Capstone 8-14

Capstone 8-14 Lesson Plan-Final (1)

Rubric for Geography of MIchigan Brochure

For my capstone project I choose to create a lesson plan for a PBL that I would like to do with my kids in June.  This semester I had the opportunity to have a student from Hope College work in my room, but she was actually studying abroad from Kirkham, England.  As we worked together, we started discussing how awesome for our kids it would be if we could correlate some different activities across the globe.  Since she didn’t have her own classroom yet, she connected me with her sister who teaches in Kirkham, England since she is always volunteering in her classroom and she knew the children well.  So we started to develop an idea for the kids to share their study of Geography with our study of Geography of Michigan.  Although the standards were completely different it provided both classes an opportunity to use technology (something they don’t have readily available, like we do) and us an opportunity to learn about another country and become more familiar with some different technology apps and activities.  We’ve had a chance to skype with the class in England as they are working on their brochures right now and when we finish our current unit, we will skype with the class again and share our information with them.

This was a really exciting opportunity for me to use what I’ve learned in this class so far.  I’ve always wanted to help my classroom become more global and now that I’ve got a connection it’s really opened the doors and provided a really authentic learning experience for my kiddos as well.


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Thing 15- Professional Learning Networks

I was fortunate enough to attend MACUL last year in Detroit and I loved it!  It was such a great time!  I joined the Elementary Education special interest group.

From the MACUL journal I read an article from the Summer 2016 edition entitled, ” Ignite Learning with STEM/STEAM” This was a neat article for me to read.  We use to have a mentor/mentee time where the older kids would come and build relationships with the lower level kids and it was an awesome experience but it always lended itself to what do we plan for the kids to do during this time.  As a school we had tossed around the idea of making it a STEM/STEAM time and we still struggled with what or how do we make that time beneficial for all students.  In reading this article, it help me to see that we could really use this time do something like a lego club where the kids would be given different tasks such as building a car and then recording the data and the older kids could really benefit and share their knowledge about some of the scientific concepts such as force, motion, kinetic, potential energy, and recording their information in their engineering notebooks for the next week.  It’s definitely something I can take back to my co-workers and it seems like a great starting point for us!

Connected Educator Series:

I choose Skyping Connections.  This was a really neat video to see because it reaffirmed some things that I have tried or am trying this year.  As with everything it’s always a learning experience at first.  A few ways I could use this:

  1. Share my students learning with other classes across the US that are learning similiarly.  Ex: My students are learning about the Geography of Michigan and we have paired with a classroom in England and Hawaii and will be sharing our tourist brochures with those classrooms and learn about their places as well.
  2. Allow students to make new connections with material they are learning about and actually seeing some of the things they are learning about.
  3. This provides a new and authentic opportunity for the students to learn new information as well as apply the information that they have already learned.
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Thing 14-Presentations


WOW!  That is all I can say!  I’ve used prezi, google slides and powerpoint before but never have I seen something as user friendly and fun to use as Blendspace.  The possibilities are so endless and the resources are great.  I love that I can put together an entire lesson for my kids on Blendspace and it allows me to meet with the kiddos who need my support to help them through the lesson, but yet my other students are still getting what they need.

I used Blendspace to create a lesson that would reteach and review finding equivalent fractions for my students.  I incorporated a video that I felt reviewed all the concepts of fractions they would need in order to be successful.  It reviewed the concept of equivalent fractions, with unlink denominators by using simple pictures but then it also spent some time actually teaching the kids how to find an equivalent fractions.  It also allows the students to then practice the skills they have just learned by completing the worksheet in their math notebook.  After they have practiced, the students can then take a quick 1 question quiz.  While the majority of the kids are working on this, I can pull a small group that I know needs my support to complete this lesson without the remainder of my class missing the instruction or getting jipped out on time.

This lesson definitely hits the modification and redefinition levels of SAMR.  Without Blendspace I would not be able to teach this lesson to all of my higher math kids and then spend sufficient time supporting my lower level kids.  This lesson allows the higher level kids to get the same instruction while I’m supporting all of my lower level kids.  It also allows me to have a quick assessment to see that they understand the best way to find equivalent fractions with unlike denominators.

Math Rubric




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Thing 13-Digital Images

Voki-Talking Avatar- I intitally was not thrilled with Voki, but after about 30 minutes of playing around, I stumbled upon some more faces and felt that the free verision was ok.  Not my favorite, but I love the idea behind it.  I also loved that I could actually record my own voice and incorporate that in there instead of using just the boring standard voices that some other websites give you.  Overall I thought it was interesting and I think my kids would get more of a kick out of using it than I would, but that still great!

Snapfish Picture-I’ve used things similiar to snapfish before like mixbook and I’ve enjoyed using them.  I have found though that personally I spend so much time creating these books and then I never purchase them or order them.  They end up just sitting in my account, so I’m not sure how much I would actually use something like this, but again it’s a great resource to know that it’s there and someday I could use it.


I enjoyed using photopeach and found it pretty simple to use.  I liked the idea that I could share projects like this with my families without having to send individual pictures or posting them all on my Face of the Classroom Website.  It was super simple to use and didn’t take too long to use.  I also thought this could be a fun way for my kids put together their class projects!

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Thing 12-Interactives

Part 1: Google Maps

ZQuest Google Earth.PNG

Part 2: Quizlet

Geometry Vocabulary Unit 6 Set 1

Using quizlet for vocabulary words follows the Augmentation level, because before students would have created their own flashcards using index cards or they would have tried to recall the information based on having only encountered the information during the whole group or small group lesson.

Part 3: Additional Resources-iCivics

Ok, I am pumped up about this resource!!  I always struggle with finding fun and interactive social studies activities to teach the content standards for 3rd grade and now that our grades will be restructuring next year and I’ll be teaching a 3rd and 4th grade class, this resource fits sooo well with 4th grade social studies and I can even tie it into the 3rd grade standards.  This is something I can use at the begining of the year next year since it is a presidential election year.  This will be a great way for the kids to learn, experience, and apply what they know about government to see how politics work and see if they can win the white house.  What a great interactive way to learn about the process of electing a president. Social Studies Election


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Thing 11-Content Area

Part 1: Video Resources & Audio Resources

  1. School Tube: I love school tube for a multitude of reasons.  The first being that it is super user friendly.  I can easily type in a topic and search and find a ton of examples of information that I could and can share with my students.  I can also search by grade level and know that it will be appropriate for my kids.  That can be frustrating for elementary teachers is sometimes finding information that is appropriate and kid friendly.  It also provides me the opportunity to see what other kids are doing and give my kids real examples of other student work that has been created.
  2. Teaching Channel:  I enjoy the teaching channel because it provides as spot for me to find encouragement, explore new ideas, and see what other teachers are doing and using across the globe.  One of the areas that I explored was that of Guided Writing.  I’ve always wanted and even attempted to implement guided writing, but it always seems to fail and looking at videos of teachers doing it successful reignites my ambition to keep trying and try it in different ways.
  1.  ITunesU-Ok, so I literally got lost in this resources.  I feel ashamed to say that even with a class set of Ipads I have never explored ITunesU. I struggled at first to find my way around because there was so much there, but I found so many great resources.  I also played around with creating a course and am really interested to put some of my PBL’s together in a course and manage it that way.  It’s intimidating to even think about, but I’m excited at the possibilities.
  2. Itunes-I love the amount of podcasts available to educators here.  Again, this is a resources that I’ve never explored before so it’s really exciting that I’ve got this whole new realm of resources and “professional development” in a sense that is out there and available to me.

The one resource that I shared with some co-workers was that of Teacher Tube.  In all honesty, it was the one that I found myself the most comfortable with.  I’ve used it several times in my class and even to help me generate ideas and I’ve been working with a student from Hope College who came from England and we are always sharing resources back and forth and so I thought this would be a great resource for her to explore and help her through her first year of teaching.

Part 2: Podcast Resources:

The Podcast resource that I found useful and shared with colleagues is called Teachers Talking Tech.  I found this to be the most useful for my colleagues because in our last staff meeting, we’ve been planning for next year and how we can really innovate and evaluate all that we are doing.  We’ve had many discussions about having no homework, how much technology usage is too much, how do we best utilize technology to meet our kids needs but not lose the foundations of reading physical books.  I the first podcast I shared was entitled, We don’t need no homework.  I shared this with my administrator and it created a good discussion and we are going to be sharing this at our next meeting and see if this can help us to find the answer of whether we should do homework and how much.  I was also able to show her some of the other topics which are things that we are going to be covering at our end of the year meeting.  It was exciting to see her reaction and  how this could really spark more conversations among our staff and families.  This really augmented or changed our process because instead of just making a decision about homework it led us to an opportunity to think about the how and the why we are doing something.  In the end it allowed us to say that we were going to do homework but that we are going to change the way we do it.   Instead of giving a worksheet, we can have students take pictures of how and why they need to use perimeter/area in their real life.  Example:  I’m putting new kitchen cabinet trim up in my home and I need to calculate the amount of trim that I need to go around the cabinets.


Part 3: Additional Resources Modification

  1.  I choose to explore Curriki and I know that my fraction unit in Math is coming up quickly.  I know the kids always struggle with comparing fractions.  I found a neat strategy a couple years ago to help them compare fractions, it’s called the butterfly or fishing pole method.  I knew that doing a couple of examples in my small group was not going to be enough.  I wanted find something that would allow my kids to really practice using just the fishing pole method/butterfly method.  Instead of creating my own sheet, I wen to Curriki and found a great resource that would allow the kids to focus on just that one skill.   Comparing Fractions

2.  National Geographic Videos-  One of the books we are reading about in our ELA time is earth’s features such as volcanoes and geysers in Yellowstone National Park.  I wanted the kids to be able to see some videos of some of the features that are right here in the U.S.  After reading the section of volcanoes and geysers, I plan to show my kids this video so that they can make real connections to what they have read about and learned about.  Earth’s Features


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Thing 10-Search Strategies

I started by comparing and contrasting the elementary level resources because that’s the age group that I teach.  I didn’t find that the elibrary Elementary to be very useful in the classroom at all because my kids wouldn’t have access to their library card from school.  I also didn’t find the information I could access to be very kid friendly at least at the 2nd and 3rd grade level.  Given this would be a resources I would use in class, I found that the kids would probably have a harder time navigating the site trying to find information that they could use for their research. Since I teach Social Studies and not Science I was very focused on what information was available to 2nd and 3rd grade Social Studies.  I found that there was a good amount of information available that related to 2nd grade Social Studies but it really lacked some really key information about 3rd grade Social Studies so I was a bit disappointed in not being able to find some information here that was easily accessible in the Kid InfoBits.  There were some games and activities that had pertinent information for a research piece but I felt like at a 2nd and 3rd grade level it would be really hard for the kids to find it, but also to stay focused on why they were there and what information they would be looking for.  As far as Kid InfoBits goes, I found this to be much easier for the kids to navigate as well as find information on the topic that they would be researching.  I also found that it was much easier to type in different variations of research topics and get pertinent and relevant information.  I also really enjoyed the fact that on the few articles I pulled up it provided the kids an opportunity to listen to the text and not just be responsible for reading it themselves.  I thought this would  really benefit me and my students because I can’t always be there to help them, so they could listen and read the information as they went.  I really thought the Kid Info Bits would be much more easy and accesible and kid friendly for my students.


I choose to review  Using the Elementary BASIC focus for website credibility it’s obvious this site is a hoax.  In previewing the content, it doesn’t make sense- a plane that was created to take a family to a park, it doesn’t provide adequate and/or legitimate information.  The pictures look photo shopped and don’t fit into the actual scene.   The author appears to be just a random person with an email or contact information that doesn’t match the topic.  It doesn’t seem to fit.

I also choose to review  When comparing this website to others, the only other websites I could find were articles about this being a hoax back in 1998.  The article also included information about famous people who were lefties but it didn’t fit into the article because Burger King was apparently the source.   It’s obvious that the article or site was created to promote Burger King.   There is not date as to when the article was written.  Clicking on links to other pages and you  will find that there are other articles and alot of them are in different languages and aren’t even understandable.  The article was also targeted to specifically one audience where as a conglomerate like BK would typically address all of it’s markets.

Citation Maker:

Daneman, Meredyth, and Patricia A. Carpenter. “Individual differences in working memory and reading.” Journal of verbal learning and verbal behavior19.4 (1980): 450-466.

Durkin, Dolores. “What classroom observations reveal about reading comprehension instruction.” Reading research quarterly (1978): 481-533.

Garner, Ruth. Metacognition and reading comprehension. Ablex Publishing, 1987.



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