As part of our Gifted and Talented (GATE) program, students are expected to complete an article review. In the past, we’ve had a given topic to focus our research around. With the implementation of passion projects, we now have a wide range of topics. For the article reviews, students are asked to have two reliable sources that relate specifically to answering their essential question. I used a Google form for students to send me the article links. I would peruse the articles to see if they were appropriate. If students needed assistance, I would get them back on track or even suggest an article or two.
Once students had their articles, we wrote thesis statements. The statements would guide the structure of their article reviews. If you’re an ELA teachers, you’ll know that this was no easy task. We literally spent a week drafting thesis statements. The main challenge was redirecting students back to their essential question and asking if the thesis statement led to the answer. We compiled our thesis statements on a collaborative Google doc. Take a look at some of the statements.
After student’s article reviews were submitted and cleared, they moved on to creating their authentic pieces. (Side note . . . it was a juggling act at times during the process. With students at different places in the inquiry process, I had to keep track of where everyone was. I ended up creating a progress chart to aide in the process. Take a peek at it here.)
The class really had some fun creating their authentic pieces. To be honest, I was worried that they would all do a slide deck. I challenged students to try something new. We ended up with Goolinks, (Think Google version of a Thing Link), iMovies, Adobe Spark presentations, tri-fold boards, a digital comic, two Google sites, a Google Classroom that included a Quizlet, and even a Kahoot. Let’s take a look at a few samples.
Another "to be honest" . . . I thought we would reflect more, but we would be so engaged in our work sessions that we would lose track of time. Next year I will be more intentional about reflecting. With that being said, students took the reflection process very seriously. As an AVID school, reflection is part of our procedures. The metacognition involved in reflecting helps us derive deeper understanding in what we do and why we do it. To create intentional scholars, reflection is vital.
Our digital journals included a Google Drawing passion board and individual posts. I provide the general topic, then students reflect in a meaningful way. Students write for about 10 minutes then we share our reflections in small groups. Often times, students will add more after sharing. As you can see, the reflection process takes about 30 minutes. Deep thinking truly takes place. Take a look at some student samples here and here. Looking at them now, I can almost visualize our PKP journey. My students don’t know it, but they’ve really been blogging their own personal journeys. Wait, wait . . . Blogger!!! Yes! We’ll level up next year!
Next week students are doing their demo slams. They will be conducting a 10 minute lesson that answers their essential question, shares their authentic piece, and includes a hands-on activity relating to their passion. Students must successfully complete the demo slam in order to present at our student-led edcamp on May 16th.
Let’s leave with some great smiles!