The next theme in my reading series is called "In the Wild." It begins with an excerpt from Semour Simon's book called Wolves. As a proponent of integration of content and skills across the curriculum, I simultaneously begin a unit in Science that includes the study of animals. Sub-topics include animal classification, habitat, open loop, close loop, adaptations based on environment, and ecosystems. The goals for Language Arts include reading, writing and understanding expository text. Fact and fiction and the use of literary devices are also explored.
Since animals is kind of my thing (check my website: Mrs. Abernethy's Global Gorillas), this happens to be my favorite topic. We spend a lot of time on wolves in particular, because of their nature and the controversy surrounding them.
While browsing the hundreds of clips about wolves on Discovery Education Streaming, I knew I hit the jackpot when I found Mammals of North America: Predators and Prey. This little jewel meets ELEVEN assessment anchors for science alone! With eleven small clips all adding to a total of 17 minutes, this clip is ideal for a variety of multi media projects.
The first, albeit, the most obvious is to use the clip as an introduction to the unit. Playing the video straight through, however, would probably not hold their interest, and since it's so jammed pack with content, much would be lost. (So, don't count this as one of the five ways!)
In my classroom, this is probably how it would go:
To get the most out of the clips, they would need to be viewed more than once. The first time would be as a teacher-led activity. The clips would be shown in their segments as various topics are being taught in class. Students could break into groups after viewing a segment and discuss various things they noticed in the video, perhaps challenging the groups to come up with as many facts as possible and then coming back and sharing them with the whole group.
At the end of the unit, students could work in small groups of two or three. Each group or partnership would choose no more than one of the clips. Their job would be to create a multimedia project based on the content that they could bring back and share with their classmates. In addition, they could research the topic further. This allows students to gain a deeper meaning of the content, take ownership of it, and learn from their peers.
The following are some possible student projects:
1. A podcast done as a radio show with the host interviewing experts on the subject of wolves and their habitat or any of the other various topics found in the videos.
2. A jeopardy game show including at least five categories of questions with five questions from each category. Students could hyperlink their answers in Power Point presentation or create a live game the whole class could play.
3. Students could use Windows Movie Maker or Photo Story to tell a digital story about the content in their chosen clip
4. A wikispace webpage could be created by the group, then opened up to the class for further collaboration on the topic.
5. Students could start a blog and each group could post about their topic. Then students could go in and comment on each other's posts.
6. Pull the clip into Windows Movie Maker, mute the audio, and students could narrate the clip.
7. Students could make up a skit and perform it for the class using content from their chosen clip.
Honestly, this list could go on forever. However, I must say that the best resource for ideas doesn't come from us. It comes from the kids. When we are doing major projects in my classroom, I generally have a class meeting and we brainstorm all the possible ways they can show what they have learned. Their ideas always far surpass mine in creativity.
On the topic of wolves, a few years ago the students put together a talent show for their parents to raise money to adopt a wolf. They charged their parents admission and charged for food (that their parents had donated.)
In conclusion, it's great for us to come up with these ideas and it does allow us to provide our students with choices, but ultimately, don't forget to ask the kids!