Here’s my new plan for Course 5.
My school’s goal is writing across the curriculum so I decided to do a project based learning unit, Eco Writers, found on the PBL website.
Grade 6 students will collaborate and research information about an animal: its biome, ecosystem, food web, threats, and threat solutions. They will use this information to write and illustrate a children’s book for Kindergarten (K) students. The protagonist will be based on the K student’s favorite animal, the setting will be based on the animal’s biome, the conflict will be human created threats facing the animal, and the story resolution will be the solution to a threat.
ISTE standards to be introduced are:
- 1c feedback,
- 7b global /class collaboration using tech,
- 6a choosing appropriate platforms and tools for meeting the desired objectives,
- 6b create original works,
- 6c communicate complex ideas by creating digital models, and
- 6d publish / present with audience in mind.
About two weeks before beginning this project, I emailed the Kindergarten teachers at my school. They both agreed to have their students participate. It worked out well as they each have 20 students.
The first lesson was used to form student teams based on writing level, a preference for drawing or writing, a Google Form student preference survey, and boy/girl pairings as much as possible (there are more boys than girls in each class). Using this information, it took about 15min during the lesson to match everyone. Note: I chose teams with student input because students were allowed to choose their partners in their last assignment. I wanted to mix it up a bit.
Most groups seem to be okay so far, there were a couple of changes I made afterwards as one student didn’t thoroughly answer the survey so was paired with a student where there was unresolved conflict and another student just started having social conflict with their partner.
How do you group students? Do you prefer students to work together or individually?
Once students were in teams of 2 or 3, they collaborated on developing 5-10 interview questions for the Kindergarten students. Most teams used Google Docs to record their questions and answers. A couple of teams used Google Slides. I asked some students why they chose Docs and they said it was: easy to use, easy to share, and convenient to work together. The teams using Google slides said similar things though they went farther and said that they will put their research information on slides in the slideshow. This would be their way of organizing their work and keeping it in one place.
All of the grade 6 students interviewed the K classes on a Wednesday morning. It took about 10 min for the students to ask and answer questions. The K students were super thrilled to have the older students come in to interview them! As I thanked a small group of K students, two girls ran up and hugged my legs and shouted,”Thank you for doing a hard thing for us today!”.
Have you worked with K students before? What’s a memorable quote from this time?