Thursday, November 5, 2009

Mem Fox and Google Map

While this year's blog is all about what's happening in Kindegarten, I just had to share this lesson from first grade from our Mem Fox Author Study. One of our goals this year is to integrate the technology that we are learning seamlessly into our instruction. In other words we want to move from just creating something using technology because it's new, cute, and fun into thinking about how to reach a learning objective using technology because it's a better way to engage our children or because we can teach them to use the technology at the same time we teach an academic goal.

That is exactly what happened in Rachel Bridges and Heather Correia's first grade lesson. Our first graders have studied Mem Fox for many years. One of the challenges of her books is the fact that many of the places and foods are from her homeland, Australia. While it helps to read many of her books as an author study and to exposed our children to the Australian culture along the way, it also presents some challenges to the comprehension when so many of the places, foods, native plants and animals are so foreign to our American children. That is certainly true of her book, Possum Magic , where Possum Magic tours the country, visiting many of the larger Australian cities and eats many foods native to the Aussies. Our children often get confused by all the unusual names for the cities and foods as they try to retell this story.

As a way to help children remember the sequence of this story and to help with the names of the cities and foods, Rachel and Heather brought up a Google Map of Australia and let the children travel around the country identifying the main cities and the specific Australian food that were featured in each city. As this unit moves along the children will have the opportunity to taste many of those foods. After Rachel had the children help her trace Possum Magic's journey, one city and one food at a time with her, she gave them their own map to complete. Watch the lesson.

This is such a perfect example of what we are trying to accomplish this year in technology - weaving the technology seamlessly into a lesson to enhance the students' understanding of what they read! 

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