A few weeks ago I interviewed Ms. Kass and Ms. Krickovic to highlight what was going on in their classrooms. Both teachers told me about projects that let students publish their work based on research using Schoology as a platform for discussion and collaboration among students.
There are many overlapping aspects to these two projects, and now that the teachers have had the opportunity to reflect upon the results, they are making plans to make this a cross-curricular project next year.
Ms. Kass and her students are making books about plant and animal cells on their iPads. They are using SketchBook and Book Creator to gather everything they are learning through labs and research. The books are going to be great and after Spring Break, we are going to make them available for download.
To make these books more like books, the students will be working in Ms. Ray’s classes to write biographies to use on an “About the Author” page to append at the end of the cell information. Although we are close to the end of the year, during the course of our conversation about rubrics and peer editing, we realized this was a great year-long project, and even a great project to last the full three years of middle school.
Next year, we will start early. Students will interview each other write each other’s biographies. This will help the kids get to know each other as they come together into a single middle school from three elementary schools. They can use this bio at the end of all their books. But, as the year goes on, kids will have newer accomplishments to mention in their biographies. They will also improve their writing and wish to make changes.
As the kids go on to seventh and eighth grades, they can continue to add accomplishments and revise their writing. Towards the end of their third year in middle school, the kids can compare versions and see how much they have grown, both in their writing and in their lives. These biographies could be used in applications to Governor Schools and for scholarships later on.
I wonder what the effect on the students will be. Having all their accomplishments written out in front of them will show them how much they have done, and how much they can do when they set their minds to it.
Yes, I’ve borrowed the TED tagline, sort of. Why not? When you have a good idea, share it.
Apple has put together a small collection of books perfect for our teachers in the iPad 1:1 program who might be looking for lesson ideas that go beyond Google Docs and for teachers who like to check out the shared iPad cart. The books describe lessons that can be adapted to fit different classroom environments. The books are created around specific apps, and luckily, we have all the apps in the collection.
But please don’t restrict your work to this small collection of lessons. If you have a good idea, share it with the rest of the 1:1 teachers. Remember we have the 1:1 Campfire group in Schoology.