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21ST CENTURY TEACHING


I. In an English class, small student groups chose a theme and identified connections, images, and appropriate lines from a classical play to create a class presentation. Students posted information about the play on a blog or wiki and communicated with on-line experts for feedback and suggestions. The groups then created presentations and integrated images from a digital camera or from the Internet (with appropriate acknowledgment) into their presentations. Students embedded lines of the play into their presentation to further illustrate their understanding of the subject matter. Through this process they became experts on specific themes from the play and were exposed to other themes through the research and presentations of their peers.


II. In another class, students identified key characters of a book as well as the story’s geographic location, and then posted history, character information, images, and video to the GoogleLitTrips project (http://www.googlelittrips.org/) on GoogleEarth (http:// earth.google.com/). This engaging process allowed teachers to evaluate students’ understanding through product creation and through presentation assessments.


III. To help students better understand math concepts, a Quilt Math activity was planned around quilt pieces and patterns. The teacher shared one piece of fabric of a different design and color each time the class met. Students described the different patterns and colors, and as the patterns were placed side by side, students made predictions about future colors and designs. What will the next pattern be and why? Using colors and patterns, students identified algebraic equations. A language was born, and the teacher and students were able to converse about mathematics through quilt patterns and colors. Students incorporated technology by taking digital images of the patterns and posting them onto the class Web site to keep a record of personal and group reflections of their new understandings. Students also used an interactive white board to collect and manipulate quilt patterns. New patterns were saved and posted to the class Web site to provide additional documentation of their progress. Letters and numbers were used to represent specific colors and patterns, and complex mathematical equations were developed. Students wrote individual reflections about the quilt activity, and then worked collaboratively to post a class blog that included a digital image of the quilt pattern of the day. Parents were able to review and comment on students’ postings through the Weblog. The Quilt Math project, developed by a first and second grade teacher, can be viewed at http://www.psd267.wednet.edu/~kfranz/year9900.html


Throughout all of these examples, students thought critically and creatively, made predictions, and posted their predictions online for parents to access and offer feedback. Students created authentic products that demonstrated their learning, and developed a


64 Virginia Educational Leadership Vol. 8 No. 1 Spring 2011


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