This week I taught a Social Studies lesson that I created in collaboration with one of my collaborating teachers. This lesson plan was an enrichment lesson based on the standard SS.K.A.1.1 “Develop an understanding of how to use and create a timeline.” This lesson was developed as part of my FEAP goal 1A: Align instruction with state-adopted standards at the appropriate level or rigor. I worked with a small group of four students while the rest of the class worked with my collaborating teachers during writing. I integrated technology into my lesson through the use of the computer, Prezi software, the projector, and Mimio. I had never heard of Mimio technology before I was an intern in this class but this technology is similar to an interactive whiteboard. I really like the Mimio and the students love using it so I thought it would be a great tool to include in my lesson plan.
In this lesson plan, I introduced the concept of timelines. I then made connections to the lives of my students by showing them timelines that they are familiar with and interact with in their own lives. Then I had the students create a timeline by ordering the events of the school day.
Before we made the timeline, I had the students discuss the events that occur in the school day and I listed five events on the board to help guide students if they were unsure which events to include in the timeline. I did this as part of my FEAP goal 2H: Adapts the learning environment to accommodate the differing needs and diversity of students. I wanted to make sure that my students were not penalized for not remembering all of the events of the day so we worked together to list some of the events of the day and I made other suggestions of events in our classroom. By listing these events on the board, I made sure to accommodate my learners who needed that visual element. I also included small pictures with the words that I wrote so if any learners were unable to read the words, they could determine the meaning of the words based on the picture. For example, I wrote “Math” with a “ + / – “ next to it. I made sure to read the words multiple times as well to accommodate my auditory learners. For my kinesthetic learners, I had the students manipulate a timeline using the Mimio and the post-it notes so they could construct meaning by doing.
My students all did a really great job. Some students stuck with the events I wrote on the board, others decided to include other events that occur in the day. I thought it was a great lesson and it was about twenty minutes long.
Below is one of the timelines that my students created. The students worked independently and they were given sticky notes to write on so they could re-order the events on their timeline if necessary. The sticky notes also gave the students adequate, but limited space so they had enough room to include multiple events.
For this timeline the student wrote:
1) We go to school.
2) We eat breakfast.
3) We unpack. We check in. (“Checking in” is a process that is done in my classroom in which the students turn a card to show that they are in school).
4) We pick our centers. (The students who arrive early can go to play centers in the morning).
I really enjoyed teaching this lesson for my small group. I would have loved to teach it to the entire class but my collaborating teacher and I were unsure if the entire class was ready for this activity. If I were to do this assignment again, I think I would have listed out the requirements for the timeline more explicitly. I was not sure if the students should just use the events that I wrote on the board or if they should have free choice. I included writing the events on the board to guide the students but after performing the lesson, I realize that this was a good, but unnecessary step. It was interesting for me to see that most of the students (three out of four) created the timeline based on the events of the morning. An extension for this lesson could be for students to write timelines of the beginning, middle, and end of the school day.
Another great lesson that I worked on with my students was an art lesson that connected with read alouds that my teacher did. Last week, my students learned about the letter “V,” volcanoes, and dinosaurs. It was an exciting week and we had lots of great activities that connected with the theme. All of our read alouds connected back to this theme as well. On Thursday, I worked with the students on the first part of the assignment. For this part, the students had to create sunsets using water colored paints. While one of my collaborating teachers performed a read aloud, my other collaborating teacher helped me set up the art station for this project. She explained what she wanted the students to do and she showed me an example and then she let me work alone with the students.
I called over the students by their table groups and I explained what they should be doing. I told the students what I expected from them, I showed them a model, and I modeled how they should use the paintbrushes. I made sure to ask my students what would happen if we put the paint brush from one color into another color colors (using blue and yellow as an example). Every group of students was able to respond that the colored would mix up or mess up the paint. I tried to use as many visual cues as possible during this explanation so that all of my students, especially my English Language Learners would understand. I also took things step by step. For example, I had my students put on smocks first. Then they sat down and were told to write their names on their papers and then flip it over. I did this so the students were not overwhelmed. I wanted to make sure the directions were always clear so they would not get confused.
The activity was a bit hectic because paint was splattered on the table and some students still mixed up the colors by accident. But I thought it was a great way to get the students interested and engaged. Below are some examples of sunsets that the students created.
Below is one side of the drying rack that contained the sunsets that my students painted.
On the following day, my students took their sunsets and then glued on silhouettes of dinosaurs, volcanoes, and trees. The students were also given black markers to draw on extra details like lava and birds. I thought this was a great lesson idea because it allowed the students to be creative. All of the students in my class really enjoyed this lesson. They were very eager to show me their art work and explain what they had done.
Below are pictures of the final products that my students created. There are some pictures of my students working on their projects. The parents of these students have given explicit consent that they made be photographed; however, in order to protect his rights and privacy, I took the extra step of removing any identifying information about these students.
I really enjoyed working on this lesson and I was glad to see it from start to finish. I think that hands on activities like these are great for keeping students interested and engaged. Although these activities typically take extra time and work, I think they are very beneficial because students really enjoy them and remember what they have learned.