Last week Professor Linton posted an entry outlining the various field trips (VFTs) her pre-service teachers had created for my 3rd graders...
... This past Friday we decided to tackle one as a class. None of us, myself included, have ever done a virtual field trip. As I've told my students, this is a learning experience for me as much as it is for them. We looked at a few of the options and decided the "The Sun" was the most intriguing (and admittedly, I steered them that a way bit due to time & technical limitations but more on that later).
We looked at the "The Sun" VFT and out of all of the activities we decided to try the video & KWL chart in Activity #4. As I mentioned there were some limitations of both time & technology that helped guide our decision making as much as the students interest. For example, the initial activity in the "The Sun"involves a BrainPop Jr. video. We do not have a BrainPop account so we were unable to watch that video. As part of this entire Brooklyn, North Carolina process is to see what works and what doesn't it was actually a great learning experience on both sides. For the pre-service teachers it was a good point of reference for knowing what schools/classes/teachers/students have access too before creating assignments. For us it was good to hear about a resource we don't currently use and that there might be great value for us in a BrainPop subscription.
For the activity, we started by going over what a KWL chart is. Students were quite familiar, but it's always great to review.
We then tool a look at the Padlet site. I explained how to add a post to it. We also discussed how to name each post. Firstname-K was the naming format for "Know" with a similar format, ____-W and ____-L, for "Want to know" and "Learned".
We all entered at least one "Know" stickie. Then, we watched the video as a class. Students knew we'd watch it once and then I'd play it repeatedly in the background while they worked. That way they'd get an opportunity to focus on the whole video without worrying about having to remember everything they see or hear in one pass. Once the video was finished I replayed it 3 times (what time permitted).
Since we are dealing with 32 students in a 1:1 lab, with no headphones, watching the video from a single location is the only way to keep sane and truly hear what is being said.
After that first viewing students were free to add & edit as much a they wanted for the next 10 or so minutes. The Padlet got pretty full...
One of my 3rd graders made the astute discovery that if you scrolled down a bit the Padlet would expand and offer unlimited space. Things were getting quite crowded so that discovery was excellent.
As for the time & technical constraints I mentioned earlier? Not having a BrainPop account was a definite technical glitch, but not a big deal, we just did a different activity. As for time, in a single 45 minute period explaining the VFT, demonstrating the Padlet, watching the video a few times, and filling up the KWL Padlet ate up 40 of those 45 minutes. The last few were spent on showing students how to download a PDF of all the entries and some of the other Padlet features & settings. A great activity for a single period. If I were to have this class daily, or multiple times a day, I would definitely try more of the activities and really try to do the entire project from start to finish. This is one of the downside to being a computer teachers, I only get one or two periods a week with each class. No worries, we made the most of our time!
The students had a lot of fun interacting with a KWL chart in a new way. They are excited to hear the feedback from "The Sun" VFT group. We will be compiling our thoughts this week into some feedback documents of our own.