Sunday, January 9, 2011

Lesson Observations

After reviewing many lesson plans I finally found one I could modify to use with my class . I found a lesson plan from the Minute Man National Park. This lesson plan included more primary source documents than I wanted to use right now. My students are not at the point in our curriculum where we are at the American Revolution yet and I am only doing this lesson with one class (my home room) as a test case and we will use their finished Voicethread with both classes when we get there in our curriculum. The MMNP lesson used all 4 Amos Doolittle prints and even more primary source first hand account by Thomas Gage as well as some that involved the Battle of Concord. The lesson I created I only wanted to look at the Battle of Lexington and the 1 Doolittle print and I limited the first and accounts. I also wanted to include my FlipVideo of Alex Cain on the Battle Green.

I finished my lesson plan  with my students just prior to Christmas vacation. I started my letting my students that they were going to help me with a project I was trying out for a course I was taking. If it worked out well and we all liked our results we would share it on my classroom blog with parents and with the other class when we were studying the American Revolution.

First I started by setting up the Voicethread accounts for all my students (see previous posting). I started by showing my students the Jim Hollister Video which they liked.  I had to play it again when I mentioned my son was in the video so they could see if they could spot him. We then discussed primary and secondary sources which went really well since I have already covered this with them this year.  We watched the Alex Cain Video and they could not hear the video well the first time due to all the traffic noises in the background. Some of the students started with the first hand accounts with a partner while I pulled two students over to study the large 11 x 14 laminated Doolitte print I have to study and observe. They studied the print and wrote down their observations. I was able to have them step into the hallway table to get ready to record their observations while I gave another team the laminated print. I had the laptop in the hallway table and logged each student into the voicethread and used my cellphone to let them read their observations. The students were fascinated to read their observations into my phone and then moments later clicking on thier picture and hearing their observations.  I had another smaller copy of the Doolittle print so then I could have 2 teams working on these observations while I sat with each student while they recorded on the voicethread.

I also had to explain to the students about how to read the primary source first hand accounts. Explain that these documents have the actual words used by this person (primary source) up top and then any vocabulary that might be unfamiliar to them in the middle and at the bottom is a translated version of the same account but in modern day English. Have the teams work together to answer the questions on their worksheet.

Students worked well and loved this lesson. I had to wait until the next day and finish up in our ELA block to finish our summarizing and the assessment letter. I had to model how to write a letter on the overhead first and keep the sample letter up there for the students to use. Most students were able to complete the assesment but a few were having a hard time coming up with something to write.

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