Our fourth grade students are required to learn six explorers according to the current Georgia Performance Standards in Social Studies: SS4H2 The student will describe European exploration in North America. a. Describe the reasons for, obstacles to, and accomplishments of the Spanish, French, and English explorations of John Cabot, Vasco Núñez de Balboa, Juan Ponce de León, Christopher Columbus, Henry Hudson, and Jacques Cartier.
I designed a project where the students researched an explorer so that they could create a Prezi which would be an advertisement to persuade viewers to join them on their expedition.
Livebinders Guided Research
I gathered resources for each explorer using Livebinders to expedite and streamline the research process. The students used a graphic organizer I created to guide their research. By answering the questions, the students would have sufficient information to write their advertisement. The students conducted their research independently and then worked with a group to create one Prezi per explorer for the class.
I reviewed the groups individual graphic organizers to ensure that among all of the group they collectively had sufficient (and correct) information to write their advertisement. Students were not familiar with Prezi, but they were very excited when they saw how it worked. I modeled it briefly and we discussed writing in the first person, as if they were the explorer. Some go the hang of that quicker than others, but it was good practice. Before they could add any images, they had to have written all of their text. I have found that they get so excited about the pictures, that the text falls to the wayside!
Here are a few of their projects:
Images and Giving Credit
I collected images for each explorer ahead of time, saving the image and renaming the image with the sources’ name. This saves the students time. I try to get this project done in about 4 library visits, so anything that saves a bit of time is helpful. I created a folder for each explorer with sufficient images that they could pick and choose. They had to give credit to the owner of the image (creating a text box in the frame with the image) and they picked up on that right away.
Citing our Sources
The last frame of each Prezi had to include the website addresses of each website that the group used. We didn’t do MLA or any official format. At this point I wanted them just to be aware of citing their resources.
Reflection via Flipgrid
These fourth grade students really enjoyed thinking outside the Power Point box, although most of them had only made one or two Power Points before this year. Reflecting on their learning is a big part of the International Baccalaureate program, so I had the student use Flipgrid to record their written reflection. They love to see and hear themselves!
Check out some of their reflections: https://flipgrid.com/57a659