Saturday, September 15, 2007

Boy, I've Been Busy

I have been on my laptop for more hours than I care to admit, working on projects for the ICT (Information-Communication-Technology) DISCOVER classes that I teach, along with Noel Forte, another TEAM member. I finally feel that I am ready for Fall and am excited to dive into these projects with our fourth and fifth graders. We will be using various web 2.0 technologies, including Classroom Blogmeister, Wikispaces, Google Maps, CommunityWalk Maps, VoiceThread and PhotoStory.

There are various opportunities for sharing and collaborating with these projects. Here are the links to the projects and a brief summary:

  1. Federal Holidays: This project is designed for upper elementary and middle school students studying the meaning of American culture, United States symbols and core values of the American democratic system. Federal Holidays proposes two main tasks: 1) students will teach their class about an existing federal holiday by creating a PowerPoint presentation; and 2) student teams will imagine a new holiday that represents the spirit of America and then write a persuasive argument which will be supported by a poster that visually represents their proposed holiday. Using VoiceThread, student teams will comment on and persuasively argue why their holiday best represents the spirit of America. The site includes links to all the required resources and rubrics. Originally created in 2002, Federal Holidays was a response to 9/11, to help students deal with the feelings generated by that horrible event. I am running the project again, with updates.
  2. Explorations: This project is a 4th grade social studies project where students will study explorers from "The Age of Discovery." Students are asked to become "docents" - knowledgeable guides who will virtually guide "visitors" through our "Age of Discovery Museum" by creating photostories. Students will place a marker on our Google World Map, showing the area their explorer discovered. The marker will contain a link to the student/docent PhotoStory. The PhotoStory (vodcast/podcast) will inform "visitors" about the explorer they researched with narration and images. It would be fun if another teacher wanted to do this project as is, or modify it to have their class research other types of explorers...for example, 'explorers of the sky' or explorers of the arts, etc. etc.
  3. On the Trail of the First People - On the Trail of the First People is an online, collaborative standards-based social studies unit that seeks to incorporate information literacy skills with communicative technologies for 4th and 5th grades researching Native Americans. Classrooms located in the Northeast, Southeast, Plains, Southwest, California, Far Pacific Northwest, and the Far North are invited to research tribes indigenous to their area and then share their knowledge with all through the use of Wikis, Blogs and Social Mapping.

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