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How to teach 3 social studies units covering over half a century in 4 weeks: A 5th Grade Glogster Project

Last year, I began a journey with 5th grade that integrated multiple social studies standards into one big project.  The teachers put students in cross-classroom groups and assigned them social studies topics for a unit on the turn of the century.  Each group made a glog about their topic after using print and digital resources to gather information.  We were amazed by the leadership, collaboration, and innovation that took place in that project, but we made a lot of mistakes along the way too.  You can read more about last year here and here.

This year, we almost didn’t do this project.  The teachers were feeling even more overwhelmed by the content this year because they had to teach 3 social studies units and 2 science units in 9 weeks.  You would probably feel overwhelmed too if you knew you had to teach these units in that amount of time:

Even the district planner recommends a total of 12 weeks for the units, but requires that it be done in the 3rd quarter (9 weeks).

After multiple combinations of meetings between me, the 5th grade social studies teacher, the gifted collaboration teacher, and the instructional coach, we developed a plan for how this year’s content might look.  Each of the 3 social studies classes were assigned a unit.  Within each class, topics were assigned to individuals as well as groups of students.  These students made plans of how to divide the content among their group.  On Mondays and Fridays, the social studies teacher and gifted teacher did direct teaching of some of the content from all 3 units.  On Tuesday-Thursday, students came to the media center to research their topics in online databases, websites, and books.  Last year, students just took notes as they read, but this year we wanted students to have a better structure that was based in questions that came from the standards.  The gifted teacher combed through the standards and created 2 different graphic organizers with questions for students to consider.  The organizer also had space to document resources used.  Some students chose to use digital copies of this organizer while others chose to print it out and write their notes.

Once again, I pulled together a pathfinder divided up by topics.  This pathfinder gave each student a handful of websites about their topic.  I also showed them how to search the databases found in Georgia’s Galileo collection.  My paraprofessional took the topics and searched through our print collection.  If a book matched one group’s topic, she put a post-it with their names on the book.  If a book spanned multiple topics, she put it in a shared stack.

To begin our journey, I briefly introduced the pathfinder, graphic organizers, and how to take notes (not copying and pasting entire paragraphs of information from websites).  I also showed a glog from last year’s students to give them an idea of what they would ultimately be doing.  We chose not to introduce how Glogster works at the beginning.  We also chose to not give students logins and passwords to Glogster.  Students then began a week of research.  The social studies teacher, gifted teacher, student teacher, my paraprofessional, some college students, and me began working with students as much as possible to support them in their search.

After a week, I introduced how Glogster works by showing a very basic run-through of the kinds things it can do.  Students continued to research, but as they finished, they checked in with one of the adults.  Most of the time we offered additional guiding questions and support so that they had the most complete information possible.  Once students reached a point where they had enough information, they received their username and password to Glogster.

Most students began Glogster with deciding on their wall background.  Then, they moved to adding text from their organizer.  Eventually, students branched out to include photographs from public domain searches and linked their pictures to the sources they came from.  Some students also did audio introductions to their glog or recorded audio for various parts of their glogs.  Some students used Screencast-o-matic to do screencasts of timelines from PebbleGo or tours in Google Earth.  A few students used webcams to record themselves talking.  One group even did a webcam video of their resource list rather than just creating a text box for it.

You can view some of the finished or in progress glogs here:

Recovering from the Great Depression

Black Cowboys

Wright Brothers

George Washington Carver

Alexander Graham Bell

Thomas Edison

Spanish American War

McKinley & Roosevelt

Panama Canal

Immigration

Voting Rights

US Contributions and Treaty of Versailles

Lusitania and Other Ships

Duke Ellington

Louis Armstrong

Harlem Renaissance

Babe Ruth

Charles Lindbergh

Henry Ford

The Great Depression

Jesse Owens

Stalin, Mussolini, Roosevelt, & Churchill

Holocaust

Presidents of WWII

Bombing of Japan

Changing Role of Women

Tuskegee Airmen

Cold War

Khrushchev & McCarthy

D-Day, VJ, & VE Days

Pearl Harbor, Iwo Jima, & Hirohito

Panama Canal 2

Once students finalize their glogs, they will present them to the rest of the 5th grade to share the responsibility of teaching and learning this massive amount of content.

Andy Plemmons

School Librarian

David C. Barrow Elementary

Athens, GA

http://barrowmediacenter.wordpress.com

http://www.clarke.k12.ga.us/webpages/aplemmons

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Registration Is Open for the GLMA Summer Institute!

GLMA Summer Institute June 15-17, 2011

JOIN US FOR THE GLMA SUMMER INSTITUTE AT CALLAWAY GARDENS!

Summer Institute 2010 (photo by Susan Grigsby)

Registration is open for the GLMA Summer Institute, to be held June 15-17, 2011 at Callaway Gardens! The Summer Institute is a great opportunity for Georgia Media Specialists to get together to work, learn, earn one PLU credit, and network with friends throughout the state! The registration form and the prior approval form can be found on the GLMA website.

The Mountain Creek Inn is offering GLMA members a special price for June 15-17. This offer will expire on May 16, 2011. The rate will be $99/night plus tax and garden admission is included. Call 800-543-7121 for a reservation. Remember to ask for the GLMA Summer Institute Rate. Information about the facility can be found by visiting the Callaway Gardens website.

Summer Institute 2010 (photo by Susan Grigsby)

We look forward to seeing you at the Summer Institute. If you have any questions, please contact Amanda or Kathryn in the Executive Office or the Summer Institute Coordinator, Susan Grigsby.

Free Webinar Wednesday Night: Interview with Linda Darling-Hammond

If you can’t catch it live, you will want to listen to the archive!

TEDxNYED: Examining the Role of New Media and Technology in Shaping the Future of Education

http://www.tedxnyed.com/

TEDxNYED: Independently organized TED event via kwout

Today is the day of TEDxNYED; if you miss the livestream of the outstanding lineup of speakers, be of good cheer:  all video will be available on the TEDxNYED website and their YouTube Channel.

What is TEDxNYED?

TEDxNYED, an all-day conference examining the role of new media and technology in shaping the future of education, will take place in New York City on Saturday, March 6, 2010 and will be webcast live here at tedxnyed.com, allowing viewers around the world to join and engage in these ideas worth spreading.

TEDxNYED is operating under license from TED, organizers of the immensely popular TED Conference, an annual event where some of the world’s leading thinkers and doers are invited to share what they are most passionate about. In the spirit of “ideas worth spreading,” TED has created TEDx, a program of local, organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. ted.com/tedx.

TEDxNYED is independently organized by New York educators. At TEDxNYED, TED Talk videos and live speakers will combine to spark deep discussion and connections. TEDxNYED presenters have been invited to share their insights and inspire conversations about the future of education. Attendees of the conference will participate via networking sessions where they will educate one another and, in the spirit of TED, help spread these ideas.

TEDxNYED is an all-day event designed to bring leading educators, innovators, and idealists together to share their vision of education. This event will provide a platform for administrators, teachers, and those passionate about education to connect, learn from these extraordinary speakers, and spread their ideas on how new media and technology are shaping the future of education. There will be live speakers, two recorded TED Talks, and a number of networking sessions both during and after the event

The lineup of speakers features some of the most innovative and forward-thinking minds in a broad range of fields that are impacting current thought in education as well as librarianship!  Henry Jenkins, Michael Wesch, Andy Carvin, Chris Lehmann, and Lawrence Lessig are just a few of the stellar speakers.

Here are a few helpful links:


Librarian Advocacy: Sign the Twitter Petition

If you are someone who is active on Twitter, consider signing the Twitter petition ignited by Lisa Layera of the Washington Moms to help advocate for funding to support certified teacher librarians trained in technology integration, 1:1 computing, and broadband access for American schoolchildren.