Teaching to Learn, Learning to Teach

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Student Produced Webpages

One of my assignments this semester is to spend at least 10 hours observing or teaching with technology. I have worked with Mr. Morse, the technology teacher at DJ Montague, and he has introduced a project with the fifth graders that I am really excited about. I wanted to directly quote his lesson plan to preserve the key elements:

"Each fifth grade class will be assigned a habitat--Ocean, Rainforest, Desrt, Arctic/Antarctic, Freshwater, Plains, and Mountain. Students from each class will pick animals from a 'Mystery Box' which will contain animals form their assigned habitat. Using online resources, students will collect information on a worksheet. Using Google 'image search' they will collect images for their report. The reports will be created using SchoolCenter web authoring tools, allowing students to create their own individualized pages, and previewing pages of other students in the class and grade."

Although not mentioned in the lesson plan, the really neat element of this lesson is that the students never specifically say what anima their page is about. They write clues about the animal, like what it eats, distinguishing features, where it lives within that habitat, etc. The goal for the website viewer is to use the clues and online resources available to figure out what animal is being descibed. Mr. Morse told the fifth graders that a younger grade would be using this project, so they should carefully plan and create their page.

I just think this is an excellent way to have students learn how to create a webpage and investigate the animal kingdom. I watched the students today shout interesting facts about their animal across the room, reiterating the idea that learning should be FUN, INTERACTIVE, and PURPOSEFUL.

Even thought this project was conducted in a technology classroom, there is no reason why it can't be done in the general education classroom. I also really like that this page may be used within another grade level because it shows a school wide initiative towards fostering good thinkers and creative minds.

I will try to post a link to the website when it is finished.


At 9:01 AM, Blogger mxroyx said...

What an awesome idea! I think kids can really enjoy making webpages if they are taught how to do it at an early age. I feel like the earlier something like this is introduced, the better chance that students will become actively engaged with it later in life.


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