Course 1 Final Project – Shapes All Around

For my final project, I wanted to add to the math unit by integrating a cross-curricula lesson using technology.

Background: Kindergarten students are learning to write How to books (nonfiction procedural writing)  in Writing Workshop as part of Lucy Calkins Units of Study. We have been reading nonfiction books and some How to books looking for nonfiction features (Table of Contents, captions, labels, index, glossary, materials/what you need, steps/sequence). When we retell, students have been exposed to the flow map as an organizer to use for sequencing. Students are also learning about 2-dimensional shapes in their math unit of Investigations. They have used pattern blocks to make pictures, used a Shapes software to freely explore and filled pictures with pattern blocks to make real-world objects.

Lesson 1: As part of math centers, students in small groups came to me for a mini-lesson on shapes in the real-world, specifically a pretend scene of the beach (clouds, trees on sand, and water). They were shown a beach scene and asked what they saw in the scene (sky, water, and land/beach). They then were asked what other things would they find and where would they find it. Answers were charted on a double T chart according to the place the object could be found. For example, a bird could be in the sky, water, or land column. The student would be asked to decompose the object into shapes and recorded in the column for future use.

Lesson 2: Students were shown a “blank” mural with a bare minimum background of the beach scene. Students explored paper pattern shapes in different colors and sizes to make something for the beach mural. They glued the necessary shape pieces to make a real-world object and placed the object in the appropriate area of the mural (land, water, sky).

Lesson 3: Students were told that others might want to make what they made for the mural and today they were going to teach others the steps on how to recreate the object. They were asked to get the pieces of shapes to replicate what they made for the mural but this time, they were to use the camera with partners to take pictures in sequence as they added each piece to make the real-world object. I reviewed how to use cameras and modeled lesson expectations.

I uploaded all the pictures and printed out pictures as a “contact sheet” (setting for printing). I then cut out the ones that belong to each student in the sequence.

Lesson 4: Students looked at their “contact sheet” size of pictures of their sequence. Students retold their steps on how to make the object with a peer and an adult. With additional conferencing with individual students, some of the superfluous steps were consolidated into one or 2 steps. [For example, a student who made a crab and took pictures as each leg of the crab was added on. After the conference, the student chose to do this in 2 steps--Add 4 legs on one side. And add 4 more legs on the other side.]

Lesson 5: VoiceThread recording. Students practiced what they would say at each step and made the voice recording with an adult signed in on the VoiceThread account with each of the step in the video. Teacher review with student on the volume, clarity of speech in the recording. If needed, re-record the student giving instructions for the step. Here are two initial recordings of the project just to give you an idea:

How to make a house (EAL student)

How to make a coconut tree

This project is a collaborative effort. Initially, I enlisted the help of our math coach, Suzanne Sizemore, to flush out the idea. Chrissy Hellyer, our tech coach, helped me get set up on our school’s education account on VoiceThread (which allowed for more than the 5 free videos on a personal account). I’ll still need her help to collate all the How to videos into one project. I am envisioning a menu (like a table of contents) where all the kids are listed and parents (or anyone in the public forum) can choose from the menu. And Susi Pucci helped record some of the students’ dialogue in the quieter setting of her EAL room.

Also available via this link.

At the moment, we are still at the recording stage. It is a learning process even as students await their turn in a small group to record their steps. They hear their peers practice saying the steps, use the right volume, listen back on the recording and deciding if it passed muster to “publish”.

After everyone is able to record the steps on how to make their real-world object, I hope to have the kids pick and choose and listen to each other’s projects. Of course the parents will also be able to access this video. I will also share the link to the other kindergarten colleagues at my school.

Finally, the students will reflect by taking the Shape Mural survey (that will be read to them).

Shape Mural survey

2 thoughts on “Course 1 Final Project – Shapes All Around

  1. Wow! Love all the integration, connections and uses of so many different sequential steps to teach a concept and that you were able to address so many different learning styles in your lesson. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Just shared your link with the Kindergarten teachers at our school. They are beginning the unit on Shapes (we have the Investigations materials and CD program too) and I think it offers some new ideas that they could try and integrate as well! I like that you’ve integrated not just the technology, but across the curriculum too.

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