We live, and teach, in an amazing time. Projects that we’ve all tried in the classroom can be made even more meaningful through the power of technology and connecting learners on a global level.
1.) The Classic Book Diorama: You know the drill, read a book, create a diorama with construction paper and cardboard. What about taking that diorama and creating it in Minecraft instead. Build the characters, the setting, and create the ‘world’ that you were immersed in when you read the book. Team up with others in your classroom (or around the world) who’ve read the book and collaborate. Encourage kids to create a video touring the book to serve as a book review that just might encourage others to read it!
2.) The Science Project Display Board: Remember the gym filled with science project display boards? What about using Weebly.com and asking students to create a website with their project. Exchange sites with a class or a scientist in another part of the world. Skype and allow the guests to ask questions. Open a comment section on the site and encourage kids to answer questions about the project. Video clips, photos, links to research can all be displayed to make the science project an interactive learning experience.
3.) The Visiting Stuffed Animal: You know the fun activity where kids take turns taking the stuffed animal home for the weekend? What if that animal, a classroom mascot, had it’s own Twitter account, and kids took turns writing tweets throughout the school day to recap learning. A great review and a great way for parents to have a peak into the learning.
4.) The Daily Weather Report: You know the drill. The kids check the temperature and chart the weather. But, what about a daily check in around the world. Using Google Earth, chart the weather in your town and more around the world. Choose a different city each week, and Skype with a classroom from the city after charting the weather for a week. Or, even better – partner with a class, and have a five minute Skype check in each morning to get their temperature and weather.
5.) Book Discussion: Reading groups are great ways for kids to connect over literature. But what about setting up Edmodo and connecting with a class somewhere else in the world. That book is now a connection point and students can discuss it. Post discussion questions to generate conversation. Host a book party at the end of the book and ask students to dress like book characters for a live Skype chat. Best of all? Differentiation is really easy – a couple of different Edmodo groups and students can choose the book level or topic that is right for them.
It’s amazing how connecting on a global level can take an ordinary project, and make it extraordinary. But, give kids an audience, and they’ll see just how much their work matters. Nothing is more powerful.