I was recently asked if I felt the work I assign for our students could become monotone. I don’t feel that what the students at my school do is monotone. If my class time was used only to do the research for all of their projects, then yes it definitely would become very monotone. As I said before that is basically how my lessons were seen. Time to research for something they were doing in class. Other times I would try to make my own projects but in 6 hours per unit we would never be able to create something worthwhile. They would either not have enough time to do proper research or not have enough time to finsh their work.
I will try to give you an example of how I worked with our year four class this unit. In the planning meetings (before the unit) we were discussing which ways to create a summative assessment. We didn’t say that it needed to be an ICT based project or not, we just wanted to see what we thought would best show the students understanding of the central idea. It just so happened that we decided that we would have the students create a prezi.com presentation.
We decided that the students would cover information each week in class about their city of choice (their unit was about how civilizations and cities developed around water). Each week they would look at the reason why cities developed in those areas and they would do research in class or at home.
During my first lesson for this unit we were in the computer lab for one hour where we discussed the idea behind their project and reviewed prezi.com. They had used the program in year 3 but it has been updated. I discussed the importance of citing their resources (providing examples) and how to search for images and information more successfully using Google advanced search techniques.
During the next four lessons, we were in the classroom with our portable computers. The students would then have 2 hour lessons instead of 1 hour lessons because we normally have half groups in the lab. They would use this time to work in prezi inserting the information they found and searching for images and videos that fit into their project. Each week I would show them a tip or trick that might help but for the most part they were busy working.
In the third and fourth week the teachers signed out the portable computers and lab on their own and worked with the class on their own using the ICT skills they learned in our co-teaching lessons to help the students.
During the final week of the unit the teachers had the students present their work and they were graded using a rubric that we developed together.