11 Multimedia Tools in 1 Great Project!
Thank you to Donna Colavolpe from Half Hollow Hills School District in NY, for a Social Studies project idea that is a shining example of 21st Century teaching and learning. Donna’s fourth grade class in NY used e-pals.com to connect and share information with another fourth grade class from St. Louis, Missouri.
Step 1: The children began by writing introductory letters to each other. Then, they began comparing their lives to the lives of the Missouri students. Students used Google Earth to observe New York and Missouri. They wrote back and fourth to each other approximately twice a month. They learned about each other’s likes, dislikes, hobbies, schools, friends and even holiday celebrations.
Step 2: The students researched everything about their home state using websites that were teacher chosen and attached to the class e Board. The sites were differentiated according to readability and included videos as well. As they acquired information, they took notes in an Excel spreadsheet. They also used digital cameras to take pictures of the plants and animals that they observed in their own backyards.
Step 3: The students used their notes to create paragraphs for a Power Point presentation. These presentations were shared in class and also attached to the class e Board to share with others. Then the students attached their Power Points to an email to their pen pals. The children in both classes wrote personal narratives and published their narratives in Word and emailed them to their pen pals.
Step 4: With the use of Skype and web cams, the students in both classes finally met and were able to speak to each other face to face. They took turns asking their e pals questions and sharing what their favorite part of this learning experience was.
*Another option/modification for ELLs: Have ELL students connect with students from their home countries so that they can compare and contrast their new home with their country of origin.