Saturday, November 22, 2014

Saving the Animals and Steve Jobs

Unit 3 of our English Zone curriculum for fifth grade is called Save the Animals. Last year, I had the students create posters on sea otters since that was the lone endangered creature discussed in the book. With the posters came topics such as their habitat, appearance, dangers, and solutions. The posters, I thought, were okay, but I had a strong sense the content and products were limited. So I changed it up a bit...

This year I let the groups select an endangered animal of choice to research for their presentations. The groups were then allowed to appoint who would study each topic for their chosen animal. Before we went to the computer lab, we went over a visual map of how to create different PowerPoints.
my poorly done "visual map"
This is because I have seen many speakers try to convey their messages with slides that have only words and an incredible amount of them. This fit perfectly with Carmine Gallo's The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience.

The steps we covered to make the slides more worth watching included:
1) Get on the internet & find the answers to the Driving Questions under each topic.
2) Record the information in their notebooks and/or remember it.
3) Find pictures of the answers and apply them to your group's PowerPoint.
4) Think about what you will say when your slides show up on the TV.
1. look for information
2. record and/or remember answers to Driving Questions
3. put a PowerPoint together
Next, I printed off paper copies of their PowerPoints with lines to write on. This will give the students a way to plan and prepare what they will say when their presentations come (step 4). The upcoming week will be when students have time to do just that while they collaborate even more than what they already did in the computer lab.

My expectation for the students is that they find 1-2 answers for every Driving Question they formulated. Again, since this is a first, we'll start small with our results. Then go from there. I shall say...I'm looking forward to the next step we will take before the presentations happen. I'm considering showing a TED talk to hit on public speaking, but I don't want to add too many new things at one time and make the project possibly more difficult than it is.

What do you think? What am I doing right? What could be done differently now or next time?
our photographer came to class & ended up helping a group edit their pics
I had to put this one in here ;)

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