in my own classroom.

  3. Ms. Hadley,

    I really enjoyed reading your post. My name is Katherine and I’m a student at the University of South Alabama where I take EDM 310. You may find out more information on our class blog at: I’m assigned to your blog for the next couple of weeks to complete an assignment. This was a great post. I’m at the beginning of my PLN and have found so many networks that I could add. I really enjoyed reading your post that I may add your blog to my PLN for future ideas. I am looking forward to reading more of your posts.


  4. Hello! This is amazing what you are doing. Being able to connect with people around the world and being able to get your students to experience other cultures is such a huge learning experience. It’s great what you’re doing with your colleagues. I am just starting to work on creating my PLN, and just from reading your post I have already learned so much I can do with it. Continue to inspire your students and fellow teachers, for being able to do so is an amazing gift!

    • Thanks! It has been an amazing year for me. I am still new in building my PLN, but with some commitment, it has happened relatively quickly. Good luck in building yours. Thanks for the comment!

  5. Hi!

    I guess when I posted last week it didn’t show up. My name is Katherine and I’m a college student in Mobile, AL. I have been assigned to your blog for my EDM 310 class. If you want you may visit the class blog at We too have been learning about PLN and having to do assingments for our PLN’s. I really enjoyed reading your post and I’m looking forward to reading more of your post in the future. I have my own blog for my EMD 310 where I post for my assignments. You can visit it at


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