Now that we’d distributed our postcards and classes were ready to write them, it was time for a skype call with Mrs. Obach’s class to update our partners on how we were doing with our project responsibilities. We were excited to share with them how we surveyed the school and used literacy and numeracy skills to distribute the postcards. But a few minutes into the call, we realized that we had a problem. A BIG one.
Despite our attempts in the past weeks, we had no address in Sochi to send our Olympic postcards to! Our first attempt had been to tweet the Canadian team, and they suggested we tweet someone else. So we tweeted Tyvon Greene, and his suggestion was to upload messages and videos to a blog that the athletes would check. That sounded like a great idea, but we had real postcards that we wanted the athletes to see and read! Next we decided to tweet Mellisa Hollingworth. She is a famous Canadian skeleton racer competing in the Olympics for the third time. And we have a personal connection…her young cousin is in junior kindergarten in Oak Lake! But no doubt due to travel to Sochi, training, etc. we didn’t hear anything back.
We were starting to get worried! Then Mrs. Caldwell remembered that a teacher at Virden Collegiate had an Olympic connection. His wife is coaching Paige Lawrence and Rudi Sweigers in Sochi–a Canadian figure skating pairs team.
This teacher answered us and had a suggestion, but it was to contact the Canadian Olympic team through their website. We had already tried that to no avail! We were starting to get frustrated and worried that we wouldn’t be able to mail our postcards at all. Finally one of our kindergarten students said, “Sometimes when you have a big problem you need to go to the boss.” Soon the children decided that the boss of Canada was the person to help us with this problem!
Mrs. Caldwell explained to the boys and girls that Mr. Harper was the prime minister of Canada, and he was the “boss of Canada”. It would be hard to get a hold of him right away, but he has someone who works for him in every area of Canada. The person who worked for him in this area was Mr. Larry Maguire, the Member of Parliament for Brandon-Souris (our riding). Without hesitating, we searched Larry Maguire and got his contact information. Using our Skype click to call button, we skyped his office. We spoke to his assistant, Cheryl Porter, and we did an outstanding job of explaining our problem. Cheryl was super impressed with our collaborative Olympics project, and she said that she would let Mr. Maguire know about our problem and they would make it their priority to get an address for us before the end of the day. We were so excited that someone could finally help us!
Within 30 minutes, Cheryl called back. She had an answer for us, and it was a good news, bad news situation. The good news was she found an address, the bad news was that no mail was being sent to the Olympic Village in Sochi for security reasons. She explained that all mail for the Canadian Olympic athletes was being held in Toronto, Ontario, at the office of the Canadian Olympic Committee. Cheryl had found this address for us. We were a bit disappointed but happy that we finally had an answer to our problem.
However, this solution created a new problem. 100 students in our school were about to write postcards believing that the Olympic athletes would read them before they competed in Sochi. Now we knew that they would not read the messages to after. One student pointed out that we would have to change what we were going to say on these postcards if they were going to make sense AFTER the Olympics. It was an emergency situation as we knew that classes were already working on their postcards. We knew that we had to get the word out quickly. We thought for a minute, and one little girl said, “We need to use the announcements for O Canada.”
We wasted no time in walking to the office. A student quickly explained our problem to Mrs. Masson, our principal, and asked permission to use the intercom system. Mrs. Caldwell gave an introduction, and the boys and girls explained the situation.
Next we skyped Mrs. Obach’s class to let them know what we had found out. It was an exciting and productive day, full of interdisciplinary and interdependent learning that would not have been possible without ICT!