Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Native American Movie Trailers

This is one of my favorite projects we do in social studies--every loop I look forward to what the students come up with for this project.

Students were tasked with creating a movie trailer over one of the big three Native American civilizations we study in 7th grade: the Maya, the Aztec, or the Inca.  We spent a lot of time going over the lengthy "details" of the project and the rubric before the students were grouped together (in groups of 2 or 3) to begin their research on their civilization.  Each group had eleven questions they were tasked with answering before they began creating their movie trailer.

Students had a little over a week after they got their research questions finished to storyboard and film their movie trailer.  Once again, I was so impressed with what these 7th graders produced!  First off, every single one of the groups had their trailers finished and ready to be shown and critiqued on the due date (that has never happened before!).  I was so proud of them, especially with the high-quality movie trailers they produced.

Here is a link to the playlist for all of the movie trailers: 2013 Native American Movie Trailers

Below are some of the highlights of the movie trailers.  Enjoy!!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Screencast Project

So earlier this year I blogged about Screencast-O-Matic.  Don't get me wrong, I still love this site and the fact that it's free...however, this site has begun to not like our students' computers here at MRH.  Arghhh.  For some reason, with a recent update on their Macbooks, this awesome website isn't wanting to cooperate and work.

Since screencasting is such an important and useful tool for both my tech and social studies classes, I was determined to find another screencasting tool to use.  Low and behold, QuickTime--which is already on all of the students' computers--and doesn't require an internet connection to work (double score!) was my solution.  QuickTime has a built in screencast tool which I immediately got really excited about.  The one downside to it (which Screencast-O-Matic had) is that it doesn't have a pause feature--just a start and stop.  So if you mess up, you either have to splice together different screencasts in iMovie, or you have to completely start all over.  I made a really quick screencast of a screencast to use for my students to teach them how to use it.

Our latest project in tech was to create a screencast that would be useful to someone else.  Using this doc as a guide for directions, my tech students set out to create screencasts from how to download music, to create a twitter account, to customize shoes on  Check out some of the ones they created below.  Enjoy!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Primary vs. Secondary Source Museum Hunt

As we begin to move into our exploration unit, we are first looking at primary and secondary sources to make sure we have a good handle on what falls into what category.  Most of the students were "kind of" familiar with these source types, so that helped to have a little background knowledge when we delved into exploring them further.  Since these are such important concepts in social studies--and other content areas too!--it is really important that students know what each is and can categorize different artifacts as either a primary or secondary source.

After going over the basics, and watching a really easy-to-understand video (see above) on these concepts, we transformed our classroom into a museum.  Students had to go around to the different "exhibits" and categorize the artifacts as either a primary or secondary source.

However, students didn't just have to label them as primary or secondary, but instead also give a rationale as to why they categorized that artifact in that way.  Students really seemed to immerse themselves into this hunt--really going back and forth with why an artifact could be a primary source, or why it could be a secondary sources.

There were 12 artifacts/exhibits in total; and all were things that are in our classroom everyday.  It was great that students got to take "another look" at some of the things that they see everyday in our classroom.  It was neat to hear students say, "Wow, I can't believe we have so many primary sources in our classroom!"  All in all this was a successful activity that I think really made primary and secondary source categorization stick.  Check out all of our different artifacts below that the students had to categorize.

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