I started Course 5 green with envy of the people who had made a decision for their final project last year and written the unit plan at that time. I’ve spent the last few weeks constructing the unit plan for the project idea that I wrote about last year. Deep down when I was writing up the blog post for the Course 4 final project, I knew that I really wanted to go for idea #1 and here I am now planning that unit. In hindsight, I should’ve gone with my gut feeling and committed to this idea last year and been ready to start with a plan in my hand. Since fleshing out this idea in the unit planner, I’m really excited to get started and see how the students respond.
This unit is all about fostering global connections for my Grade 4 students while infusing many of the core ideas and skills targeted from Courses 1-4 including elements of Digital Citizenship, Visual Literacy, Connectivism and Global Collaboration, and Integrated Technology whilst hitting many of the ISTE Standards for Students. Students will be embarking on global book clubs. Some elements of running traditional book clubs will remain; however, in this redefined book club unit, students will be collaborating with kids from different countries. I hope that by changing the audience my students will engage at a deeper and higher level than ever before. As I’ve got a small class this year (only 13), I think this will bring in new energy and greater connections to their work.
Here’s the UbD planner which documents the specific details of the project including goals and understandings and a tentative learning plan (this is still to be fleshed out). The plan is to form global book club groups (6-10 kids per group). Each group will have a different book to read but the books will be connected to a main theme. Groups will meet via Skype to discuss their books as well as blog about their reading and thinking and respond to their peers with comments.
For this to work and to even get off the ground, I will need to use my personal learning networks (PLNs), and connections I’ve made over the years to find suitable classes to connect with. So far I’ve got one class on board. I posted this ad on the Course 5 Final Project Google+ Community Group and got responses from teachers who I’d collaborated with for the Course 2 final project. Thanks for your support Angela, Leah.
I know I could put this out on Twitter too, but since I’m only looking for another two classes I am worried it would be sending it out to a too wide of an audience. I’ve also connected with past international colleagues who might want to join me. Hopefully, I’ll have 3 confirmed classes by the end of the week. Contact me if you are interested.
Once I’ve got confirmed classes, things will get busy and I will work with teachers to make balanced and appropriate book club groups. Building enthusiasm and excitement is important and I’m looking for ways for students from the different schools to get to know each before meeting in book clubs. Students will be involved with some of the planning aspects like how to allocate the reading across weeks and what makes a good prompt etc.
Tune in again in a few weeks and the book clubs should be up and running. I’ll send news and anecdotes from the classroom.