Final Project Ideas

The final course is upon us! When I sat down in course 4 to create my plan on how to tackle the final project, I had the idea to integrate setting up our daily classroom routines in conjunction with our technology routines. Below is a snippet from my Course 4 blog post:

My goal is to embed technology into the first 6 weeks of school unit and explicitly teach routines and expectations with regards to technology. Ultimately, I would like to create an interactive board that allows students to pick and choose the tools they know how to use that best suits their task and learning style, add to it as the year goes on and organize it in a way where students can visibly see which tools are fit for which task.                             

As the first six weeks of school came and went, I found this idea to be a little tricker than I originally thought. So, I decided to shift my thinking a little. I spent a great deal of time setting up routines and expectations with regards to the use of our 1:1 iPads and learning platforms that we regularly, focusing most heavily on Seesaw and Google Classroom at the beginning of the year. I found that be establishing and setting clear expectations together, we had a good foundation for starting our own PLN within our classroom. I did not set up an interactive board or menu for students to organize their apps, like the one I mentioned in my post. This is still something I may try next year. What I learned this year, is that by working with the students to set up clear classroom routines, set essential agreements together and keeping the locust of control with the students as much as possible, our PLN naturally formed. So… where do I go from here for my final project?

Now that we are entering our final six weeks of school, I have been reflecting on exactly how I integrate technology into our little 4A class community. I discovered that many of the routines we follow in Coetail are alive and well in our classroom.

My students:

  • Use Seesaw as a digital portfolio/blog
  • Share their learning daily and have many opportunities to make their thinking visible
  • Give and receive feedback from those in our PLN (students, teachers and family members)
  • Use CC search (we are still working on citing evidence regularly)
  • Know how to use a variety of Apps and how to choose the right one for their purpose

What’s next?

Our culminating unit at the end of Grade 4 has always been our Agents of Change unit. The goal for this unit was for students to choose a global issue they are passionate about and find a way to invoke positive change through direct action, indirect action, or advocacy. Sounds amazing, right! I agree!! This has always been my favorite unit to teach. Unfortunately, as our standards changed with the adoption of AERO, the standards that were at the core of this unit are no longer in Grade 4, they now belong to my Grade 5 colleagues… BUMMER!

On the bright side, one of the challenges we faces with this unit, was that our students simply did not have the background knowledge about global issues, and often, projects became token, repetitive, and rather surface level. This gave our team the opportunity to revamp our unit, but not eliminate it all together.

The standards we have decided to focus on are:

  • Standard 7: Students will understand fundamental economic principles and ways in which economies are shaped by geographic and human factors.
    • 7.5.c Describe how changes in transportation and communication have affected trade and economic activities.
    • 7.5.d Explain and compare ways in which people satisfy their basic needs and wants through the production of goods and services.

While keeping in mind, the new Grade 5 standard:

  • Standard 2: Students will understand causes and effects of interaction among societies, including trade, systems of international exchange, war, and diplomacy.
    • 2.5.a. Describe how wants and needs have implications beyond the self.

Below is a snapshot of the unit:

Performance Task:
  • Students will create a Public Service Announcement (PSA) about a topic they are passionate about. They will use Product Journey Mapping tools to find alternative uses for a product after it has been used for its initial purpose.

Central Idea/Enduring Understanding:  The choices we make to satisfy our wants and needs have an impact, both positive and negative.

Essential Questions:

  • What is the difference between wants and needs?
  • Form: What are the consequences of our choices, positive or negative?
  • Causation: Why do people make the choices they make?
  • Responsibility: How can we make responsible choices in what we choose to buy?
  • Connection: How do individuals, governments, and organizations work together to bring about change?

Other focus questions:

  • What needs and wants do we consider priorities?
  • What are the different ways to bring about change? (advocacy, direct, indirect)
  • How do citizens work together to bring about change?
  • How do our actions/choices impact others?
My goal for this unit, is to provide a framework for students work in, where they are empowered to collaborate and use the digital tools they know appropriately to successfully complete the performance task.
Wish me luck!

Jennifer Byrnes

My name is Jen and this is my 10th year as an educator. I am a fourth-grade teacher at the American School of the Hague. I have lived and worked in the US, Uk, Italy, China and the Netherlands. I have taught grades K-4.

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