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This technology interactive project is designed for 2nd and 3rd graders but can easily be modified to accommodate any grade. This project provides a technological approach to teaching nonfiction research (using both books and the Internet), note taking skills and writing. Students will choose an animal in order to manage the unit within the skill level of the kids and the desired time frame. Students will be grouped with others researching the same animals (ex. 5 animals chosen for the class and 4 kids for each animal. Students will complete their initial research individually then collaborate with their group through peer interviews).

To integrate this study we added elements of Social Studies and Science. In Social Studies students will learn about the continents and add the knowledge of the origin of their animal to their study. In Science students will apply what they learn about animal life cycles and habitats to their non-fiction study. They will also learn how animals affect the world around them and vice versa.

Students in our school will get technology lessons and for many this is a first exposure. They will be taught some basics on the computer first and then learn specific applications. They will begin by simply scanning their written books onto the computer. Teachers will post this product on the class web page so there is Internet access to view the product. Students will then create an on line quiz to test fellow students, using the information from their published piece. 

A class celebration will complete the project in which the community (teachers, parents, principal, and literacy coach) will be invited. The celebration will show off the hard work and share the progress of the project as it was completed by students.

 


Estimated Timeframe


Technology will be introduced throughout the year starting in September. First,
students' prior technological knowledge will be assessed through discussion. Soon later students will be taught a simple program that requires a minimum amount of typing in order to create an online quiz about class members (a getting to know each other activity). From September to December students will complete short activities in order to gain familiarity with PowerPoint and the scanner.

In January the writing of the non-fiction topics will take place. Students will decide which animals the class will study. 5 will be picked, enabling 4 students to be in each group. They will be able to indicate their top 2 or 3 preferences to help the teacher decide on grouping (during this time the class will also be studying examples of good nonfiction writing; the conventions and formats of nonfiction, as well as content). Then research will be done individually, as each student will complete their own book. They will begin using a variety of sources (including the Internet) to research the animals. They will write reports into a non-fiction book format. They will collaborate on the books through peer revising and editing (cross grouping) as well as meet with their animal group to ask questions and confer with each other.

In February students will scan their completed books onto the class web page. In their groups they will come up with multiple-choice questions to form into a quiz. They will use a web quiz generator to make the quizzes, which will be published on the class websites, available for others to take after reading the books.



Collaboration

Students will meet with their group in order to freely ask questions for further information gathering and problem solving before they begin writing their books. Each group will have an "expert" student who knows how to scan and how to create the online quiz. The experts will help other group members to finish their parts of the project. The quiz is also a group project: each member will need several questions that will make up the overall test representing the group.