I love my job as a teacher librarian at a private school. I have had the freedom create my own lessons–shaping and reshaping them, while trying new ideas or adapting old ones or just sticking with the tried and true. I am particularly fond of collaborative lessons. So when our 2nd grade teacher mentioned her students learning about Native American tribes, their housing, diet, occupations, transportation, and art in North America, I decided to extend the project by adding a “digital touch”. In the process, students practiced multiple skills while creating presentations using Tech4Learning’s Wixie software.
In pairs or in groups of three, students researched information and took notes in a graphic organizer. Since we had to rely on websites for information, I created a Symbaloo (webmix) of pre-selected sites, color-coded by region to guide students.
In Wixie, I created a presentation template consisting of 9 slides, which I then shared with the 2nd grade students. Since Wixie is a cloud-based publishing platform, students were able to simply open the template in their accounts and begin working. To guide students, each slide had a sentence starter. Once sentences were typed, the creative fun began. Using Wixie’s build-in library, students added visual representations of the information on each slide. Most of them also added a background color or design. And the final step was to record a narration of their presentation.
Anyone who upgrades lessons using technology knows that this can be a time-consuming endeavour. However, students hone a variety of literacy skills from reading for information to note taking to keyboarding to thinking about visual representations to ensuring all text is visible when choosing a background. In this particular project, the collaboration skill was taken to a whole new level as students negotiated the ever-present issues: Who gets to do what?