Trying to keep a grade six class interested in school during May and June in Ontario can be difficult. The warm summer weather was calling their names and they were anxious to start their summer vacation. As a technological teacher, I knew that using various forms of technology would keep them engaged and excited. Here is a snapshot of my class at the end of the year, last year.
We embarked on our robust task of exploring how misunderstandings can change the world. We discussed conflict in Israel, Palestine, Rwanda, Darfur, Sudan and studied apartheid in South Africa. Throughout the unit we completed shared reading activities by deconstructing poems on the Smartboard. We delved into the meanings of pictures in story books using the document camera and then posted our responses on our class blog, along with the pictures that we scanned in and posted alongside our thoughts. Students created Power Point presentations on their reactions to articles. We wrote letters to children that Deborah Ellis had interviewed for her book Three Wishes, and she wrote back!
Our most impactful use of technology involved our study of the Lost Boys of Sudan. We read books, had discussions and watched the movie "God Grew Tired of Us". To wrap it up, we had a videoconference with a Lost Boy who is now a grown man living in Philadelphia. He told us his story and answered the students questions and they were riveted. When he told them about walking for days in the desert with no food or water, being shot at, all along trying to keep a group of five year old boys alive with him, the connections hit home. When a student realized that our reading buddies were the same age, there was not a dry eye in the class.
To add a light side to the end of the year, the students made claymation movies on a light topic of their choice. Some chose skateboarding, some diving and others a shark eating smaller fish. Students imported their pictures into Movie Maker and edited them in sequence. After adding music, titles and credits, they were ready to be burned onto discs to take home to show off to family and friends.
Introducing interesting units with a technology connection made a huge difference for the end of the year. The students were excited to come to school, participated in mature conversations and were engaged in their learning. You can see some of our work at http://lpottsfay.edublogs.org/page/2/.
Technology has been and will continue to be a key component in my teaching. There is an entry point for every age. It makes learning exciting, creative and engaged!
|CDW Canada's J.D. Hupp, Leyla Potts-Fay
and class at Willow Landing Elementary School
||CDW Canada presents Willow Landing teacher
Leyla Potts-Fay with a Teaching With Technology prize bundle