Students were assessed on their video and audio editing skills as well as on the thoroughness of their research and citations. The videos were obviously a lot of fun for the students to make and they demonstrated a lot of creativity. Learn more about Anime and Television or Mario Brothers and J-Pop.
Seventh-grade students in Social Studies classes recently took virtual trips to Japan to research popular culture and report back to their classmates with fun and informational videos. With the power of the internet at their fingertips, students first did extensive research on the topic of their choice, then they used the magic of the green screen and video editing software to create videos that explored their topics. From manga to vending machines to Tokyo street fashion, students covered a wide range of fascinating topics.
In 7th grade General Music, students are also using technology. They are using PicMonkey to create an album cover with 10 songs that define their life. Students enjoy making connections between music and their lives and sharing with other students.
Band students are also using technology. The 8th graders recently worked with Garageband to create music electronically. Now they are working with Finale Notepad and learning how to compose music that will represent their spring break.
After studying the theme Primary Economic Activities, 5th grade students created mind maps with online tool called Coggle. This tool allowed them to structure clear and easy definitions and concepts while drawing lines to and from the central theme. Coggle has a lot of great features to help students display their thinking about a topic, and students were engaged in explaining the sectors of an economy making direct use of natural resources including agriculture, forestry, fishing and mining. These mental maps were shared enthusiastically using students' Google accounts.
The 6th grade used Chromebooks and MacBooks to do research for non-fiction informational reports. We perused websites and articles, discussed credible websites, took notes and synthesized information. We also used EasyBib to generate bibliographies. This was a great project in which students were extremely engaged in doing research on topics of their choice. Learn about the myths and truths of sleepwalking from Natalia's essay.
We reported on Fantasy Geopolitics in 8th grade earlier this year describing how it works to choose countries for a team and how scores are determined related to the amount of news for that country. Choosing a Fantasy Geopolitics team has been a tremendous success in all the civics classes with student engagement through the roof. Students are actively trading countries amongst each other or dropping and adding countries. To do this they must fill out a form and turn it in to their teacher. The form must describe why they want to drop a country, “there has been no news coming out of South Sudan for three days,” and why they want to add a certain country, “I want to add Chile because I read on the news last night that there was an earthquake off the coast of the country.”
Every Friday students complete an internet current events assignment. They find one major news story from each of the countries they drafted and complete a questionnaire that asks them to summarize, analyze, and reflect on each article. Finally, they have to look at the leader board (which countries are getting the most points via news articles) and explain why this is the case. They also have to look at their least performing country and assess why they think it is not being mentioned much in the news. For extra credit they can look at the Trends Map (a map on the site that shows where news is happening) and pick a country with no (zero) points, and find a recent news article about that country. Then they do the same thing as above- summarize, analyze, and reflect.
Participating, and succeeding, in the game requires students to be constantly reviewing news websites. They are looking for trends, looking for news that will give them points if they grab that country. The competition and constant change engage and motivate students to stay current in worldwide news.
Keyboarding instruction and practice has been an important part of the fifth-grade curriculum during the fourth bimester. After an introduction to the features of the online keyboarding program, Typing Club (asfg-mx.typingclub.com), in-class instruction stressed the importance of correct hand position and posture. Instilling good habits in students while young can help them prevent repetitive motion injuries later in life.
Students were reminded that for beginning typists, accuracy and form are much more important than speed. Students are being given regular keyboarding homework, with grading focused on practice and relative improvement rather than a words-per-minute score. Students seem highly motivated to improve their typing proficiency and enjoy the interface and self-pacing of Typing Club. As students improve their touch-typing skills, they will need to use less brain power for finding the letters so they can focus more on what they want to say.
Sixth-grade students recently created “video poems” in Language Arts class. After choosing one of their own original poems, students selected appropriate images and music to fit the tone and subject matter of their poem. In addition to learning about the basics of video production, students were required to include titles and end credits that cited the sources of their images, reinforcing the digital literacy lessons they have been learning this year. Students were engaged in expressing their thoughts and feelings through images and words.
Students also practiced ethical use of others' creative work by providing appropriate credits for the images they used in their presentations. Locating and crediting sources of media are important skills that students are hoping to master by the end of the year. Students were motivated to create and present in this project because they had the freedom to choose a topic that excites them.
Students in 7th grade social studies taught each other about the dynasties of China recently. Students collaborated in small groups to become experts in a specific dynasty. Then they created a Google Slide presentation and taught the rest of the class important aspects of that dynasty including social, political and technological characteristics.
Throughout this project, 7th graders practiced their information literacy skills by locating reliable websites and citing the sources of their information and images properly. They also practiced good presentation design using short statements and lots of images.
Students were motivated to learn from their peers because after all the presentations were over, students created timelines about all of the dynasties using their notes. With an online tool, each student demonstrated what they learned by creating a timeline with information and images about each dynasty. This unique way of assessing learning required students to process what they learned and summarize it in their own words.
Then students used their information literacy skills to find reliable websites with the data they needed for their graphs. They compared the information they found on multiple sites in order to determine the best way to present the information. When they had enough data, students created a graph and wrote a conclusion to help their audience understand the answer to their question. Students were engaged in this project because they had freedom to design their question and investigate a topic they wanted to know more about. See the relationship of trash and recycling or sea level and temperature in these reports. Learn about the black rhino population or how human activity affects animal endangerment.