Dinosaur Technology Unit Plan

Welcome to my ED 554 Technology Unit Plan!

This is a dinosaur and paleontology  focused science unit for second grade.

This unit is designed to combine inquiry, technology, research, creativity, science, and language arts all together to form an enjoyable and educational unit. This unit used a hot and interesting theme of dinosaurs to cover the science SOL 2.5 about learning earth’s history through the study of fossils. Students will take that theme of fossils to design and make, research, and then draw the fossilized skeleton of their very own dinosaur.

This unit’s success is dependent upon the use and access  of classroom technology. The use of technological resources to deepen and expand student learning is monumental. At least one form of technological teaching aid is used per day for this unit. This unit often uses PowerPoint to present visual  and auditory learners and enjoyers with comprehensive cues and information. This unit will build and expand as further use and experience is gained through teaching it.

Dinosaurs Unit- Day 5 Lesson Plan

Day 5 of the dinosaur unit’s lesson plan can be found: Here

The paleontologist theme song can be found here: Brain break song

This lesson wraps up the dinosaur, fossils, and paleontology week. This lesson has students asking their questions to a live paleontologist via Skype video chat, presenting to  the class their paragraph about the dinosaur they researched, and writing a thank you letter to our paleontologist guest expert. It is a very sumative assessment heavy but exciting day.

Dinosaur Unit: Day Two’s Lesson Plan

Day Two’s lesson plan can be found: Here

Link to the lesson’s PowerPoint can be found here:PowerPoint Link

The flipped classroom video referenced in this lesson can be found here: Flipped Classroom Video

The Day One PowerPoint can be found here:Day One PowerPoint

The previous day’s exit slip can be found here:Exit Slip -Day One

This lesson reviews and further distinguishes between  carnivorous and herbivorous  dinosaurs. Students then build and research their own dinosaurs using their iPads and the web resources provided.

Schoology and the Story of Brad Scherer

I read the post The Art of Personalizing Learning for Student and Faculty from the Schoology Exchange where teachers share their success stories through their use of the Schoology program. It is a good read and does a great job in promoting the versatility, accessibility, and ease that the program can provide teachers within their classroom and within the school and learning community. What little I have done with the program I have liked and I would like the opportunity to work with it more. What sold me on the benefits of Schoology is its grading ease, discussion boards, and its design to be a central location for many in and out of class learning activities.

For further convincing on how useful and personal Schoology can be for teachers and students I recommend watching this:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uqc1xE2H9Wg&feature=youtu.be

https://www.schoology.com/blog/the-art-of-personalizing-learning-for-students-and-faculty

Educational ideals vs rationality-students need both computer and internet

I was saddened and then frustrated when I read the articles Digital Divide and Free Computers Don’t Close the Rich-Poor Education Gap, linked to below. It is concerning that school systems got so caught up in pushing the integration of technology into  classroom and home learning that they forgot that limited to no internet access exists for some families. One teacher who saw the limitations of all these good intentions mapped out the free internet hot spots around the school and its neighboring communities.

Is it any wonder that students who can’t reliably or safely access the internet for homework are not as interweb and tech savvy as their peers. No! You would’t give kids a bike without wheels and say “Okay, now you need to bike to and from school each day. Have fun.” We are in dire need of more rationalism and realism mixed into our educational and technological utopia.

Besides school systems realizing the academic and financial lurch they are putting themselves, their students, and their test scores in, they have begun to kvetch about the non academic activities students are doing on their new computers. The poor and lower working class students fall more and more behind their peers who have the socioeconomic resources to succeed in this digital age. I think that more study hall or even classroom time for students to work with and learn from teachers on these digital assignments would be beneficial to all parties involved and would safe many students a trip to their local McDonald’s just to get their homework done.

 

Image result for bike with no wheels

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/28/digital-divide-low-income-students_n_2782528.html?view=screen : Digital Divide By Betsy Isaccson from the Huffington Post.

https://techcrunch.com/2013/05/20/study-free-computers-dont-close-the-rich-poor-education-gap/ : Study: Free Computers Don’t Close the Rich-Poor Education Gap by  from TechCrunch.

 

Dinosaurs! My first attept at a flipped classroom video

 

Thank you to my amazing fiance who helped me record with his computer and stand mic. Let’s learn about dinosaurs!

This would be part of a lesson early in my dinosaur unit. I would have covered the definitions of fossils, paleontologists. Students would be building, writing, and working with the dinosaurs they make in the dinosaur builder lab that we will start within the class. My assessment of student viewing can be found in this Google Doc survey: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeQkBR6dkZDnr9NMKmI1koc6ddj-FPSQL2maItTN8vfKxzFTA/viewform?usp=send_form

The Let’s Build a Dinosaur link can be found here: https://www.brainpop.com/games/constructasaurus/

Thoughts on How to Bloom in Education’s Death Valley

I recently watched Sir Ken Robinson’s TED talk How to Escape Education’s Death Valley, and it made me smile,  then worry, and finally, hope.

Sir Robinson made me smile with his quick wit, clever wording, and honesty throughout his TED Talk. His three main points, human beings are naturally different and divers, curiosity is essential, and human life is inherently creative, made me glad and grateful to hear the ideas that I did not have the words share validated and more clearly  understood. If I had seen this video before I wrote my philosophy of ed the first semester of grad school, one it would have been a better paper, and two it would be much more true to what I think my education and teaching should be. I live in hope that inspiration knows far better than I do the prime time to strike so it is probably for the best that I am only now watching and writing about this.

The TED Talk made me worry. I was not worried for the safety of the speaker, the audience, or even the lecture. I was worried about the reason this talk needed to be given and shared. It is not a good thing when America’s educational system is compared to Death Valley. Deserts do not just pop up out of nowhere, there are conditions and ingredients they need to exist as well as the lacking of the conditions and ingredients that keep the desert at bay. One main factor in  America’s desertification of our educational system is the top down decisions that lead to schools and education being viewed as a mechanical process that’s worth is solely measured in standardized test scores. Long sentence. Long messy sentence. Our education system here is also long, long overdue for some changes so that the mess generations of students have been put through can be tidied up.

Sir Robinson’s talk made me hopeful. His message was well received by the audience and seems to echo what many teachers believe and what studies know to be true about teaching and learning. For learning and not just education to occur there needs to be outlets and opportunities for all students to learn through the arts, humanities, physical education, and the STEM that everyone has been raving about. We need to let children be children and find what subjects and experiences they like, dislike, challenge them, and inspire them, and cause them to wonder and create. The only successful way to do all of that is to provide  diverse and holistic learning opportunities for every child without limitations and with compassion and support. I am hopeful because there are those out there who believe and teach this way. It is my goal to be one of them because both students and teachers deserve and educational experience that can bloom.

 

 

The history of our world in 18 minutes (Making connections)

 

Filmed March 2011 at TED2011

David Christian: The history of our world in 18 minutes

I recently watched David Christian’s The History of Our Wold in 18 Minutes TED talk from TED2011. It is phenomenal, joyful,  and humbling. His discussion of the Goldilocks principle, genetic diversity, the beauty of errors or adaptive learning through DNA, and collective learning.

I think Professor Christian makes an excellent point about how our future as humanity and the future of our students rests in the continuation of education that informs and instructs them about big history. “Life is more than exotic chemistry” and we know this, can discuss this, and learn more about it because of our collective learning.

It is educators, at home, schools, and within local and global communities responsibility and privilege to teach, protect, and prepare our learners for our wold. In order to prepare them for the opportunities and challenges ahead we need to be constantly aware and learning from our chemical, physiological, environmental, and evolutionary history.