8 Wonders Unit Plan by LdAb7eIm

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									                 8 Wonders Unit Plan
We spent 5 weeks on this project, and although we greatly enjoyed the process, we were
ready for it to be finished by the end! Students worked on this during language arts and
social studies classes.

We introduced this unit on Monday of the first full week of January so that it became a
Kansas studies project in celebration of Kansas Day (although we didn’t finish until
February). Note: One negative of doing it in January is that it was bitterly cold on some days
when we were outside taking photos.

                                          Week 1
Day One:
 Introduce students to project – show news article and explain 8 Wonders of Kansas;
  show and explain Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs by Betty Birney; ask, “I wonder
  what wonders we have right here in Sterling that everyone may not know about?” Let
  students share ideas they have.
 Show 2-3 news clips of 8 Wonders finalists from Channel 12 website.
 Explain the eight categories, announce groups (classroom teacher assigns
  heterogeneous groupings), give category printouts from 8 Wonders website, let kids
  brainstorm and make lists of possibilities, have kids talk to parents, teachers, and other
  community members to get ideas.
 Explain the process and outcome of the project: each category/group will chose three
  “candidates” to research and present. Audience will be K-6 students and staff, who
  will vote for their favorite in each category. Students will interview people, take local
  field trips, take digital photos, and create a narrated slide show.

Rest of Week:
 Meet with groups. Help students brainstorm possible candidates for their category. By
  the end of the week, students narrow down their possibilities to three candidates they
  will focus on. Students should work on a plan of action: who will they contact to find
  out information? Need specific names and phone numbers. Besides interviews, are
  there other sources of information (pamphlets, books, websites, newspaper articles,
  etc.).

                                          Week 2

 Show teacher-created sample of what narrated slide show will look like: photos, title
  slides, narration under each slide, list of three candidates. This gives a “big picture” of
  what the finished product will look like and will help guide students as they prepare to
  conduct interviews and take photos.
 This week students will make telephone calls or write emails asking for information
  and scheduling interviews or times they can take digital photos. To prepare, begin with
  a mini-lesson on what to say on the phone to ask for an interview. Have students write
  out a script of what they will say on the phone to introduce themselves, explain the
  project, and ask for an interview. Role play a phone conversation. Set specific days
    and times students can schedule interviews (example: Tuesdays 10-11 a.m.,
    Wednesdays after 2:00). Students can invite people to come to the school to be
    interviewed (get principal’s permission), or students can make arrangements to meet
    the person at their place of business (use this option if students need to take photos).
   Interview Preparation – Students need to write interview questions. Practice and role
    play interview skills:
              o Introduce yourself in a loud, clear voice
              o Make eye contact
              o Shake hands
              o Call the person by name (and verify correct spelling of their name)
              o Ask permission to record interview (if you want to use the mini recorders)
              o Ask follow-up questions. If something they say makes you think of
                  another question, go ahead and ask it even if it’s not written on your page
                  of prepared questions.
              o After the interview, thank the person.
              o Students should bring plenty of paper and more than one writing utensil to
                  an interview.
              o Bring digital camera if needed and get permission to take photos.
   Give mini-lesson on using digital camera and examples of good and not good photos.
   All week: Research! Interview! Take photos! Take notes! Gather information!
   NOTE: The classroom teacher did an awesome job of talking to the kids about
    fairness and dividing up the jobs so that everyone in the group had something to do –
    one person called and scheduled the interview, one person asked the questions at the
    interview, one took the photos, etc. She required that each person in the group narrate
    some part of the slide show, too. Her awesome classroom management skills taught
    the kids a lot about assigning tasks fairly and making everyone an important part of the
    group.


                                          Week 3

 Students continue to gather information: research, interviews, photos, etc.
 As students take photos, they need to download them into a network folder (teacher can
  help). Librarian will resize them for use in slide show (we used the PhotoShop
  Elements “Process Multiple Files” batch processing feature and reduced the size).
 Begin work on writing script. Presentation should last 3-4 minutes and be organized as
  follows:
           o Introduction – Name and define your category. Remember your audience:
               for example, how do you explain commerce to a 1st grader? Can include
               some historical/background info on your category or other notable
               people/places that didn’t get chosen as one of your three candidates.
           o Introduce each candidate and explain why it is a “wonder” of Sterling.
               What makes it special or unique? Summarize its importance.
           o Ending: “Vote for one” slide listing all three candidates, credits slide
               listing group members and all sources of information. (Narration ends at
               “vote for one” – don’t read credits.)
 Create storyboard by choosing which photos should be shown when specific words are
  spoken.
 Teach students to import photos into PhotoStory and arrange them.
 Teach students to create PowerPoint text slides, save them as jpegs, and import them
  into PhotoStory. NOTE: Next time we (teachers) would edit and approve each ppt
  slide BEFORE they imported to PhotoStory. There were obvious spelling errors that
  could have been caught and fixed before going through the process of importing.
  When a slide is saved a jpg, it can’t be edited. We would have kids make slides and
  save them in ppt first, and once approved by the teacher, have them re-save as jpg and
  import. We also would have given kids a simple project beforehand to introduce them
  to PhotoStory rather than making this big project their introduction to PhotoStory. We
  made it work, but it was a LOT to learn in conjunction with juggling the demands of
  this complex, multi-step project.
 Each group should use same color scheme and font on all PowerPoint text slides for
  continuity within their category’s presentation. No clip art, animation, etc. – keep it
  simple! Slides needed:
           o Title (category)
           o Bulleted list of three candidates
           o Three slides listing each candidate individually
           o “Vote for one” slide with bulleted list of three candidates
           o Credits slide (lists group members, all sources of information)

                                         Week 4

 Continue with work from week 3. Give lots of guidance to groups.
 Have students divide up the speaking so everyone narrates something! Practice
  reading aloud fluently with a loud, clear, understandable voice. Your audience has to
  be able to understand you!! (Speaking too quiet is the most common problem.)
 Mini-lesson: use the “audio minilesson” PowerPoint to play samples of audio
  recordings through speakers for the whole class to hear. Have students identify the
  problem with each sample (speaking too fast, too much background noise, etc.).
 Teach students to record narration using external mikes. Be sure they set the recording
  level in Control Panel so it’s not too quiet. NOTE: Next time we (teachers) would
  more carefully check over student scripts before they recorded the narration. There
  were inadvertent mistakes (one group claimed a Sterling doctor had cured cancer, when
  actually he had one of the first treatment facilities in the region for cancer) in their
  scripts that we didn’t know about until the narration was recorded, so they had to re-
  record that narration. Luckily, in PhotoStory it is easy to re-record just a portion of
  narration than having to redo the entire presentation, but it was still frustrating for some
  students to have to re-record.
 Have students choose subtle background music from www.freeplaymusic.com. Show
  how to use the website, give good and not good examples, show how to preview (listen
  to clip), show how to download and import into PhotoStory.
                                         Week 5

 Polish the project and put on those finishing touches! Librarian meet with each group
  to preview project and suggest changes. (Some students stayed in from recess to make
  changes if needed since teacher was going back to “regular” curriculum in lang. arts
  and social studies.)
 Show students how to adjust PhotoStory pan and zoom features. (One reason I like
  PhotoStory is how it automatically gives motion to the presentation by panning across
  photos and zooming in and out. Once in a while the automatic feature needs to be
  adjusted so it zooms in on someone’s face, for example, rather than their feet.)
 Librarian makes final save of projects (into format that can be played in Windows
  Media Player). Kids could do this, but the classroom teacher felt better (after the
  many, many, many hours of work) having me do it to minimize the risk of something
  scary happening to the files! 
 NOTE: We had some problems with files getting corrupted – not sure why, but maybe
  due to large file size? Since kids were saving to network folders, each save was backed
  up so we could access the student’s last save, thereby reducing the amount of work that
  was lost. Our district technology coordinator was very helpful with this.
 A week or two after the project was finished, students followed up by writing thank
  you letters to people who assisted with the project. They wrote in proper friendly letter
  format and also addressed the envelopes.

                                   PRESENTATION

 Presentation was shown to all K-6 students and staff. I scheduled times for each class
  in the library. Some classes used their regular library skills class time, and others were
  specially scheduled. All staff members were invited to view it and vote. We partnered
  kindergarteners with fourth-grade “buddies” and 6th graders with 1st graders to help the
  younger kids read the ballot and vote. Kindies and 1st graders watched 6 categories
  instead of all 8 (the entire presentation was 30 min.). We thought about using an
  online voting system but ultimately decided paper ballots would work better for us.
  We paused the presentation for a few seconds after each category to let students vote
  for their favorite candidate in that category while the information was still fresh in their
  mind. I think this was a really helpful practice rather than waiting until the end of the
  entire presentation and trying to remember details about each candidate. We also
  talked about voting your own opinion and not worrying about what your friend of
  neighbor was voting for. Good lesson on candidates and voting!
 Votes were counted and winners were announced for each category. Grades 2 and up
  were invited to circle their three favorites overall, so we also had three overall winners.
  Results were announced and posted at school, shared via school district email, a press
  release in local paper, and an article in district newsletter.
 The entire presentation was shown to the local Rotary Club and they voted (we kept
  their tally separate from the school tally). Two categories were shown at a Board of
  Education meeting where and several students talked about what they learned.
 A question was posed about putting the presentation on the web, but the music we used
  allows for in-school use only and payment would be required for online posting. We
  did not pursue it any further.
 Each student was given a DVD copy of the presentation that can be viewed using a TV
  and DVD player.
 Several community members who had been interviewed for the project asked for their
  own DVD copy of the presentation to keep.



               ASSESSMENT / CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT

 The classroom teacher used a simple rubric to grade the projects. She explained that
  even thought the rubric was simple, they spent a lot of class time discussing the
  expectations for the project, and she had them grade themselves using the rubric also.
 On long-term projects, I often use a “work ethic rubric” to hold students accountable
  for staying on task, working well with group members, putting away all materials, etc.
  We discuss what it means to have a good work ethic and what behaviors are desirable,
  and I give them “work ethic points” once or twice a week.
 To facilitate efficiency within the groups, the teacher assigned a role to each person in
  the group: materials coordinator, fact checker, etc., so each person had a specific task
  every class period. This is a common (and effective) cooperative learning technique.


                         EXTENSIONS / ADAPTATIONS

There are lots of options for adapting or extending this project. For example, students
could focus on historic buildings or homes in town, and each group could be in charge of
researching one building. They could create a guidebook to the town listing businesses,
services, restaurants, etc., complete with photos, telephone numbers, a map, etc. They
could research fine arts opportunities in the community (music teachers, theater
productions, concerts, art galleries, local artists and musicians, etc.) or recreation and
sports…there are lots of possibilities!

With teacher assistance, younger students could do a simplified version of this project. It
could also be expanded to the high school level.




Compiled by:
Amy Brownlee
K-12 Library Media Specialist
Sterling USD #376
Sterling, KS
brownleea@usd376.com

								
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