I used worksheets in my classroom with great success! I would start with a single worksheet – a text, a chart, a photograph, or a research question – and expand it into a rich learning experience.
Example worksheet: a short text
1. Read the text with the class. The text could be projected on a screen, printed and distributed to individuals or groups, or whatever presentation method you like to use. *Please note that all abcteach “reading comprehensions” are followed by questions, but it is possible to just read the informative text with students and have them create their own questions.
2. Begin a “Question Brainstorm”. Let the questions flow, and record them. I used to use butcher block paper and post it on a big wall, but you could use computer programs or whiteboards as well. This gets updated daily.
3. Arrange students in groups according to their own interests. I found that giving students a choice of what they wanted to learn was a powerful motivation for them.
4. ALLOW TIME for research with a variety of media, web 2.0 connections, books/ebooks, etc.
5. Allow groups to plan their topics, methods of research, and final presentations to the class. Don’t limit the presentations to only paper projects, or only computer projects. Let them decide.
6. Integrate math, history, science, art, music, movement, and more into the topic.
Sample projects that my students created for a rain forest project (you could start with a picture of a rain forest animal, or a reading comprehension…):
* slideshow presentations. For example, a presentation of endangered rainforest animals, alternating photos and facts. This would be a great PowerPoint presentation, too. Graphing the declining rainforest populations is a good way to integrate math into this type of presentation. Drawing maps incorporates geography.
* games: board games and online interactive games. For example, a game where students draw questions about the rain forest and advance through the game by answering them. History blends in seamlessly here.
* drama: skits, plays ,puppet shows, movie presentations. This could be a play where rain forest animals talk about their homes, or where nature conservationists clash with farmers. This is a great area to incorporate music and movement.
* 3D models (now could be done on computer, but my students created them with hands-on materials). I think there is still a sense of satisfaction in creating things by hand, whether it’s a rainforest diorama or a model of the layers of the rain forest.
*booklets, journals, blogs, mini-websites. A journal about a trip to the rain forest is a great way to combine language arts and geography.
*tours: We turned our classroom into a rain forest full of facts for students to “read the room”. Some may want to create an online tour.
Posted by Sandy Kemsley, Founder
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