Author Archives | dasaunders

Wiki-Possible

Summary

More often than not, students are told to never use Wikipedia in school. Most of this is typically based off the fear of students plagiarizing or finding false information. While these fears are legitimate, they do not allow students to properly utilize a wonderful source that many teachers ironically use themselves. This lesson allows students to explore proper uses for Wikipedia and gives them a method to enhance their critical thinking skills to evaluate sources and choose whether or not to trust it’s information.

TIPC Ratings

This lesson allows students to be in control of their own learning with the authentic task of research. They are all choosing information based on their individual interests, making independent judgements of sources and using different information/tools to interact with that new information. Sharing their judgements of sources/new information while using their rubric is a valuable formative assessment because they are able to explain why they rated their sources the way they did.

Meaningful communication was achieved in this lesson through the Kahoot survey conversation, rubric evaluation dialogue and Schoology posts because students were able to explain their thoughts in various ways. Kahoot/Schoology/Links on the homework board offer ways to communicate across time zone and distances. At the end of the lesson, students were asked if they feel more or less confident using Wikipedia for outside information. Based on this discussion (and the Schoology questions), the instructor is able to set individual research goals for each class.

This entire lesson asks them to question every source they encounter. Whether it is the wikipedia page itself or the other sources they find from that starting point. Providing the rubric allows them to focus on key components of criticizing sources but holds them accountable of formulating their own opinions. Students are continuously asked to reflect on their role as critical thinkers, whether it is the dialogue with the kahoot survey, dialogue with the rubric evaluations and contents of their schoology posts. Students kept their rubrics and were told to save it for when they need to evaluate sources in the future (including high school!).

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Student Artifact

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Contents:

  • Lesson Plan
  • Rubic
  • Student Artifacts

Posted in Middle School, High School, World History0 Comments

Virtual Field Trips & Snazzy Postcards

Summary

The students will be able to stamp their passports without leaving the comfort of the music room!  The students will travel to historical musical landmarks related to the great Classical, Romantic, and Modern musical era composers.  They will gain insight to their lifestyle as well as learn about their music.  After visiting these significant landmarks, the students will create postcards using digital media reflecting what they learned.

TIPC Ratings

Developing: The teacher directly instructed on search techniques and provided students with a list of preapproved websites. The students responded to the teacher prompts and discovered postcard images using a Google Image Search.

Developing: The students worked individually on this project, but this lesson can be easily adapted to allow for group work. The teacher introduced the class to a couple digital tools they could choose from in order to share their work with a wider audience. Some of those tools included, Google Slides, & Google Draw.

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Approaching: This lesson allowed for the students in the class to create meaningful, purposeful, work that they could share with a global audience. Modern tools found in the Google Ecosystem helped to augment and accelerate student creativity. Students shared their work publicly and reflected on their creativity by setting goals for further growth.

Student Artifact

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Contents:

  • Teacher Model
  • Student Artifacts
  • Rubric
  • Lesson Plan

Posted in Middle School, Lesson, Music0 Comments

Rain, Rain, Go Away

Summary

You and one of your classmates have traveled to two separate Spanish speaking countries for the holidays! Like most kids your age, you plan to keep in touch over the break via. text messaging. The goal of this assignment is to text one another a proper greeting, as well as a weather report written entirely in Spanish from your location. Be prepared to share out your text message with the rest of your classmates via. a shared Google Slides presentation. Enjoy the break and I hope you have nice weather!

TIPC Ratings

Approaching: Students utilized various search engines, digital notes, and referenced databases in preparation of creating an end product that accurately portrayed the real – time weather conditions as well as important facts pertaining to their Spanish speaking country. Students were introduced to the research panel in Google Docs to help guide their research and to help assemble and organize the information to address an authentic task.

Approaching: Students utilized various digital tools to increase communication and collaboration in the classroom. Today’s meet allowed the students to generate real time text messaging and were encouraged to use the Spanish keyboard on their computer to include accent marks in the conversation. Once the asynchronous dialogue was complete students downloaded the transcript and made it visually appealing by placing the conversation into an iphone text generator that was included in a Google Slide. The Google Slide allowed students to to work together as a group and engage in meaningful communication and purposeful collaboration. When the Google Slide presentation was complete, students were able to share their work by making it public on the web and share it with a global audience.


Developing: The students had multiple digital tools at their disposal that allowed for encourage and promote digital thinking. Although the students were not necessarily solving a problem, they did need to justify their decision making and back it up using their research findings.

Approaching: This lesson scores high on the teacher end of creativity. Although student choice was limited, the teacher encouraged creativity and craftsmanship when designing this lesson. Student creativity can be witnessed through the student artifacts that illustrate new perspectives and insights that were discovered at the conclusion of the lesson.

Student Artifact

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Contents:

  • Lesson Plan
  • Rubric
  • Directions
  • Student Samples

Posted in Middle School, Spanish, World Languages0 Comments

Health Organizations. Are they Legit?

Summary

Students were tasked with exploring the validity and reliability of a variety of Health-related web sites. They used the Social Bookmarking tool Diigo to review and post constructive dialogue about those web sites. Diigo allowed for students to locate information on any laptop or mobile device and bookmark and share those sites with other group members. This provided a one stop shop for all research and allowed for group members to collaborate in order to determine the validity of each site based on the CRAAP test. Their final artifact included a display in a “Gallery Walk” of their findings, in Google Slide Presentation.

TIPC Ratings

Ideal: The teachers modeled effective ways to research using the CRAAP acronym to validate web sites. Students were also introduced to Easybib for citing their sources. Students used the social bookmarking site, Diigo, for discovering and saving information with group members. The teachers provided one site for each group and each group explored the web to find other valid Health-related site(s) that was meaningful and relevant to them and to the topic. One student explored a diabetic site due to a family member’s experience with this disease.

Approaching: Students were assigned teams of 4-5 to work collaboratively in developing a Google Slide presentation for their peers to view during the final “Gallery Walk.” Appropriate digital tools were used to collaborate and share, using Diigo and Google Slides. Google Slides allowed for others outside the classroom to view their finished artifacts.

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Student Artifact

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Contents:

  • Directions
  • Rubric
  • Lesson Plan

Posted in Middle School, Health & PE0 Comments

A Journey Through The Water Cycle – Creating Digital Storybooks

Summary

In this lesson, students are asked to imagine that they are the author of a children’s book which takes the reader on a journey through the water cycle. Students are tasked with creating a digital storybook which features a drop of water as the main character. During this project, students must consider the following essential questions: What would a journey through the water cycle look like? What phases of life would a drop of water pass through? How does pollution affect this life cycle? Do all areas of our country enjoy safe, clean drinking water? If not, what can we do to help? Students are provided a teacher created Google Site which houses all necessary components for this project. Upon completion of their digital storybooks, students will complete a peer review, research the water crisis in Michigan, and self reflect on their finished projects. Through this creative learning experience, students will synthesize information from a unit of study on the water cycle, research the importance of water as a natural resource, and consider a solution to a current real world problem involving a water crisis in the United States.

TIPC Ratings

Upper Developing – Students were responsible for researching information about the water cycle as well as the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. The teacher provided pre-selected information sources, but the students were also able to use other valid online sites that they discovered during their research to accurately determine how real world pollution issues in Flint, Michigan might affect the water cycle.

Approaching – The teacher modeled a range of communication methods and digital tools. All of the information for this lesson was housed in a Google Site. The site helped to set up the challenge and allowed the students to address an authentic task beyond the classroom walls. Students had the opportunity to work in groups or individually as well as select the most appropriate digital tool to address an authentic task. A Google Form was used to communicate peer assessment and feedback in order to set goals for future growth.

Developing – Students had to think critically in order to conjure up various methods to help solve the water crisis in Flint, Michigan and justify how this affects the water cycle on a broader level. I was surprised by the number of students who were unaware that this was happening, so they were eager to generate and respond to purposeful questions. Students used their laptops as well as various software tools in order to think critically and solve problems to class assignments.

Ideal: This lesson allowed the students to synthesize existing and self-generated knowledge to create new products. Students were provided choice and the class was surveyed as to which digital tool would be most appropriate for creating their digital story books allowing for the class to create new products, and generate new perspectives leading to more insight and a deeper understanding of the content. Final peer reviews via. a Google Form embedded on the site allowed for students to reflect on the creative process and set goals for future growth.

Student Artifact

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Contents:

  • Instructional Planner
  • Directions & Rubric
  • Peer Review
  • Student Examples

Posted in Middle School, Science, Earth Science, Physical Science0 Comments

Huskie Explorers

Summary

Students were placed in groups and assigned a European explorer to research. They investigated the explorers’ motivation, obstacles, and accomplishments. They placed their information and citations on a shared GoogleDoc.  The students used their research to create a Storymap as if they were taking part of the explorer’s journey. They embedded facts and pictures into their Storymap. The map they used was a map of Holman Middle School, and placed facts in their Storymap as if Holman was the world during the Age of Exploration.  Students were also taken outside and encouraged to take pictures on the Holman grounds in order to heighten the creativity and authenticity of their project.  In addition, a Google Site was created housing instructions and examples and a location to embed their projects for others to view.

TIPC Ratings

Approaching: There is a vast amount of information online pertaining to each of the explorers. Students used Google Advanced Search options applied through the Research Tool in Google Docs in order to sort through this sea of information.  Students also formulated purposeful questions relating to the experiences that Early Explorers might have encountered on their way to the New World. These questions helped to guide student research, as they assembled the information in order to address an authentic task.

Ideal: Students worked in self selected groups. Each group was responsible for determining group norms and setting up group member roles such as photographer, researcher, web master, cartographer & fact checker. Students had a vast number of of digital tools at their disposal to enhance communication and to assist with sharing their work with a broader audience. These tools included, but were not limited to, Google Docs, StoryBuilder, Google Drive, and Google Sites. Once the student project was complete, students reflected and evaluated the other groups’ projects in comparison to their own.

Approaching: The students were tasked with solving the problem of where key locations would situated in relation to Early exploration based on the Holman Middle School grounds. Students had to decide where these key locations would be situated in comparison to the world as a whole and each had to justify their decision making using the most appropriate digital tools.

Approaching: Creativity was not lacking in this project. Students modeled creativity and craftsmanship as witnessed in their final Storyboard projects, hereby allowing for students to create meaningful, original work. At the conclusion of this lesson, groups assessed and reflected on one another’s final products.

Student Artifact

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Contents:

  • Lesson Plan
  • Link to Websites
  • Rubric
  • Student Artifacts

Posted in Middle School, Social Studies, US History0 Comments

Visual Storytelling

Summary

Students were given the opportunity to work with a self selected partner or individually in order to create a high quality digital story consisting of the seven elements of digital storytelling. The students were tasked with producing an emotional story via a multimedia presentation that included photographs, video, animation, sound, music, text, and a narrative voice. This project gave the students the opportunity to select any topic of interest. Once the topic was selected students utilized various research methods, wrote a thought provoking narrative script, collected pictures and added appropriate music. If appropriate pictures did not exist, students designed or manipulated existing pictures using the online photo editing tool Pixlr.  Student voice and choice were evident in the fact that they were able to choose from a myriad of creation tools for building their end product. Some of those tools included, but were not limited to, Windows Movie Maker, Adobe Premiere, iMovie and WeVideo. The end products were shared with parents, teachers, and the community who were able to vote on the films to receive special awards.

TIPC Ratings

Approaching: Students had to generate their own questions about what they wanted to create a story about and this helped to guide their research. They had to determine appropriate research tools and resources relevant to their topic in order to create the digital story. Once information was gathered, students had to narrow down their material, organize their ideas and research, in order to create a digital story that met the requirements of the rubric.

Ideal: Students worked in groups or individually throughout this project.  Groups were student selected based on interest of topics selected. The teacher instructed students on how to collaborate purposefully without direct supervision. Even if a student created a film independently, there were multiple opportunities during the unit to give ongoing peer feedback. Students used a variety of digital tools to collaborate and communicate such as google docs, google presentation, email, and WeVideo in the creation of the films.

Ideal: Students were given guidance and digital resources for how to create their digital story. From there, groups had to engage in critical thinking and problem solving in order to determine the appropriate application of tools to implement in their digital story. Selection of appropriate images and music to communicate symbolism requires higher level thinking skills. Samples were shown in class and students evaluated other digital stories to determine the effectiveness of each element. Students had to be knowledgeable about their topic as well as their dramatic question in order to communicate their intended message.

Ideal: Students had to synthesize many resources (i.e. Audacity, pixlr, digital images, MovieMaker, Adobe Premier, Google documents,  etc) as well as self-generated material (the narrative essay) in order to create a unique product beyond the assignment’s parameters. Students were given a great deal of time to explore the different resources to learn how to use them better. This promoted the risk-taking of several students as they learned to use digital tools in new and innovative ways. At the end of the process, students wrote journal entries to reflect upon their creative process.  Students also provided feedback and reflection on each other’s films.

Student Artifact

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Contents:

  • Lesson Plan
  • Rubric, Evaluation, & Peer Review
  • Student Handouts
  • Student Examples

Posted in Middle School, Gifted0 Comments

Time Flies: A Review of World History

Summary

How might the contributions from a particular civilization not only shape their own history but the world as a whole? That is the essential question we wanted our students to ponder while creating interactive timelines using the online tool Timeline JS. Timeline JS is an open – source tool that creates visually rich, interactive timelines. The program has the capability pull student research data directly from a Google Sheet and transform that information to a beautiful timeline. Students were responsible for researching World History events that were discussed during the first semester. Working in self selected groups students used research and information fluency skills to add learned and newly acquired information to a shared Google Sheet. Information in the sheet contained, but was not limited to headlines, event descriptions, important dates, images, video, and other multi-media options. Once the final timelines were created, students shared their work with their peers in a Google Site.

TIPC Ratings

Approaching: The students used modern tools when researching their time periods. The teachers modeled various online research tools as well as advanced Google research options to assist students with their research. The digital tool used to create a the final timeline utilized push/pull technologies to powerfully display student research finding and hereby allowing visitors to their Google Site and interact with the information.

Ideal: The students used a Google sheet in order to work in their self – selected groups. Google Sheets allowed for appropriate real time collaboration between group members. Students were able to work collaboratively and house all of their information within a single spreadsheet. Students could get feedback using suggested edits prior to publishing their sheet to Timeline JS. Once the spreadsheet was complete, students utilized the Timeline JS website to create an aesthetically appealing website that was embedded within a Google Site. This site is public on the web and has been shared outside the traditional classroom walls. Once the Google Site was linked to the timeline students were still able to make changes to the database and have the changes reflect on the site in near real time. The end – product of the site provided World History classes in other schools to use the student created timelines as study guides prior to Semester benchmarks.

Google Site 1 |  Google Site 2

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Approaching: Students were given a number of opportunities to synthesize research, and communicate/collaborate purposefully. The use of the Google Apps in concert with Timeline JS assisted the class by providing them with an innovative way to display their research. This lesson may also work as a scaffold approach to getting the students excited about javascript and writing code.

Student Artifact


 

 

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Contents:

  • Lesson Plan
  • Link to Teacher Model
  • Link to Rubric
  • Link to Student Artifacts

Posted in Middle School, High School, World History0 Comments

We Didn’t Start the Fire: Learning History Through Music – 15MS407

This lesson is for : Grade 8:

Summary

The year is 1989 and Billy Joel just received a Grammy award for best male pop vocal performance. The song, We Didn’t Start the Fire covers history from 1949 – 1989 and was an instant success due to its catchy tune and its historical, fact-laden, lyrics. Once the melody of this song enters your head, it is not easily dismissed or forgotten. In this lesson, students were assigned the task of researching and rewriting the lyrics from We Didn’t Start the Fire using contemporary history while considering the essential question: “How has the world changed and how might it change in the future?” The students recorded their artifacts using audacity. This concept was also applied as a review for World History as well. Students had to collaborate using Google Docs to rewrite the lyrics from We Didn’t Start the Fire to contain information pertaining to a specific time in ancient history.

TIPC Ratings

Research & Information Fluency

Rating: Developing – Explanation: Students were instructed to research on their own, and could choose their own sources. This approach gave the students the freedom needed to gather the necessary information and allowed for more student ownership and options when determining the lyrics they wanted to include when rewriting the song. The teacher modeled the use of advanced search techniques and meta – search engines, such as dogpile.com and mamma.com as an alternative to Google when reseraching online. Once the students discovered the information they had to synthesize and mold it in such a way to have it make sense lyrically when set to the We Didn’t Start the Fire Melody.

Communication & Collaboration

Rating: Developing – Explanation: Students are working in teams that they selected themselves and were able to collaborate without direct supervision. The students presented their information using collaborative technology such as Soundcloud, Twisted Wave, and Google Docs. Each of these collaboration tools leveraged the students ability to communicate within as well as outside the classroom walls.

Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

Rating: Not observed – Explanation: While students are asked to think about what information to include and exclude, problem solving is not the main feature of this activity. They were, however, challenged to think critically in regard to how to facts would be incorporated into the overall tune and melody of their end product.

Creativity & Innovation

Rating: Approaching – Explanation: The focus of this activity is definitely the creativity component. Not only does music strengthen memory, it often wraps feelings or emotions around a song that enhances learning experiences. The idea is to create a song that students will remember because they worked together to make it, thus enabling them to effectively review and retain information. Learning is strongly influenced by emotion – “the stronger the emotion connected with the experience, the stronger the memory of that experience” (Jensen, 1998, p. 73).

Student Artifact


Billy-1

Lesson Materials

H21 Lesson Artifacts

Posted in Middle School, Project, World History0 Comments

Innovative Inventions – 15MS404

This lesson is for : Grade 6:

Summary

In this simulation students become full fledged inventors. Students are tasked with applying insight gained from researching and evaluating inventors and their inventions in order to apply newly gained knowledge to their own design that must solve a real world problem. Students work in teams and practice the creative process by brainstorming, tinkering, and actually creating a working prototype of their invention. Teams of students advertise and market each invention as it will be featured on a website they design. Peer review and feedback will play an integral role at the conclusion of this project, as is evident through daily formative assessments of one another.  This formative feedback will focus on commendations as well as areas of improvement.

TIPC Ratings

Research & Information Fluency

Rating: Ideal – Explanation: In the first phase of this unit, students explored the topic inventions by examining and evaluating inventors, obsolete inventions, famous inventions, inventions that impacted society, and a variety of inventions throughout history. Students also researched the process of inventing and answered the essential questions, “What inspires people to invent?” and “What does it take to be an inventor?” During the second phase, students collaborated using the research panel in Google Docs as well as other advanced search options to create questions to investigate problems worth solving. They interviewed people of all ages to discover problems that already exist. Once they gathered a list of worthy problems, teammates analyzed and evaluated to determine which problems might be solved through the creation of a specific invention. Once the group reached a consensus of the type of problem they wanted to tackle, students completed further research in order to see what type of invention already existed so that their ideas would be as unique as possible. Students used a variety of digital tools to research and communicate their findings.

Communication & Collaboration

Rating: Ideal – Explanation: Students worked in teams to select a problem to solve using research questions they designed to find rational answers to those problems. To help organize and streamline class and group discussions, all students documented information on a shared Google doc that allowed for all students to contribute and for the teacher to comment and provide feedback on work shared. Students were able to access this document of brainstormed ideas and progress at any time or any location; school or home. In addition to building their invention, students were tasked with creating a website to advertise the invention. Weebly was one of the website building platform options that allowed for multiple editors on one site. In addition, students evaluated each other each day they worked in class as a team using the Group Work Skills-Collaboration rubric.

This rubric established group norms and expectations for working together in groups. It also allowed them to reflect on how well they contributed and collaboration process.

Students are accustomed to evaluating peers using this rubric by completing a Google form to rate each other.

The final products also allowed students in different classrooms to collaborate and communicate via a blog. Through the use of a Gravity Form, peer comments and a 5 star review system similar to Amazon’s website, students were able to leave productive and visual feedback.

Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

Rating: Ideal – Explanation: This unit has the highest level of critical thinking and problem solving as not only did students have to create the questions to find problems worth solving, they had to analyze which problems have viable solutions. Additionally, students had to brainstorm ideas using a problem solving strategy called SCAMPER to develop an invention that they design and create from scratch.

Creativity & Innovation

Rating: Ideal – Explanation: Students were able to synthesize their existing and self-generated knowledge from researching existing inventions and inventors in order to create an entirely new invention. A major requirement of this project included the fact that their invention could not already exist.  This required students to bring in various materials, design multiple prototypes, test the prototypes and apply engineering concepts to create an invention that works in a real world situation. Throughout the design process students constantly reflected on what worked and what didn’t work on the invention prototype in order to apply appropriate re-design. In addition, they continually evaluated their peers using the Group Work rubric to provide feedback on the group’s effort. The creativity and innovation that goes into this hands on endeavor to build an invention is amazing to observe.

Student Artifact


Inventions

Lesson Materials

H21 Lesson Artifacts

Posted in Middle School, Gifted, Project0 Comments

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