Course one has come to a close, and though it’s a little late, I’m finally getting my final project posted. Thus far COETAIL has energized my teaching and provided several new ideas that I’ve already tried with my students, so I’ve created a unit plan that will help my students go further with what they already know (and try a few new things as well).
We use the IB PYP planners at my school, but this time I’ve attempted to use the understanding by design format. I’m not completely comfortable with this planner yet, so I will try to explain as much as possible in this blog post.
My third grade class is starting a new unit of inquiry on plants. Specifically, they will look into plant diversity, human and plant connectedness, and conservation and sustainability. For the PYP fans out there, this is part of the “Sharing the Planet” trans-disciplinary theme.
Throughout the unit, my students will employ a variety of familiar and new technology tools to help their inquiry. Here is how each tool will be used:
Familiar Technology – Google Drive
Since I’ve started COETAIL, my students have gone “all in” with google drive. They each have their own google accounts and they are familiar with creating, sharing, and collaborating on documents. For our unit on plants, my students will record their knowledge and research with digital learning logs. They will also use drive to co-create a movie script for their summative assessment (more on that later).
New Technology – Google Document Commenting
While I’ve used commenting for my students’ digital learning logs, they haven’t tried it on their own. In fact, right now, they only share their learning logs with me. As they complete research for this unit, however, the students will share their writing with peers and use the commenting feature for questioning, adding ideas, and giving feedback.
New Technology – Blogging
At least once a week, students will choose a piece of writing from their learning log and publish it to a class blog. This will be my first time to have students blog, but as a blogging veteran (well…since January), I will hopefully be able to lead them into this unchartered territory.
Familiar Technology – imovie
My students have used imovie as a digital storytelling tool for narrative stories they’ve written. Here is an example from this week:
For their unit summative assessment, they will be creating their first non-fiction movie, which will demonstrate their understanding of our “Plants” central idea and lines of inquiry. Now that they are familiar with imovie, they can concentrate on the content of their videos.
New Technology – youtube
Of course my students are familiar with youtube, and we’ve even become creators rather than just consumers. However, up to this point I’ve handled all of the uploading and sharing. For this unit, I would like my students to learn how to safely upload and share their own creations. I am especially interested in having them share with other third grade classes around the world.
I think that’s enough for a 6-week unit. Stay tuned for updates on how things are going.
Here’s a link to the planner if the embed doesn’t work: