After attending a workshop for our teachers on Apple’s iLife suite, Mr. Frick, 8th grade Foundations of American Government teacher at Salisbury Middle School, offered his students the opportunity to creatively tell a historical story using GarageBand.
Students created music and lyrics about an American history topic being studied. The original song/lyrics of the final product demonstrated student understanding of basic facts, essential knowledge and in-depth details and examples related to their chosen topic through the medium of music. Storytelling through the use of technology provides students with an alternate choice to traditional essays and posters. Through this project, students had the opportunity to understand, present and explain information while developing media and creativity skills.
As a part of the research process, students have access to many resources including the new American Studies etext. The new etext provides several advantages over the traditional paper textbook.
- tools for talking to the text – highlighting, post it notes for annotating text
- audio – students can listen to the text being read while they read along
- embedded web resources
- interactive components such as flashcards for vocabulary, games, self-check quizzes, the ability to email the teacher and use interactive graphic organizers
Mrs. Cynthia Long, 2nd grade teacher at Harry S. Truman Elementary School shared this story about the class virtual visit to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, DC.
The joys of technology in the classroom –
We read a Scholastic News booklet in the classroom the other day about Martin Luther King, Jr. The students really enjoyed it and had lots of questions about MLK. The article mentioned the MLK memorial in Washington DC. One of the questions asked was “How tall do you think that thing really is?” My response was “I don’t know, but we can look it up.” It was the end of the day so the next day we set aside some time to check it out on Google. What resulted from that spontaneous teachable moment was heartwarming.
We looked at video footage of MLK giving his “I Have a Dream” speech. The students were fascinated with the fact that they could see what he really looked and sounded like. We found the official website for the memorial and started exploring. Projecting the virtual tour, we found lots of interesting information about the creation of the memorial and watched a slideshow demonstrating the month by month construction of the memorial. We learned about all the symbolism associated with the elements of the memorial and that King’s words from his speeches are etched into the wall. Best of all, we took a virtual tour of the memorial site. The students enjoyed the tour so much they clapped when it was over and asked to watch it again. I heard them saying things like, “This is so cool, we can actually go there inside our classroom.” Two of the boys sitting off to my side were having a conversation during the second showing of the virtual tour: “I wish Martin Luther King was still alive.” “He was really good and he could give more of those speeches to people so more people could hear his ideas.” “I wish he could see that statue of himself.” “That music they’re playing almost makes me cry when I think about how somebody killed him because they didn’t like what he was saying to people.”
All this great stuff because we were able to take a moment and instantly research a topic that interested the students We are so fortunate!
Salisbury Middle School math teacher, Mr. Michael Posch is using the game-based learning site Mangahigh with students to supplement class instruction.
Mangahigh is a digital learning platform that builds student math skills through social engagement and competition. The site delivers math content through:
- Math games – highly engaging math games for students to play.
- Prodigi – adaptive quizzes where students earn medals based on their own math proficiency.
Students also participated in a Fai-To where they were challenged by a British school for the amount of medals earned over a 9 day period. The middle school students were highly engaged and motivated during the challenge. Needless to say, we were victorious!
Skeptical about he use of gaming in learning? Watch this TEDx talk by Gabe Zichermann on Gamification.