Innovation Awards Gallery
Proud sponsor
of PBS Teachers
Innovation Awards
Provider of grand prize
interactive whiteboards
and projectors
Showing Meg Griffin

Please install the flash plugin.


3-5 | Reading & Language Arts | Student-created media projects

My Classroom Innovation

My class has traditionally studied National Parks connecting The Great Yellowstone Fire in reading and study of states in Social Studies. Typically, students researched parks and then created a paper travelogue. I have adapted this project using The National Parks Series on PBS and other web-based tools. First, students look at clips, such as “Colter’s Hell & Early Rumors of Yellowstone” to build knowledge of Yellowstone and the idea of a National Park System. Next, students look at Google Earth locating Yellowstone. They view photos of the geysers, wildlife, and even the Old Faithful Inn. After reading about the great fire of 1988, they debate various fire theories. Using NOVA’s wildfire simulator they better understand forest fires. Finally, students research a park using PBS clips,, and Google Earth. In culmination, they create a digital project uploading writing and copyright free images, a recording they make sharing important facts about their park, and links to other sites. They take their work from our classroom to the world at large. I am an innovator with this project, because I have taken something and made it better and more relevant to my students.

How Students were Engaged

My innovation leads to my students’ innovation which leads to their engagement. As an innovative educator, I realize that it’s all about my students. Are they learning? Questioning? Innovative lessons integrate technology and higher level thinking skills and engage the students. They are engaged because of what they get to do and say. They must evaluate and analyze options. This occurs in structured and unstructured collaboration. I hear students saying, “What do you think of this picture? Should I use this font?” They deliberately and thoughtfully express themselves. Authentic activities with real audiences lead to engaged learning in innovative ways.

PBS Program/Content Used

Ken Burns National Park Series, NOVA wildfire simulator