This year, we are doing zoo animals. I initially was just going to have the students do some basic things about the zoo and discuss animals and habitat, but them I thought having them complete a research project (slightly modified, of course) would really allow them to focus on one animal, be able to incorporate so many of their IEP objects, and be a perfect way to try out a new tech tool. This animal research project parallels the first grade classes animal research projects, but I wanted my students to go beyond a diorama. My students began some "guided research". I refer to is as guided because I was the one providing them with the resources so they wouldn't have to spend time navigating various websites. Instead, I organized photos on a common drive at school and I placed links on my classroom blog for video references. The students, with some adult guidance, used these selected resources to choose the information that was relevant to their specific animal. After we complete some research and students had complete their "data sheets" and typed a 5-7 sentence written report using the Abilipad (adapted keyboard app for iPad). I had the idea to try "Glogster" as a presentation method. In conversation, I asked a 5th grade teacher at my building if her students did Glogster. She said a few, but she wasn't even that familiar with it. With out thinking, I said, "wouldn't it be cool if some of the 5th graders could help my students create the Glogsters?" Without hesitation, she said "YES".
So fast forward about a week or so (due to state testing), the first meeting of our students to work on Glogster was great. I was amazed at how well ALL the students worked together. The 5th graders didn't take over, they allowed my students type and explore Glogster. They helped with spelling, moving some of the objects, and reading the options. The 5th graders were great! My students LOVED, LOVED, LOVED...did I say loved, the students helping out. They were eager to tell them about their animal. We learned about introductions and having to work together. Once the Glogs are completed, I will be sure to post. I will also be posting the steps and materials we used in our projects. Feel free to check out my classroom blog to see some of the resources organized.
We need to meet again to add pictures and video, but they are almost complete. I think this partnership is going to lead to great things!!