As promised, I am giving the children a needed stress reliever with an engaging unit…we are taking virtual field trips! Using some wonderful apps, I am able to have the children explore museums or specific destinations while learning along the way. This unit is packed, meeting reading informational text standards, most writing standards, technology standards, and even many gifted standards. (see standards in the unit info pack: Virtual Field Trip)
Why? I am teaching the children about reading to learn. It is important for our children to know how to read non-fiction text features such as captions, labels, diagrams, use images and photographs, maps, glossaries, and more. I also want to help students learn to take notes from what they read. As an added bonus, using our iPads, the students can learn about these features and how to navigate hyperlinks as well as use embedded content with animations, video/audio clips, and more. During their reading, they will be collecting 10 content specific words to define. (Thus a “word wizard” specific to this unit.)
Why group work? Working and collaborating with others is an important life skill, and one that many gifted students find frustrating and challenging. I am doing this ON PURPOSE…I want to be there to help them problem solve and model how to handle the frustration. I feel that often high achieving students find themselves the leaders in groups, end up carrying the burden of the work, or feel that they would rather just ‘do it on their own’. I have structured this to put them into these situations and practice those discourse rules we established at the beginning of the year. (Hence the gifted learning goals.)
Writing? Well, they are taking notes and I expect them to write 2 “postcards” condensing what they are learning. I also want them to practice “persuasive” writing as they create advertisements and infomercials for others. They will also write a script for a “tour guide” to read as they lead someone else through their virtual trip.
Now the technology…of course it makes the experience motivating and engaging, but there is an underlying purpose to the integration. I want to teach the children how to utilize many of the tools and platforms they have available to them. I also want to make sure that I teach them how to be RESPONSIBLE digital citizens! Therefore, they will be taking what they have learned and synthesized to create an ad; a poster or brochure. Then they will type the script they develop. Next they will use what they have learned to produce an “infomercial” to both persuade and inform others with audio/visual tools.
Culmination: a webpage. I decided to do this to help the children apply what we are learning about non-fiction text features. A well laid out webpage successfully informs us about a topic. In creating a webpage, the children will need to analyze and evaluate the best way to present information for their audiences. By using Weebly, I can teach the children how to use text features to enhance their message and communicate their learning. Then as a final step, we will create a “QR” code to direct others to the webpage. I will teach them how to do all of this at school…no prerequisite skills needed.
They are pretty excited and so am I! We dove in and completed “day 1”. Now we are moving on to taking notes.
I have created my own “information” show to model how I have gone through one of the apps, taking notes and recording my insights: http://www.educreations.com/lesson/view/note-taking-on-virtual-app/18490239/?s=Dqden5&ref=link
Then I modeled how I created a postcard: http://www.educreations.com/lesson/view/virtual-trip-post-card-how-to/18492038/?s=Bgu1qk&ref=link
This should be a fantastic learning experience!