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3-5 | Reading & Language Arts | Simulations
Station WTVS in Michigan
My Classroom Innovation
Kids in Colonial Era garb glogging? This may seem incompatible, but it’s part of my innovative "Literacy 2.0" approach to get my fifth graders excited about writing new genres. To inspire my students to write creative Historical Fiction pieces, we studied the genre, reading Johnny Tremain and Witch of Blackbird Pond, but we didn’t stop there. The students redefined book reports by designing Glogs and Jeopardy games made at jeopardylabs.com. They used Kidspiration to analyze self-selected reading texts and plan their own writing. Additionally, they utilized online resources such as "‘Tis a Very Dirty Manner of Life" to familiarize themselves with the language spoken during the 17th century. Experiences such as this and our Colonial Day ensured my students would be able to write Historical Fiction pieces from the perspective of a child from the Colonial Era. To inspire imaginative Science Fiction films, my after- school Robotics Club made Mars rovers to share with the class, and my entire class participated in a day-long simulation of life on Mars. After the simulation, the students collaboratively penned Science Fiction films, recorded them on flipcams and used animoto.com, flipshare, and moviemaker to edit their projects. My students are experienced with using the cloud to collaborate with other writers, make joint slide presentations, and access their pieces from both home and school. The students collaborate to create rubrics on our class wiki, and manage the Google calendar on our class website to inform one another of due dates. My aim in teaching writing is to combine traditional literacy and technological literacy. Today’s students need to gain traditional reading and writing skills (Literacy 1.0), but must also learn how to use technology for collaborating and communicating their ideas. I use a Literacy 2.0 approach to get my students excited about writing.
How Students were Engaged
Inspired by their favorite Historical Fiction and Sci-Fi authors, all of my students matured in writing throughout the year. My principal said, "I love spending time in your room. Wow! These kids can write!" There is a strong focus on writing in my classroom. Together, with the excitement, and collaboration technology provides, my classroom is an engaging environment for young writers to take chances and grow in writing. Specifically, the PBS activity 'Tis a Very Dirty Manner of Life was a indispensable resource that illustrated verbiage necessary for my students to use to create authentic characters from the Colonial Era. I have written Historical Fiction books with my students for five years now, but this is the first time I used this PBS resource. It made a difference. The dialog in my students' stories this year was more historically accurate. In class, my students even started referring to two-week deadlines as "fortnight assignments" and students began chanting "Huzzah!" when excitement broke out in class.
PBS Program/Content Used
'Tis a Very Dirty Manner of Life