Beyond Classroom Walls: Leveraging SMART to Build Exceptional Student Citizens and Leaders

A SMART Customer Story with Educators and Schools Across North America

Beyond Classroom Walls Hero

Teachers & Schools
Jody Bean, Gardiner MS
Amy Chandler, Encino Park ES
Natalie Davis, Bulverde Creek ES
David Dulberger, Emma K. Doub ES
Jean Ann Johnson, Tuscany Heights ES
Emily Lunsford, Tuscany Heights ES
Stefanie Schropp, Concordia Lutheran
Tiffany Zinnecker, Bulverde Creek ES

Key Challenge
Encouraging students to collaborate beyond the walls of their classroom, build critical thinking and communication skills, embrace creativity, build character and develop into exceptional citizens and leaders.

SMART Solution


This cross-country project impacted over 160 students and 8 Educators in Texas, Maryland and Oregon. It allowed four same-grade Gifted Classes to collaborate, a 5th grade class from Texas to work with a 6th grade class from Oregon, and a 2nd and 5th grade class from the same school to work together.


With the movie release of R.J. Palacio’s Wonder, Jean Ann Johnson, a librarian from Tuscany Heights had a vision for a Kindness Campaign called #KindessRipplesOn. As part of her vision, she wanted her students to have the opportunity to collaborate with students outside of school, and their home state of Texas. So Jean Ann connected with SMART Exemplary Educator, Jody Bean, for a cross country collaboration — from Texas to Oregon. However, Jean Ann’s vision of Kindness Rippling On turned into a wave, as other teachers from across North America wanted to join in her Kindness Campaign.


The 8 educators participating in this project decided that collaborative group workspaces in Lumio were the perfect software solution to allow their students to be grouped across grade levels, states and time zones – empower their students to take charge of their collaborative journey. They also chose it as their students needed to use the Four C’s (communication, creativity, collaboration and critical thinking) to be successful in their group assignments. They then selected Lumio Activity (Monster Quiz) to help their students participate in shared learning activities, as they would need to encourage students from different schools to test their understanding as well.

“I have noticed that I have gotten many more ideas and perspectives because different people think in other perspectives than you.”

- 5th Grade Student, Encino Park Elementary School

One Book, Many Stories:

“One Book, Many Stories”, as this Kindness Project became known, truly did cover many tales:

  • Four Gifted and Talented educators from Texas to Maryland had over 70 students collaborating in teams.
  • One Texas school, Bulverde Creek Elementary did a vertical alignment with a second and fifth grade class working together.
  • And of course, the pioneer of this idea, Jean Ann Johnson, had her fifth graders collaborating with a group of sixth graders in Oregon.


The educators participating in Jean Ann’s collaborative Kindness Campaign found their students to be empowered to collaborate to create meaningful change in their own schools, as they had to facilitate their own group work and discussions online. To quote a few of the educators participating in this project:

  • Amy Chandler, from Encino Park Elementary found that using group workspaces in Lumio “truly allowed students to work on 21st century skills, such as building their collaboration and communication, as well as deepening their knowledge of the wider world.”
  • David Dulberger, from Emma K. Doub Elementary noticed this experience reached even the most reluctant of readers in his class. “By incorporating a shared Lumio Activity (Monster Quiz) [my students] were able to share the joy and excitement that occurred in each classroom. Simultaneously, teachers were able to assess student comprehension of the text.”
  • Stephanie Shropp, from Concordia Lutheran says it best, “My students were engaged from the moment the project was introduced, and every class was excited to open up their group workspace to see what their group members had added, and even communicate in real time! Incorporating a Lumio activity took learning to the next level, and left students begging for more. This learning opportunity surpassed my expectations and will definitely be something my students remember for years to come.”