Course 5 Ideas

Here are some ideas I have for my Course 5 Final Projects with points to consider:

1) Poetry Unit

Each year we do a poetry writing unit. The students use mentor text to gain insight to a variety of poetry forms and compose their own poems to share at a Poetry Cafe with the parents.

In addition to the traditional poetry cafe I’d like to add a video element to this unit where the kids can display their poems in a more animated form as they narrate their work. They will work in groups of three and assist in the production of each other’s work.

a) Why do you think this unit is a good possibility for your Course 5 project?

The students really get into this unit and are proud of their work. Not all of the parents are able to attend. Students would also enjoy sharing their work with relatives and friend overseas.

b) What are some of your concerns about redesigning this unit?

One concern is getting it cleared by my administrators. As a grade level our expectations are that we offer all the kids in each class the sam experience. I might have to see if everyone on the team is willing to

Concern two as always, time. Will the students be able to create a quality product while learning various skills in the time we have allotted, or will I have to extend the unit a little longer.

c) What shifts in pedagogy will this new unit require from you?

Well laid out time table for the students to see and follow. I would also like to use edmodo for my students to get new perspective from students outside of our class to comment on their videos once completed. I have a couple of friends in other countries that teach similar age levels and use edmodo.

D) What skills and/or attitudes will this new unit require from your students?

Creativity. Quite a few of my students like to have everything already setup for them. They like to do and please. Letting them develop their own video and how they want to do that will require some coaching from me to motivate some and reel in others. Some students would also have to get comfortable with sharing their work with others outside of our class.

(I could also have my go getter students compile the poems and have them create a hardback book on Blurb for parents to purchase. The price could be inflated and the extra money can go to an organization my student have been interested in called the Smile Train foundation. We could title the book Poems to Make You Smile.)

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2. Wax Museum Project

As part of our non fiction reading unit the students read biographies about different influential people. The students then write a 1 – 3 minute speech that they perform as that person dressed in costume. The students stand behind a station and third grade students are invited to our floor. When they stop in front of a wax figure they are treated to a short informational performance.

I would also like to add a video slant to this unit. I feel this work could be shared and evaluated by a bigger audience. I want to have the kids record their performance in front of a green screen working in small groups and embed the video on their websites. I would also like to have them create a 30 sec elevator performance on their chosen person that could be recorded and housed so students can view them via QR codes on the back of books in the library. The videos can also be looped in the library on the flatscreen TV in the entranceway.

a) Why do you think this unit is a good possibility for your Course 5 project?

It’s adding another dimension of learning and understanding to the project. It’s also widening the audience for their work.

b) What are some of your concerns about redesigning this unit?

Again time and staying aligned with my colleagues.

c) What shifts in pedagogy will this new unit require from you?

Letting them explore a techniques and ideas I don’t think will be successful and letting them learn from their errors while trying to stay within the time frame. Reminding myself that it’s the journey not the destination!

d) What skills and/or attitudes will this new unit require from your students?

Similar to above. Having the students open to the idea of putting themselves out there. This will be hard for a couple of my student particularly.

Either project will allow the students to be creative, collaborate with others and communicate their work to a larger audience than usual.

Course 1 Final Project: Whatcha readin’?

Last blog for the first course. Wow! It’s only been a few weeks, but I feel my learning curve has definitely been broadened. I’ve gained a ton of new resources, techniques, perspectives, and professional relationships.

For my final project I tried to apply technology to something I’m already doing in the classroom. Every year I’ve been teaching I’ve had the students do book talks of some sort. I’ve seen this evolve over the past 18 years.

First years: Student reads book and regurgitates basic facts about the book, with little perspective or insight, on a piece of paper read by teacher and hung on classroom wall. Middle years: Students add more perspective and detail. Presentations are given and papers are typed and hung on wall. Recently: Students have been getting more in depth with their book talks by adding perspective of author’s message and writing style, characters, plot and setting. Book talk was presented to class and paper was posted on website for others to see.

So where would I like to take it now? From this course I’ve learned the importance of using the internet and technology as a way of communicating, creating and collaborating. Audience is a huge motivation for raising one’s self standards. When the students have to post something online, the quality of writing and effort put into it grows. So, I want to give them more audience.

I plan on combining our fantasy reading unit’s objectives of summarizing and noticing author’s writing style with iMovie, blogs, and QR codes. Each student will do a book talk on a self selected text on iMovie. After some editing it will be posted to their class blog. They will then make a QR code and place it on the back of the book in the library.
Students that are in the library hunting for a new read can ask for an itouch or ipad as they browse. If they come across a book with a QR code they can watch the book talk.
When they complete the book the student can return to the class blog and leave a comment on their view of the book.

While reading a blog from David Jakes, he quotes the author of The Tipping Point Malcolm Gladwell on the topic of those you connect with. Jakes says, “Gladwell argues that your close circle of friends think very similar to you; that’s why they’re close friends, and this results in a very strong tie-but they don’t push your thinking much-they think very similar to you. It is the people that you know that are not in your immediate and closest circle of friends that can have a dramatic impact on your learning-they think differently than you, and their thinking can be very divergent from yours.”

I have learned this more and more over the past few weeks. Fresh perspectives are invaluable.  Mark Wagner, Ph.D. give 10 tips for personal networks for educators.  He addresses the quality of feed back from joining and participating in these groups. “You’ll find that you’ll receive much higher quality answers and support by asking your network, than you will by simply searching online.” I have found this true through my own blog, twitter, and this Coetail group.

I want my students to experience the thrill of having someone comment on their blog, or being able to gain new perspectives from others outside their “known world”, and have a way to communicate, collaborate and create using technology.

Here are my plans for implementing the Book Talk Movies with QR Codes. Feel free to use and adapt and please comment.

Book Talk QR Codes Lesson