A colleague, Evan Grant, and I decided to take EdCamps to the next level. He had experimented with them in the math realm and saw the immediate value. With the Common Core focus of integrating other subjects within language arts, we decided to start with Social Studies.
- Students were divided into groups around a specific tribe or explorer (There were 8 tribes; 4 students per group & 10 explorers; 3-4 students per group)
- Using Subtext (see my other post for more info), articles were curated specifically for these tribes/explorers (We LOVED Mr. Donn's site http://www.mrdonn.org).
- Students and groups researched and documented their research either through a shared Google Doc or their own notes.
- The Native Americans gave their presentation as if they were a member of the tribe and the Explorers as professors. Students were given the opportunity to use a variety of tools to showcase their topic (Keynote, Upad, paper, photos on their iPad).
- Each class held an initial EdCamp within their own room to work out the kinks and get feedback from their peers. This proved important as students reworked, changed or added information based on their peers questions.
- Over two days and two, forty minute sessions, sixty-four students gave their presentations. We started with Native Americans and Evan's class and those not speaking at the time, were the participants. The next day we swapped.
- Rotations were about 6-8 minutes and students were asked to take notes as the presentations went on.
We were in awe at the ownership, knowledge, discussions, and expertise. Keep in mind these are nine, ten, and eleven year olds, so some of them chose to see their friends and, at times, there was off-task behavior, but nothing a few announcements and future selection guidance wouldn't fix.
- Here are some student reflections:
"I think I had enough research. When I was presenting I thought I was going to throw up on the people who were seeing me present. I thought I would have about two people, I was wrong I had about nine people! Some of the students who watched me I didn't even know there names! But they were the nicest crowd. I was so nervous but I have to admit I want to do it again for fun! I loved it and I think I sort of got over my fear for public speaking, even though they were all my friends!
I'm proud of my work, I did stutter in the Louisiana Purchase slide. I really liked it. I'm sort of getting really excited for the next presentation." ~Ruth
"I thought that EdCamp was a lot more different having Mr. Grant’s class come to our classroom. Though I had a lot to talk about, I enjoyed sharing and listening to different speeches. I learned a lot of new facts about other tribes. I listened to the Sioux tribe and the Kwakiutl tribe, the were very interesting." ~Blake
"Today we had edcamp with Mr. Grant's class and it was fun our class was teaching there class about Indians and tomorrow Mr. Grant's class is going to teach us about explorers. And today I went to the same group two times and they were nothing alike. One interesting fact is that in one group called Sioux eat rabbit sticks and pop sticks and beff turkey and how they made the beef turkey. They got beef and skinned the juice out and made the juice get hard." ~Hana