I’m often asked by teachers and other media specialists about ways to use technology with the youngest of students. I’ve just started an exploration with a pre-K teacher and her students on weather. Ms. Hocking is always listening to her students and looking for ideas that interest them. She often takes one small idea that comes from the class and branches that idea into several weeks of explorations and projects. Her most recent venture is with weather forecasting. She contacted me via email to begin brainstorming what might be possible for her students. After many exchanges, we came up with a plan that has just begun. Here’s what we’re going to try:
- In class, she is showing the students multiple weather forecasts for all kinds of weather on the smart board. The purpose is to build some background knowledge and familiarity for her students on what happens in a weather forecast.
- Lesson 1 in the media center: Students will view a local weather forecast for two purposes: deciding what jobs need to be done to create a forecast and creating a web of weather words that might be used in their own forecast. This lesson is already complete. We used open mind to create a brainstorm web of jobs and weather words. The students offered words and jobs that they heard and thought of and the teachers and I filled in other jobs and words. It was truly a collaborative experience where everyone in the room was offering ideas.
- In class, Ms. Hocking will continue to look at the words that students brainstormed and build their familiarity and understanding of the words
- Lesson 2 in the media center: We will explore how meteorologists decide what they will say on the air. We’ll look at the weather channel website and explore tools that meteorologists use. Then, we’ll narrow our focus to what students will include in their own forecasts and begin a skeleton script.
- In class, Ms. Hocking will continue to work on scripts of what students will say in their forecasts.
- Lesson 3 in the media center: Students will explore how meteorologists remember what they are supposed to say. We’ll look at cue cards and create some picture cue cards that will trigger certain responses on camera. For example, a picture of the sun would mean “sunny”
- In class, Ms. Hocking will finish the cue cards, assign jobs to students, and begin practicing with students.
- Lesson 4 in the media center will be exploring the equipment in our morning broadcast studio. Students will see all the equipment used to do a morning broadcast and will record their own weather forecasts in small groups. Our hope is that students will actually be the ones using the equipment to record.
- The final step will be to share their forecasts on our morning broadcast and possibly on a teacher tube account.
I feel like this is an ambitious endeavor, but we have no idea what works with these youngest students until we take a step and try things out. I can’t wait to see what successes we observe and what hurdles we face along the way.