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overview prep for teachers steps: class one class two extensions

Learning Activity

Step 1. This is where you would read the novel Running Out of Time with or to students. Students could also read on their own or in small book groups. This would constitute the next several sessions. Before beginning the novel, teachers should visit and become familiar with the FRONTIER HOUSE Web site. This will enable the teacher to draw attention to details in the novel that will allow students to make compare and contrast the book and the "real" life experience.

Step 2. Prior to the lesson, have five computers available for group work. Bookmark the Web sites each group will use and assign computers. If you cannot bring enough computers to your classroom for this activity, you may want to send some groups to the computer lab or media center (wherever computers are available). In advance of this part of the lesson, arrange cooperative groupings and assign student "roles." (You may want to include more students in this group so that they might divide the work in half for Web Search 4.)

Tell students that in this lesson they will be working in cooperative groups to gather information from the Internet and that they will now be previewing several different Internet sites. Tell students that different groups will be gathering different types of information. Pass out Web Search guidelines and tell students that each group will have a different search from on which to work.

Web sites include:

Web Search 1
http://www.pbs.org/weta/thewest

Web Search 2
http://www.invent.org/book/book-text/indexbydecade.html

Web Search 3
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/telephone/timeline/f_timeline.html

Web Search 4
http://www.pbs.org/wnet/frontierhouse/families/whoswho.html

Web Search 5
http://www.pbs.org/wnet/frontierhouse/project/rules.html

Begin by having students give a short summary of the basic premise of Running Out of Time.

This summary of the novel appears on the back of the book: Jessie lives with her family in the frontier village of Clifton, Indiana in the 1840s -- or so she believes. When diphtheria strikes the village and the children of Clifton start dying, Jessie's mother reveals a shocking secret -- it's actually 1996 and they are living in a reconstructed village that serves as a tourist site. In the world outside, medicine exists that can cure the dreadful disease, and Jessie's mother is sending her on a dangerous mission to bring back help. But beyond the walls of Clifton, Jessie discovers a world even more alien and threatening than she could have imagined, and soon she finds her own life in jeopardy.

Provide students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION, asking them to watch and listen carefully and consider all the assignments and in what ways they are connected. Tell students that this will enable them to understand how their assignment jigsaws into the whole. Explain that students will present their group's information to the whole class in a concise, creative manner. Provide a brief overview of all assignments as you visit each site. Answer any questions and ask students to comment about the connections among the assignments. Responses should include that some groups are gathering background/historic information, some groups are researching inventions that would affect the settlers, and others are introducing the families and their backgrounds, while still others are comparing the rules of both the web site and the book. The connection is that all of this information directly affects the settlers of FRONTIER HOUSE and Running Out of Time.

Finally, give some examples of types of presentations. For instance, one group may want to present a question/answer game by taping answers written on sentence strips to the chalkboard. Another group may want to construct a poster of information including the photos of the family participants, while others may want to do a commercial. Some may even want to do a reenactment or a play. Presentations could incorporate technology with a PowerPoint or HyperStudio. Students presenting from the FRONTIER HOUSE or The West Web sites should be encouraged to use the sites with their presentations.

Instruct groups that any students using the Web during their presentations must provide a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION for the class ... a specific responsibility to fulfill as they examine the site. Help students write this into their scripts. After assignments are distributed, discussed and all questions have been answered, students should begin computer searches.

At the end of this session, tell students that within the next few class periods, they will prepare and present their information.

End of Class 2

 
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