Introduction Getting Ready
Learning Circles Teachers' Guide
Open Circle Plan Projects Share Work Publish
Close Circle Overview

Opening Letter

A Circle publication has a letter from either the Learning Circle Coordinator, the Production Manager, or from both describing the collective work of the Learning Circle.The purpose of the letter is to explain to readers who may not be familiar with computer networking or Learning Circles the form of distance or tele-collabortion that led to this publication. It also provides an opportunity to single out special people who have made significant contributions or to recognize specific events that were meaningful during the interaction.

A sample opening letter is sent to Learning Circle facilitators at the beginning of this phase. They can use this draft and modify it in any way they like or they can write their letter. Here is the letter that Dianne Nicholson prepared for her Circle publication:


Over the past fifteen weeks, the nine schools in our Learning Circle have come to know each other and to have a better understanding of our world of communities. We have sent over 200 messages to each other over the telephone wires -- generating a stack of paper messages nearly three inches tall and weighing almost six pounds.

We are all different:

We cover the four time zones in North America...and we cross the International Time Line. We live in rural communities without a main street or stores...and we live in cities of over 13 million people. We have three state of the art computer labs per school...and we wait in line for one of the school's five computers. We learn in two room schools perched atop mountains...and we learn in huge buildings bursting at their seams. We speak French, Japanese, fact students from one school come from 70 different countries.

We are all the same:

We listen to the same music (M. C. Hammer & Vanilla Ice were high on the list.) We read books by the same authors, watch similar television shows, and play the same computer games. We all share the same favorite food: Pizza! You will find some of us in each place outfitted in Bugle Boy, Reebok, Levis, Nike, Guess, LA Gear and Jordache, and some of us who care less about named clothes.

We learned about important things:

we throw away too much trash for the good of the planet
corn fields, rivers, mountains, city parks, lakes, and fields give us solitude
cost of electricity varies as much as its use
coyotes, cattle ranches, alligators crayfish and dog sleds
the different faces of Spring
and many more things...

We survived:

hard disk crashes
blizzards, floods, mudslides, and droughts
lost disks and lost files
school testing and report cards
snow make-up days and heat waves
more lost files and hard disk crashes.


To my fellow pioneers--Thanks for making it an enjoyable journey!

Dianne Nicholson, Learning Circle Facilitator
J. K. Polk School, Alexandria, VA



Copyright © 1997, 2002, Margaret Riel