Anne Frank – Project

I worked with my Grade 7 students on a project on Anne Frank. Very few of them even knew who she was, so it was a great opportunity to introduce this incredible story to them. We started the project in September.
In order to introduce the topic and work on their comprehension skills, I showed them a short animated clip with her story. This got many of them excited about Anne’s life, since I clipped the video up until her family was captured by the Nazi. Later on, they worked on a passage to be completed with information from the video. 
The next step was a group project. I really needed them to work in groups, since they have to share their laptops. They were to do some research on different aspects of the story: the secret annex, the people who lived there, the helpers, and the Nazi. 
I provided links with information on these topics on Edmodo and they had to answer a guide that would allow them to create a presentation. My main aim was for them to be able to get the gist and pour on a presentation. Each group prepared a presentation on Google Slides and then they presented it to their classmates on the IWB, thus working on fluency, pronunciation and speaking skills. 
To finish the project, we booked a visit to Anne Frank’s Museum. They got to see some memorabilia, and got to tour a re-creation of the Secret Annex.

Then they created own ‘museum’ with whatever caught their attention. They had to choose what surprised them the most, or something that represented Anne and her story, and portray it in any way they desired: a picture, a quote, a short passage. We created a crafty display and shared it with the rest of the class. 

World Cup Scavenger Hunt – 7th grade

Practically all of my students are football fans and the World Cup was just too big to pass up. Even my 7th graders who are usually not so keen on football had a hard time escaping the craziness that swept the country. Hey! Even I had a hard time doing so!

So with that in mind I decided to include it in my lesson plan.

First, I created an online scavenger hunt using Google Docs. I divided them in groups and provided them with questions to Google (eg Which country won the first World Cup? How many World Cups did Argentina play? Which country won the most World Cups?) Each team had to find out the information and complete it in the shared document which was being projected on the Interactive Whiteboard. The team that got all the answers correct first, would win.

Pros and cons of the activity

Pros:

With this activity, students were able to develop search skills. I noticed some of them were totally clueless as to how to conduct a proper search. I helped them out by directing them to verified sites or choosing more appropriate search words.

By working in groups, it allowed them to compensate for whatever they were lacking: comprehension skills, search skills, use of the computers. Most of the times, they would call me for help and end up helping one another instead while I ‘supervised’

Cons:

Using a single shared document (and having it projected on the IWB) proved to be an excellent opportunity to tackle some issues. One of the fastest teams participating in the scavenger hunt, decided to get the upper hand by deleting other teams’ responses. So it was the perfect opportunity to discuss some digital citizenship elements, such as proper online conduct and respect for other people’s work.

Given the competitive nature of the activity, English was definitely not the language used for communication (not even for the search itself) I was not terribly worried about that, because when the time came to share the results, English had to be spoken.

All in all, it was a great activity. It paved the way for the World Cup Project I have in mind for them.

Edmodo

Some weeks ago I started working on Edmodo with my class. This website provides us with great tools to work with our students. Here are some of my reasons why

  • it has the feel of a social network, mimicking many of the features andlayout of, say, Facebook.
  • students get a code and can access the class’ group with no need of an e-mail account
  • teachers can filter students’ posts and messages
  • it fosters independence and responsibility on students.
  • teachers can create a library with resources, which can be shared with their students or other teachers.

It is pretty undeniable that we have the ability nowadays to connect to others in ways that were unimaginable a couple of years ago. We can subscribe to authors we like, follow them on Twitter, read their blogs, watch their webinars, join teachers’ communities, exchange experiences, learn. Edmodo is no stranger to this. We can extend our class beyond the walls of our schools. We can enable our students to exchange thoughts, opinions and their work in a safe environment. And as professionals, we can connect to other teachers, learn, exchange, share. We can become 2.0 teachers.

Interested? Here’s an overview on Edmodo.