Saturday, April 26, 2014

Google Presentation...Rainforest Animal Research

Its Spring and that means one thing in our 1:1 iPad classroom...creative technology projects to finish out the year STRONG! The spring time for me brings some stress as I get ready for end of the year testing, TPRI, IPT testing for bilingual students, LPACS and the list goes on and on. It's also my favorite time for learning new content in science. We have been studying the rainforest, the layers and its plants and animals for two weeks now. The students have chosen their favorite animal to research. I have designed lessons that will help the students incorporate lots of rich technology into their research. We are trying out some new apps and exploring +GoogleTools to enhance their research skills. 

I began the unit by asking students if they knew what kinds of animals lived in the rainforest or what they knew about the rainforest in general. Hands went up in the air as I began to generate a list of their facts on the board. But prior to starting the lesson, I called one of our district technology specialist several days before to design a research template in google presentation to help the students type their facts. The template was adorable to say the least!! The next day, I "chirped", one of my favorites apps, the link of the website that the students would be using for their research (Facts4Me) I use the Chirp app all the time when I want students to go to a website. They open the link in Safari and takes them straight to it. The students used this website to transfer their research to a hard copy of the template created in google presentation. 

After they completed the research, I reserved the computer lab for several days for students to work on their presentation. They completed their presentation in two visits, not a surprise, as they had prior experience working in google for various projects earlier in the year. So the following week, I introduce them to a new app called "facetalk". We were learning about acrostic poems in RLA. I had the students create an acrostic poem on manila paper of their rainforest animal and draw a picture of it. They took a screenshot of their poem and uploaded to "facetalk". Here, they can record their voice and email their recording to the teacher to post on various social media platforms. I use my class YouTube channel to post all projects for parents to see and leave comments. 

It was time to create their own "rainforest" in groups. My classroom environment is one that "fosters" creative learning and thinking. I have no desks or chairs in my class this year and this kind of environment has had a HUGE impact on digital learning! The collaboration and discussions have benefitted their English language development when working in groups. Having that mobility throughout the day keeps their little minds active. I can't imagine going back to having desks and chairs. I hope to gain new knowledge through their blogs as they will reflect on how we can improve as 21st century learners for next year. I can't wait to see what year two will bring! In the meantime, I will continue to design engaging lessons that inspire creative thinking and learning! Here is a sneak peek into our week....

Students working on their research in google presentation

Facetalk App (student example lessons)

Manuel's Video

Jacqueline's video

James Video

Sasha's Video

Group Work