Friday, August 27, 2010

Ancient Civilizations!

This week I have been working with my social studies teacher to set up a intro lesson for ancient civilizations. He wanted to have students do some brief research about some of the major civilizations like Aztecs, Egyptians, Shang Dynasty etc. As a small group students were to find some basic information in the areas of geography, politics, inventions etc.

He wanted to make it more authentic for them so that they might get a scope of these empires. We decided to look at using google maps as a presentation tool. I found resources for each group and posted them on the website. We created one google account per classroom which allowed them all to be on at the same time, edit and change (even without sharing) and all the projects listed at once.

View Egyptian Empire in a larger map

We only gave the students about 40 minutes of class time to create this introductory lesson and they were to present the 2nd day. It turned out really nicely...and the teacher and I learned a lot. The students started presenting today and things got a good start. (They still tend to read right of the computer- but hey...we're still in the first week!)

Some ideas we thought of: different push pin shape for each topic, use several push pins to make simple points (2-3 lines or one picture), classmates take notes on the presentations. More and more.

Overall - it was pretty successful for the first try!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Seems like overnight...

Working in my building this week with educators supporting the new teachers in our district. We have some very talented, bright folks here who really know their stuff!

I'm working tech support and liaison for our building and was asking the presenter for the plenary what equipment she needed for the next day. She said all she needed was an overhead in the auditorium for the 150 folks. I asked if she was joking. She was very good natured about it, saying that she knew she needed to step up...and use technology. I encouraged her and said to remember folks needed her content rather than be overwhelmed about adding bells and whistles.

We chatted for a while and she felt pretty confident that she and her husband could work that evening and get her preso changed to Keynote. Next morning came- and she was incredibly confident and proud saying that she got it! (finished about 2am!:)

You might have guessed that not only was her presentation relevant and meaningful, but it was so well done that folks really got what they needed out of it. Not only that- she ran the whole presentation from a new app she downloaded on her iPhone! VERY COOL! :)

So- I guess I learned that sometimes we can be the people that gently nudge others to do great and important work. Sometimes change takes place overnight!