Tag Archives: Lesson Plans

Creativity and Social Emotional Learning (SEL)

The pandemic has brought to the forefront mental health of students and teachers. Social Emotional Learning. Research shows that creativity can be beneficial for mental health and can help build critical skills such as empathy and introspection. As Kathryn Fishman-Weaver writes in an article in Edutopia (2019), “Creating art is a practice in both communication and empathy that affects the storyteller (in this case, the student artist) and the person viewing the story (peers, teachers, and counselors).” Creative communication and expression elevates learning experiences and can drive social emotional learning (SEL). As the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning  CASEL notes, SEL –  “involves managing emotions and achieving personal and collective goals, showing empathy for others, establishing and maintaining supportive relationships, and making responsible and caring decisions – is an integral part of education and human development.

SEL is more than a buzz word, it is vital to students emotional, social, and academic success in and out of school. Here is is a lesson I do with my students to promote creativity, project based learning, and social emotional health.

Comic Creation & Script Writing Illustrating a Community Problem

Objective –  Students will be able to understand the elements of storyboarding and map out an issue in the community using storyboard and digital comic creation tools to inform and persuade others. Students create digital comics or storyboards to highlight a problem in their community and encourage positive social activism among students.

Description – This lesson encourages and guides students towards social activism. By asking students to brainstorm the problems in their communities they are embarking on an authentic challenge and project based learning  opportunity while using social emotional skills of communication, decision making, and social awareness. Students have a voice in the topics they care about. Students are taking charge of their own learning.  

The storyboard is a powerful tool in the classroom for meaning making. A storyboard is a road map and guiding influence for story making. Michele uses storyboarding for comprehension and creativity in her 8th grade English classes but this activity can be adapted for any content area. In this activity, students create a storyboard that highlights a problem in the community using comic creation tools like Powtoons, StoryboardThat, Bitmoji and BookCreator. 

ISTE Standards for Students

3. Knowledge Constructors – Students critically curate a variety of resources using digital tools to construct knowledge, produce creative artifacts and make meaningful learning experiences for themselves and others.

4. Innovative Designer – Students use a variety of technologies within a design process to identify and solve problems by creating new, useful or imaginative solutions.

6. Creative Communicator – Students communicate clearly and express themselves creatively for a variety of purposes using the platforms, tools, styles, formats and digital media appropriate to their goals.

Materials – 

  • Short Documentary Films and PSAs
  • Storyboard Template

Procedures – 

Hook:  Post the following question for students to brainstorm and respond to: “What are the issues in your community that need to be brought to the forefront and exposed to seek change?”

Mini-Lesson:  Storyboarding helps filmmakers to outline a story visually before going to production.  Just like writers outline and use graphic organizers to map out the direction of their writing, before a film or even commercial begins production, the visual elements of the film are mapped out using a Storyboard. Studiobinder defines a storyboard as, “A visual representation of a film sequence and breaks down the action into individual panels. It is a series of ordered drawings, with camera direction, dialogue, or other pertinent details. It sketches out how a video will unfold, shot by shot.” Film producers might use a professional artist to help create the visual layout on a storyboard. Many storyboards are works of art themselves. The teacher should showcase examples of famous storyboards. This article from StudioBinder provides many). 

Today we are going to create our own storyboards to highlight a problem in our community you wish to change. Think about how you can effectively showcase this problem in a way that draws attention to this matter.   As a director, you have several elements to consider when preparing your storyboards. You first need to evaluate your topic and break it down into shots. Then, as you plan each shot panel, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is central to this frame?
  • What needs to be communicated in the frame?
  • What type of shot (close-up, wide-shot, establishing shot, and so on) do you need?
  • What is the shot’s angle (where the camera is shooting from)? Is it a high angle? A low angle?

Let’s get started. You might use the storyboard templates I have provided or feel free to sketch out your ideas in your notebook. 

Active Engagement : At this point, Students begin sketching an outline how they would present their topic and issue to others using a storyboard template (to be provided). As students are working on their storyboards they can also “research and gather information from multiple sources as they deepen their search for finding answers to their questions about the real world problem committed to.” (Laur & Ackers, 2017)

Allow students a choice to begin the storyboard by hand before moving to an online platform. This might take more than one class period. Allow students the necessary time to complete their storyboards and share with their peers for feedback and revision opportunities. If students are uncomfortable drawing by hand, using comic creation platforms like Powtoons, Storyboardthat, or Bitmojis and Bookcreator, students can create their own original stories in comic book form.  

Variations & Differentiation  –  Teachers can provide sentence frames or word banks to help students with the dialogue and writing. Utilizing digital storyboard platforms like Powtoons or Storyboard that provide students with templates and stock images depending on the needed adaptations. 

For an added challenge, students can follow up their storyboard by filming their ideas. Students can create a Public Service Announcement or Mini Documentary using iMovie or Adobe Spark to showcase this problem.   

Culturally Responsive Teaching Connection: As this activity hinges on students choosing a social issue in their community and world, a cultural connection is built in through the current issues from homelessness, endangered species, racism, and pollution. The topics are generated from the student and driven by student inquiry. Students take ownership of the issue and their project as well. 

Resources – 

Powtoons

StoryboardThat

Bitmojis & BookCreator

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Japanese Internment Lessons & Resources

For the past two weeks I have been teaching Japanese Internment as an entry for my students to understand World War II. The essential question that guides this unit of study asks:

What lessons from Japanese Internment, the Holocaust, and WW2 can we learn in order to stop the hate and violence that is dominating our current cultural climate?

I wanted to provide all the resources here for teachers who have requested these documents and lessons that I created in one place. Here you can find assignments, hyperdocs, and additional resources for teaching this time period.

Japanese Internment Hyperdoc

Japanese Internment Digital Gallery

Japanese Internment Active Learning Station Rotation

World War II & The Holocaust Hexagonal Thinking

Additional Resources:

The New York Times

The Library of Congress

Zinn Education Project

Facing History and Ourselves

Smithsonian

National World War II Museum New Orleans

PBS Learning Media

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Beneficial or Bogus? Seeking Valid & Reliable Supporting Evidence: Lesson Plan

I am beginning a scientific investigative journalism inquiry project with my students this month and the final project will be an annotated bibliography and feature article. As we embark on the features of a nonfiction investigative journalism piece, the topic of valid and reliable supporting evidence is at the forefront.

Essential Questions:

  1. How can you tell if a resource contains valid information?
  2. How can you determine the saliency of information?

Objectives (KUDoS) By the end of this lesson, students should:

KNOW:

  • Saliency = the most important, relevant information
  • Self-reliance = depending on one’s self
  • The steps to composing a persuasive speech (Prior Lesson)
  • Types of supporting evidence include: testimony, statisitic, fact, and example (Prior lesson reinforced in this lesson)

UNDERSTAND:

  • The importance of supporting an idea with ample examples of valid evidence
  • The importance of skimming information to filter the most important facts
  • How to check the validity of a source

DO:

  • Analyze the saliency of information
  • Skim articles to identify relevant details to support a thesis
  • Locate a valid resource from the internet

 

PROCEDURES

Anticipatory Set: DO NOW

How do you know if information you’ve been told is valid? How do you know what to believe?

Write your response on the post-it notes and post your response on the SmartBoard.

Teacher will read some of student responses with the large class. Questions to further discussion and student thinking: “When researching a topic, how do you know if the information you find is valid?”

Instructional Activity: Station Activity

I. Students will travel to three different QR Codes in order to find evidence to support the supplied thesis/claim. Each QR Code links to an article, video or website for the students to draw out support material (evidence, testimony, statistics, etc). Students will complete a support material research chart as they evaluate each piece of evidence. In addition, students will assess the validity and benefits of QR Code. The articles of information have already been selected by the teacher to assess students’ abilities to judge reliable and valid research documents.

Students will use the 2-D graphic organizer to record their findings from the QR Codes they visit.

Selected Articles, Videos & Websites:

Source 1 – Does Video Game Violence Make Teens Aggressive?

Source 2 – Could Violent Video Games Reduce Rather Than Increase Violence?

Souce 3 – 10 Ways Video Games Can Help or Harm Your Brain from the Huffington Post

Source 4 – Video Game Revolution – The two computers in the classroom will post this website for students to read through the myths about video games. The article was written by a MIT professor debunking the myths about video game violence

Source 5 – This article has no specific information on video game violence but is about the teenage brain. This article is being used to see if students can decifer that this article has no specific connection to the thesis.

Source 6 – The pros and cons of video games. There are many statistics and additional links on the website from this debate website.

Source 7 – Onion Network Video “Are Violent Videos Preparing Adolescents for Apocalypse”

II. After students have had the opportunity to find support material examples from the various stations, students will find a partner who utilized the same sources to discuss and confirm their findings.

III. In large class discussion reflect on student findings.

Questions to ask:

Which research sources were beneficial to finding support material? How do you know?
Did any one find invalid research? What lead you to conclude it was invalid?

IV. One the back of students’ research charts they are to list three ways to validate a resource (exit slip).

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Interactive Reading Foldables for Dystopian Fiction

This past month I have been working to put together the interactive reading foldables I created this spring for my students when teaching a unit on dystopian fiction. My students self selected one of three dystopian texts: Neil Shusterman’s Unwind, Lois Lowry’s The Giver, and Animal Farm by George Orwell. The students then broke into literature circles based on their literature choices and met twice a week to address specific aspects in their text. The other days of week we all met together to address larger concepts within the dystopian genre.

I have bundled together five lessons and interactive reading foldables specific to dystopian fiction and they are available for purchase on Teachers Pay Teachers. The five lessons include:

1. Definitions of Dystopia

2. Characteristics of a Dystopian Society

3. Types of Dystopian Control

4. Characteristics of a Dystopian Protagonist

5. Rebellion, Revolt, and Revolution within Dystopias

As an added bonus, I am posting an additional lesson on Rebellion, Revolt, and Revolution within Dystopian Fiction below. This lesson plan with all the materials will be available ONLY for the next five days.  The lesson includes an interactive foldable, an activity utilizing QR Codes to access images and movies connecting the concepts of rebellion and revolution to history, current events, and popular culture and requires students to apply what they know about their dystopian fiction to their understanding of rebellion and revolution.

To print out a copy of the lesson plan and materials CLICK HERE.

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Lesson Plans for Setting Up a Global Project

This year I eagerly applied to participate, with my students, in one of the Flat Classroom Global Projects created by Julie Lindsay and Vicki Davis.  The project is a model for digital citizenship and allows my students to collaborate and create with students around the globe.

The NetGenEd Project uses the 2013 Horizon Report and mashes up the technology trends as described in the Horizon Report with the Net Generation norms as described in Don Tapscott’s book Grown Up Digital.  The final product created by the students includes a collaboratively written wiki that shows what students will be doing with the technologies that will characterize their educational experiences over the next five to ten years.  And, in addition, students will also create a multimedia version of what they think it will look like in practice.

My students are currently in the midst or researching and writing on the wiki.  It took me about a week to set up and introduce the project to my students.  The project typically runs for about 8-10 weeks.  Below are my introductory lessons for the first week setting up the project.  I have also included the rubric that I created for my students to evaluate their collaborative Wiki report.  For my students, I am having them create a Symbaloo or Thinglink to visually display their works cited and additional resources.

Day One  – Digital Citizenship

Day Two & Three – Finding Reliable Information Online

Day Four – NetGenEd Lesson Plan 2013

Day Five – Net Gen Norms

Flatclassroom Project Rubric

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