My fifth grade students have been growing connections with other fifth grade classrooms through Twitter. One of our friend classes is @5bfish, a group of students based in Hawaii. It was through their tweets that we discovered that there was an active lava flow threatening the village of Pahoa. As you can imagine this is a rather foreign concept to my Chicago kids, many of who have never even see a farm let alone an active volcano. As we began to follow their tweets and explore some of the news links that they sent us my students became more and more interested in what was going on. We began to view media clips and images of the active flow, do research on the volcano itself, learn about the Goddess Pele and how the cultural traditions of the Hawaiians were impacting the response to the lava flow. To tell you the truth it took on a life of its own.
I began searching out supplemental resources and sharing them via Edmodo. Then students began doing their own research and sharing videos, link, and images with each other via our Edmodo group.
When we sat down to discuss what we wanted to do with this information students grasped onto the idea of creating their own news casts so that we could raise awareness of the issue. Then, we decided why no involve our Hawaii friends and ask them to join us as a sister news station in Hawaii. So we collaborated via Google docs on some questions to send them and they sent recordings back!
My students are so energized and knowledgeable about this topic now, they are having a blast, and they are learning so many skills! During this inquiry they have;
- Read at least 15 different articles, websites, and books on the topic.
- Viewed at least 6 different videos including interviews.
- Examined a live volcanic rock set.
- Tweeted questions to our 5BFish and other Hawaii sources and received responses.
- Analyzed visual images.
- Practiced notetaking and synthesizing skills.
- Worked together to write a script including the most important parts of the topic.
- Collaborated on filming and editing.
- Practiced fluent reading from the vidoprompt app of their script.
- Improved their public speaking skills by speaking loudly and clearly for the recording.
- Collaborated on Google Drive to cowrite thoughtful follow up questions.
We are in the editing and revising process now, examining video from our Hawaii friends and working on editing the footage that we took in front of the Green screen. I can’t wait until their newscasts are finished! What a fun and friendly inquiry this has been so far.
What I love about this is that its homegrown, from the students, and following their passions. It’s helping them raise their cultural awareness as we explore how culture and science sometimes collide. Best of all, it’s helping them build global connections and meaningful learning partnerships with students halfway across the world.