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  • Writer's pictureRachel Terlop

Oh My! Google Slides!

Our landform unit is in full swing, and students are doing all kinds of things to research and show knowledge of their understanding of different geological features. Our most recent adventure is possible thanks to the crowd sourcing miracle for teachers Donor's Choose!

Donor's Choose has been the foundation of my classroom ever since I started in DC. Being one of the forty lowest performing schools in the city comes with its challenges - being under funded is one of the major ones. In 2.5 years, I have collected over $25,000 in supplies for my classroom. These materials look like books, furniture, technology, and school supplies. I have even crowd sourced boxes of paper.

The most recent Donor's Choose gift comes in the form of five new Chrome books. This morning I unwrapped them, charged them up, and today... we began learning how to navigate a computer.

So, in Kindergarten, my students were given a username and a password and were taught how to type them in. They have two educational apps they are allowed to use at school - iReady and Lexia. One is for math, and one is for reading. They apps are well designed, and are tailored to the students needs - however, my students need to learn how to use a keyboard.

Unfortunately, the world of education is all about testing and data collection, and in third grade my students will be asked to type their responses on a test that just accounts for everything that other people care about. No one will know about the hard work their teacher puts in to helping them solve conflicts, their favorite snacks, or what makes them tick - the people who control our funding and resources will only see scores on tests. SO, we have to prepare ourselves to showcase our intelligence. TYPING TIME.

Anyway, today the youths were given their laptops for the first time and used their graphic organizers to start making GOOGLE SLIDES to showcase their project! We went through a whole class demo, and then I let students problem solve with one another and circulated to answer questions. (They are working on making their own island for their Cornerstone project).

Our Cornerstone for this unit is overwhelming and awesome at the same time.

1. Pick a theme (gemstones, animals, cupcakes - you choose)

2. Research 8 landforms to be included in your island.

3. Make up names for those landforms that fit your theme (Gemstone theme: Ruby mountains and Sapphire Bay)

4. Create a Google Slide presentation explaining the name of each of your landforms is, and what that landform actually is.

5. Create a 3-D representation of your island of clay

6. Create a 2-D map representation, with a key, of your island

7. Present all 3 representations of landform information

This may be the biggest undertaking of a

project I have ever created - but the kids are loving it. Since today was our celebration day (we reached 60 CARS, our school wide incentive reward) and we picked STEM Day as a treat. The entire day was centered around this project. Researching, typing, learning how to use Google Slides, building onto our 3-D visual - it was awesome!

The best thing about having experiential learning time, having enough technology for each student, and allowing them to get messy - they feel empowered. So do I. Creating project-based experiences is what I am best at.

I felt awesome today - the kids felt awesome today - and tomorrow is a snow day! Cheers!

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