This week I had the opportunity to attend a four day professional development seminar based off of the Teachers’ Curriculum Institute‘s Bring Learning Alive! book. It was presented by a Social Studies teacher in my county and the purpose of the seminar was to learn interactive strategies for my non-social studies classroom from a program designed to make learning social studies fun. I have to say, it was one of the best professional developments that I have been to in a very long time. I am really excited to try out some of these new strategies on my students next year.
One of the strategies that we learned about was called a visual discovery. Visual discoveries use a series of spiraled questions about an image or a series of images to introduce a new concept and get students thinking about what they already know. In my Educational Technologies class (I know, I am supposed to be on summer break…not catching up on all this learning) we have been talking about how to use new technology to engage students in the classroom. With this in mind, I decided to use the tool Voice Thread to create a Visual discovery about what it was like to immigrate to the United States via Ellis Island. Student can post their responses to my recorded questions directly onto the slide show. As students interact with the slide show we will have a conversation about what they know, what they deduce, and what questions they might have. Check it out at http://voicethread.com/share/3222082/
Overall, this technology worked really well with this strategy. I cant wait to play around with it more and use it with my students next school year.