Thursday, April 3, 2014

Biography Analysis: A Lesson on Character

3-5, 5th Grade, Ashley Chapman, Character Analysis, Characteristics, Choice, elementary, History, Peterson, Publisher, Research, Social Studies, Touchcast, Writing, If a teacher is like a tour guide, their students become travelers on a shared journey. From this perspective, students are afforded freedom of choice, a sense of independence, and agency over the experience. In Mrs. Laura Taylor-Dunn's 5th grade class at Peterson Elementary, students traveled back in time and examined biography texts about their chosen historical figure. They then created a published document and newscast showcasing what they learned.

Students worked together in collaborative groups to analyze and identify the traits and characteristics of their historical person and recorded their findings in a circle map. These traits were then used to create a recording sheet for their research projects. Students worked with their Library Media Specialist, Mrs. Sanders, to research and compile important information about their famous person. After analyzing their notes, students selected three character traits they felt their famous person best displayed and justified their selections. The resulting artifact was a Microsoft Publisher newsletter. Students then used an iPad application called TouchCast to create a news report video about their famous person.

In Ashlyn's examination of Eleanor Roosevelt, she highlights that "people still think she was respectful, caring, and nice because she cared about how other people felt and she focused on human rights and women's issues. I guess you can say she followed the Golden Rule."

According to Ms. Taylor-Dunn, "this project enhanced student learning because it was fun! Not only did the students learn how to use Microsoft Publisher, they also had the opportunity to explore an app called TouchCast.  Using this technology allowed the students to express themselves creatively and to communicate their ideas authentically."

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