Wednesday, February 5, 2014

#make4DLDay Nonfiction Characters

What is Digital Learning Day?

Wednesday, February 5th, is Digital Learning Day. As of 3:00 PM, Nespelem School was one of nine schools who have added an event for Washington State. Starting at 8:00 AM, we watched in Grade 8 the live webinar and presentations from Washington, DC. We were able to listen to high school students debate, see schools bring personalized learning and projects to engage students, and listened to the goals of the Department of Education for improving access for 99% of the nation's schools. Be sure to check out the tweets for #dlday and #make4dlday because Nespelem School tweeted their progress as well through NSDEdwards and NSDEagles.

Our project evolved from Karen Fasimpaur's #clmooc  / Educator Innovator "make" idea for paper cut-outs. We adapted it to our nonfiction reading, and we're excited about our work. Thanks, Karen.

The National Writing Project even tweeted our work and asked us to write about it in Digital Is !

And Paul Oh of Oakland Schools and The National Writing project said:

What's all the excitement about?  

In Ms Edwards's class we have taken the pledge to Support Digital Learning. Digital Learning is more than just using technology -- it's about learning to "navigate the shift to more robust digital learning environments to achieve higher standards for students." The presentations today suggested a shift to personalized learning and inquiry through authentic learning (thanks Kathy Schrock) such as project- and problem-based learning.

So what did we do? 

We dug deeper into our nonfiction reading, asking an important question: What are the main messages of the whole article I chose to read? It's easy to pick out one main idea, but to pull the ideas together into a summarizing statement, title, and image takes the learning to another level. Students worked together and with independent components in a collaborative effort to help each other understand.

What's personalized about it? 

The students chose teams and chose the articles of interest to them. Then, while they are learning and doing, the teacher listens to their successes and struggles and guides them to learn what each needs -- is it how to break an article apart to understand each piece? is it how to pull out the main ideas of each section? is it to put all those main ideas together into one gist statement? is it to figure out the vocabulary? is it to apply the topic to an image, a prop, to help explain the issues?

As you can see-- it depends on the student and their teams. Each person in a class is at a different place, and working on projects help teachers to encourage and support each student with immediate feedback to help them keep moving forward.

What was the project?

Our Cut-Out Character Summaries Project allowed us to carry our messages from our readings to a broader audience. After reading with our own chosen questions, vocabulary selections, and gist statements, students decided on a character from the story to draw and cut-out. Then each student placed the cut-out on a relevant prop from the classroom to add to the student's connections and explanation. Students then create a slide in Keynote with the image, gist statement, and a catchy title. That then became the image for a blog post with the summary statement and conclusion to share with others. The student directions guide them step by step as we learn digital presentation along with our inquiry and summarizing skills.

We will continue adding to our project -- because each team is at a different stage, depending on the amount of learning support or extension.

I love the title on this one: "The Day the President and America Were Shot." Kyle was sad and focused on the assassination, but thought deeper and realized the article was about the loss in America. It's this type of thinking that is missed when we don't take the time to USE the information we are learning, to transform the information to make it ours. That's what projects do, and that's what Kyle did. He then explained his idea to his team, who accepted the idea and incorporated it into their own slides--one student tutoring others. What you also don't know is how he played around with the formatting to get his image to show what was important. He started out with white slides, but then changed the font of the summary to red to carry over the picture colors. He then changed the background to black to draw out the red. Red blood on a black day. Very powerful. Very 21st Century Skills: Summary Presentation through careful thought and design based on facts and analysis.

We hope you continue to check back to our Eagles Write blog, and please comment on our students' work.  Remember that they are learning, so everything is not perfect -- but it does represent lots of learning and thinking as we continue our pledge to be thoughtful, engaged, digital learners. Knowing we have a tweet-able and national audience makes learning fun and important! Students, you are awesome thinkers!

See more about Connected Learning

CCSS Goals

___  RI Cite Evidence
___  RI 2 Determine main idea/supporting details; Write objective summary
___  W8 Quote or paraphrase the data and/or conclusions
___  W9b Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research. Apply reading standards to nonfiction.
___  W5 With some guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on how well purpose and audience have been addressed. (Editing for conventions)
___  W6 Produce and Publish writing; cite sources

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  1. This is amazing! I am so proud of our students for participating in this exciting new learning opportunity!! Thanks Ms Edwards for providing this experience to our students!!

  2. Thanks, Debra. I appreciate your comment and time to read about our work. Our students are awesome learners who accepted the challenge for Digital Learning Day. And we want to do more! Thanks for your encouragement.

  3. Sheri, what a day. Looks like the students were really having fun and getting the meaning of "Digital Learning". What a great project!!!

    1. Thanks Pete. It engaged students in art, language arts, and technology- a multi-media project to help them see how to design the presentation of their ideas.


Please remember this is a family and school related site. Please post and comment appropriately. Please contact Ms Edwards if you have any questions or to report any inappropriate activity. Thank you. sheri at nsdeagles dot org