Monday, April 30, 2012

The Weeks AFTER State Testing

Our state testing is a week earlier this year leaving us with four full weeks to remain academically engaged after our state testing (or as one teacher pointed out this morning - only four more Mondays!)

Some teachers teach mini units that they weren't able to get to during the year (I know one teacher is teaching a unit about Pirates...in the context of Social Studies and ELA...and another is doing a science mystery unit where students have to lift fingerprints, test ink...in the context of scientific inquiry)

I personally liked to do four weeks of projects where children can work at their own pace (as long as at the end of the month they completed the projects). I did it while I was in the classroom and enjoyed the self paced atmosphere of the classroom and the fact that everyone knew what they had to do. I basically served as a facilitator and occasional "task master." I usually played my Kidz Bop CD's while they worked and on Friday I declared it "educational TV" day where students could bring in snacks and drinks and we would watch "Plant Earth" videos, "World's Best" videos (on Streamline), or I would tape something interesting on Animal Planet and we would watch it.

All students started with the first project together (ABC book within their notebook) then they moved through the others (at their own pace). The projects can be anything you want them to be (finished people can work in pairs with some of the other projects):

- Design and put up a hallway display depicting one of the units we studied
- Using magazines create a science collage on the front of your notebook
- Create a unit review using one of the online game review sites
- Design an interactive poster depicting a scene in history
- Rewrite a popular song with educational lyrics, film it, and edit it using Movie Maker Live
- Using recycled materials create an animal and make a museum display box for it with an informational card.

It is nice to give students a choice board so that they can pick what kind of project they want to do. As the tech coach I am working with a fifth grade class who will be doing something similar after their state test. As children work through their projects they will come to me in the computer lab and create an Animoto of a person they had to do research on (sample Animoto can be found above). The main teacher will stay in the classroom and supervise the students who are not at the computer stage while I take the students who are ready to move on.

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