Monday, February 16, 2009

Journal article review of : Let It Snow! written by Kathy Sanders and Gwen Pavelski

The article Let It Snow! is about turning a negative into a positive. The article is about how nineteen second graders at Cottage Grove, Wisconsin, started a collaborative project because of last winter's record-breaking snowfall. The project involved the students, their teacher, and the library's media specialist. The project is called Weather Watch and it is a multidisciplinary project in which has second graders researching a natural event in their community.
The students started their research reading fictional and nonfictional stories about snow and then they created questions about those readings. From those questions they answered them by using mathematics, science experiments, and digital drawing media to compare their drawn snowflakes and actual magnified snowflakes. They also interviewed the superintendent of schools, head custodian, and the local meteorologist about how their jobs were influenced by the weather. With all this information they gathered they created conclusions about this weather phenomenon.
For this project the students got to create many visual products. They created digital visual representations by measuring the snow totals and then drawing themselves to scale. This told them that the snow depth was equal to the size of two second grades standing on each others shoulders. The students also created digital photography, video interviews, a blog, computer art, and voice threads. All these visual products were then posted on a student designed web page. Their music teacher also helped the second graders write a song about snow and have the class perform it.
According to the article the students exceeded learning expectations because of all the various activity's that involved multiple disciplines. To quote what one of the students said in the article, "This was my best day of school ever". It looks like the students really enjoyed and got alto of enrichment from this project.

Q1: So how exactly did students benefit educationally from this massive project?

A1: For starters this project actively engaged the students, they wanted to do this project they were not being forced to participate. Because they were so actively engaged they took part in every aspect of the project. This project involved reading multiple literacies, creating visual productions to standards, lots of mathematics, and most importantly reflection on what they learned. The refection was the most important part of this project, because the students were able to reflect on what they have learned and then snare what they learned with others. Their ability to teach the information they gathered to others is really showing what they have learned from this project.

Q2: Could this type of project be done in a different state, like California, some were with a different climate?

A2: Yes this could be done in California. The Santa Anna we get every year would be a perfect weather condition to base this type of project off. You could also do this type of project on tidal waves, or the San Andreas fault, or even the growing pollution situation in southern California. The biggest part of this type of project is using a subject mater that will engage your students. Like the Let It Snow! article you need to choose a topic that impacts them and one that they know little about.

Here is a link to the classes web page.

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