Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Oh Yes They CAN!

As disgusting as it sounds, there are teachers who laugh when the kids can't complete a task. Who are condescending as they talk to the students. Who don't provide the support the kids need to be successful. As a matter of fact, they don't even make an effort to get to know my kids' names.

They say my kids can't. "I couldn't even do _____________ with that group. I had to change my plans around. They can't do it."

I know, I know... you don't even have to go there. I've gone there. We're waiting to see something happen. But while we wait, I would like to call shenanigans on all of those people who say my kids can't. Follow this link to see Exhibit A - Our Pennsylvania Region projects.

Prior to our holiday break, I modeled for my students how I would use questioning, reading skills and technology skills to research our physical region of Pennsylvania, the Piedmont Region, and create a Google presentation to teach the world about where we live. While researching and making the slideshow, I also showed the kids how to use Tagxedo, Vocaroo, Ookaboo, and how to search for and cite images that are free to use or share.

One day per slide - I modeled, they watched, and asked questions, lots and lots of questions. After the holidays we finished up our model slideshow, and the kids selected their top three regions that they would most like to learn about. I grouped the students based on their interests, and by some miracle everybody got one of the their top two choices.

The groups of 5 or 6 had three days to work together and use books and technology to complete research and record their notes on a graphic organizer. The four required topics were location, landforms, natural resources, and climate of their region. Once those topics were completed the groups could research any other question about which everybody had an interest.

After the three research days we watched a video about Disney's use of storyboarding, and we had some pretty cool discussions (Those kids can't discuss stuff - they need to focus on the basics and memorize what's on the test... ugh!) about how storyboards are still used today. Each group developed their storyboards for their slideshow and spent the next three days creating their projects.

Each group needed reminders about how to save and add their Tagxedo project or their Vocaroo to the slideshow, but beyond that the work that you see linked above is their own work. I didn't do any editing, I didn't tell the kids to revise their work, and I didn't present the slideshows to the class. They stood up today and presented the slideshows themselves. Every student was responsible for the research and creation of at least one slide, and every student had to speak about one slide during their class presentations.

Oh, and did I mention that half of my class is identified with specific learning disabilities or other health impairments?

Don't tell me my kids can't. They've already proved they can!

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