Back in September, third grade took a transliteracy approach to exploring rocks and minerals. After participating in this experience, Mrs. Shealey, 3rd grade teacher, had some ideas for how the transliteracy approach could inspire the Paul Revere standards that 3rd grade was about to work on. She scoured the internet for resources and developed her own Sqworl pathfinder to share with students. She also developed a menu of projects that students could choose from. After introducing the idea to her team, we all met together to continue brainstorming and think about how technology could be incorporated with the menu ideas.
- Make a map of Paul Revere’s ride with important events, photos, and videos using Google Earth & Google maps
- Create a newscast of Paul Revere’s ride with eyewitness accounts. Use the iPad to film the newscast and iMovie to edit.
- Use Museumbox to create various cubes about Paul Revere: his ride, his character traits, events leading to American Revolution, etc.
- Create a piece of art related to Paul Revere. Use Photo Story, iPad, or Glogster to display the art and talk about it.
- Write a poem or a song about Paul Revere. Use the iPad to film a performance of the song/poem.
Ideas continue to be added to this menu. We decided to narrow the technology focus to just a few tools: Glogster, Museumbox, Photo Story, Animoto, iPad & iMovie, and Google Earth/Maps. Many of these tools were new to students so we wanted students to have a chance to explore each tool before committing to a project or tech tool. We decided to have a technology fair where each class could come and tour through the tech tools to gain some familiarity with each tool to inform their decisions. I saw this as the perfect opportunity to bring in student expertise, so Ms. Hicks, a spectrum teacher, helped identify students who could teach other students about each of the tools. Google Maps and Museumbox were new to all students, so I led the station on Museumbox and Todd Hollett, technology integration specialist, led the station on Google Maps.
The students and adults setup their stations, and each class came through the library for about 30-40 minutes to see mini-presentations and play around with each tech tool. Students freely moved from table to table and at times needed encouragement to move on. Many students wanted to stay at one table to become an expert in a tool, but that was not the point of the tech fair. Expertise will develop later. We just needed them to be familiar enough with each tool to know what it was capable of doing. Even though all students did not make it to all stations, each class had a good representation of students who visited enough of the stations to be able to share back in class.
Our next step is for students to decide on their project and tech tool. The teachers will then group these students into groups based on their tech tool. Then, during a block of time each day, students using the same tech tool will meet in the same room so that they can support one another as needed. I’ve seen amazing things happen when a large group of students using the same tool are in the same room. They discover things that I would have never had time to figure out or teach to everyone and they willingly share their learning with other students. I think we will be pleasantly surprised by the knowledge that students gain about these tools during this process.
The teachers and I will also support students with the technology, but we also want our focus to be on supporting students in locating quality information for their projects. We will rely on the pathfinder as well as books from our library for this endeavor. I can’t wait to see what students come up with!