In the 3rd-5th grade A.C. Williams Gifted and Talented (GT) classes, we just finished a unit over the Day of the Dead. To start the unit, students were able to have real-world experiences using the Google Expeditions app and Virtual Reality headsets to explore the actual Day of the Dead festival in Mexico.
Students then began their independent research over things that interested them about the Day of the Dead festival. Students had complete control over their learning and were able to decide what they wanted to research and share with the class. After completing their research they organized their findings into a Google Slide presentation. Students had to have a total of 6 slides, with 1 title slide and 5 informational slides.
When their presentations were complete and they were ready to share their learning with their classmates, they submitted their presentations on a Padlet. On this Padlet, students were able to view each other's work and provide feedback to one another over their presentations.
I believe that our GT students had a blast in this unit and I know that I will continue to use these wide variety of resources to engage my students and enhance their learning.
Recently, I found a blog post by The Secondary English Coffee Shop that caught my attention. This teacher used Twitter posts and hashtags to teach her students about theme. It makes sense. Yes, I know, fourth graders are too young to have a Twitter account, but she didn't post these Tweets, they just wrote them on paper and shared. Genius!
I started out teaching my students the basics of Twitter. Our first "tweets" consisted of students stepping into the role of the characters in a book and responding. We used the story of "The Tortoise and the Hare" to create the tweets. Then, the students wrote hashtags (cue the angels singing).
We discussed how hashtags really are the theme of the post. Your tweet might outline your amazing day, but you might end with #bestdayever <== theme. Maybe everything went wrong, but you managed to stay positive with #cantkeepmedown <== theme! My kiddos had a blast learning this way, AND we didn't even touch a computer!
I guess I'm not a complete Twitter-Hater, but don't tell anyone--I have a reputation to uphold. I'll keep tweeting with my class without computers, phones, iPads, etc, and we will hashtag all of our reading. I might even share it on the REAL Twitter, if I ever dust off that app. In the meantime, consider Twitter-fying your lessons. I think all of our students can #themeit!
Heather Kilgore & CISD Tech Team
District Instructional Technologist Team for Commerce ISD. Sharing the great things happening in the classrooms in Commerce ISD.