Sunday, March 17, 2013

Survivor MD 2013: A New Twist!

Survivor MD has been and continues to be the most liked project by my students. Now in it's fourth year, two of the fifth grade classes (Ms. Ruggiano's class and Mr. Soloway's class) are now deep into this project-based learning unit. Last week I added a new twist to it and the students are definitely psyched! I learned about a web 2.0 tool called ThingLink, a nifty little tool that allows you to make images interactive by tagging spots on the image with text, links, videos, and audio. Students now are working on Challenge 3 of Survivor MD -- "Your Gross and Cool Body" -- where they are researching the functions of the different parts and organs of the body system they are assigned. Originally, they were going to present their information as life-sized diagrams; however, I received an email from Rosen Publishing about a contest for K-12, announcing that Rosen Digital has joined ThingLink to host a contest that encourages creativity and 21st-century learning skills. SO... last week I presented this as an option for their final project. Most of the groups decided to give it a try and are pretty excited about it! Whether one of the groups wins the contest or not, this is a fabulous way to show what they learned while using technology.

Additionally, it hits the Common Core Standards (not to mention a slew of AASL Information Literacy Standards!):

Production and Distribution of Writing

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.5 Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.6 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.

Research to Build and Present Knowledge

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.7 Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.8 Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.
I am so excited to see what my amazing fifth graders come up with over the next few weeks!! 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

2nd Graders Learn to Be Judges

My 2nd graders are in the midst of the judging process for our annual "Searingcott" Medal contest. This year I decided to have them review books that were actually being considered for the Caldecott. Other years I have chosen different themes, such as "Illustrators that never won a medal". They have their own judging notebooks and have become quite adept at analyzing illustrations and their interplay with text. They are pointing out things like the use of perspective, soft, quiet colors vs. bold and bright ones, and texture. I love it!

One book that they adored was the real Caldecott winner, This is Not My Hat, by Jon Klassen. Students loved the contrast between the illustrations and what the main character was thinking.

They also loved the book, Another Brother, by Matthew Cordell. Looking forward to seeing which books wins!