Five Creation Ideas for Your Classroom

Our challenge as educators is to craft engaging learning experiences for students. When students are given opportunities to create, the ownership of the learning shifts to the student and they become the center of the educational experience. So, the question becomes, how can I provide my students opportunities to create on a regular basis? Designing lessons that include creation opportunities moves students from passive to active learners and provides students a variety of ways to show their learning. The use of technology provides new creation opportunities for students.

Passive Active
Filling out a worksheet Investigating a topic
Reading a book Writing a book
Drill and Practice Interacting and learning with/from students around the world
Taking notes Sharing work with peers where students are learning from students

What does creation look like in the classroom? Let’s take a look at how five iPad Academy teachers in Bellevue Public Schools provide opportunities for students to create with technology.

screen-shot-2017-02-08-at-2-17-01-pm1.Investigative Projects

Turn a passive lecture lesson into an active lesson filled with a classroom of creators. Brent Myers (@mrmyers1), 8th grade history teacher at Mission Middle School, redesigned his lessons on the Transcontinental Railroad and the Homestead Act. He flipped the script by giving the students a driving question for them to answer. Using resources that were both online and unplugged, students investigated the importance of these historical events and created a paper slide video to showcase their learning.

What is a super slide video? Click here to see a video on Super Slide Videos.

To see a detailed super slide lesson plan, click here

Thanks to Lisa Pack (@ilisapack) for all her work and inspiration on super slide videos.

  1.  Student Authors 

    Brittany Braasch (@brittanybraasch) and Michelle Klamm (@klammlovesmnms), 3rd grade teachers at Bellevue Elementary, have students create eBooks on Jamestown to showcase their learning. The creation of the Jamestown book fulfills an essential objective for Social Studies. The students are required to include information about leadership, reasons for settlement, geographic location, how they made their money, shelter, and interesting facts. They also have to include a personal reflection detailing their thoughts on being a child in Jamestown. Students used Popplet as a graphic organizer as they collected the information. They found their information in Schoology and the Early Jamestown app, as well as through videos that the teachers provided. The students used the Book Creator app to create the actual eBook. They used Safari and PicCollage for the pictures. As students learned the material, they used the Chatterpix app to create mini-videos to include throughout the book. It takes about three weeks of 45 minute instructional blocks to complete the project.

Here are two examples Jamestown ebooks created by 3rd graders:  Book 1    | Book 2

  1.  Creation with Green Screen Videos

Tori Parde (@TORI_Parde), 6th grade teacher at Fairview Elementary, allows students the opportunity to transport themselves and their projects to a different setting by using a green screen for student creation videos. For one of their language arts assignments focusing on communication skills, students created a movie review news segment. Students use the camera app to film, the Green Screen app by DoInk for the green screen backgrounds and layers, and iMovie to edit the finished project. Students were required to put clips from the actual motion picture trailer in their movie review segment. The only limit was the child’s imagination.

“My advice is to dive-in!” Parde said. “I see this as a way to help incite wonder in my students. I hope these experiences ignite a passion for traveling to new places, learning new things, and dreaming to be something or somewhere they never thought they could be.”

  1.  Coding

When Kathy Harms (@kathy_harms), first grade teacher at Wake Robin Elementary, described her upcoming Science Objective, EO2 Position and Motion, we asked ourselves if there was a more creative way to engage our students with this material. The objective asks students to compare relative position and motion of objects. As we discussed the lesson, we thought it would be a perfect fit for the Dash robots and Parrot minidrones.

The first day was a “show and do” format. Harms modeled how to code Dash to show the basic movements by using the Reflector app to display the iPad with a projector and showing students how to drag the coding blocks together to make Dash move. Then, students got into groups and took turns coding forward/fast. Student gathered on the rug to see a demonstration of the backward/slow blocks and returned to groups to practice. The “show and do” format was repeated four times and helped focus the students to assure they knew the directions before working independently in their groups. The other motions covered were zig zag, back and forth and round and round.

The second day students experienced a station rotation model including coding challenges with the robots. They used their science motion words of forward, backward, round and round, faster, and slower.  

“This activity took students to a new level of understanding within this objective,” Harms said. “The activities allowed students to not only learn the objective, but to transfer the learning to coding the robots. The experiential learning solidified the concept and 95% of the students earned an advanced score on the assessment, one student who earned proficient was absent Day 2. The center activities, both teacher guided and student guided, were appropriately timed so students could experience the successful completion of the activities or tasks. Applying the vocabulary as students coded or viewed Dash’s motions was a meaningful way to learn, reinforce and extend the science objective (SC2.2.2).”

Click here to see the details including videos of the lesson plan.

  1. Multimodal Summarization

Lisa Keene (@lkeene0306), 4th grade teacher at Leonard Lawrence, provides her students choice and creation in language arts. She takes advantage of the multimodal opportunities that technology brings to the classroom.  In her reading curriculum, students were studying the genre of tall tales and learning the skill of how to summarize. After class time was spent learning the skills and reading the tall tale Paul Bunyan, students were given choice and time to create video tall tale summaries. Students chose their groups, the tall tale, and the app and applied their creativity and summarization skills to retell the tall tale.

“The students really got into it,” Keene said. “They brought props from home, made props/costumes out of paper, and created their own characters in Toontastic. Writing summaries can be difficult for 4th graders sometimes, but given all the choice, creating, and knowing it was going to be seen by an audience, made it motivating to learn.

What did the students create? Projects included a green screen video, an app smash with Puppet Pals, Toontastic, and iMovie, a paper slide video.  All the students shared their creations SeeSaw app and additionally shared their projects to the class using Reflector 2 (computer) and airplay (iPad).

Here are examples of tall tales. Some characters were created in  Toontastic and Puppetpals2 and the video created in iMovie. Green Screen videos were created in the Green Screen app by Doink.

https://youtu.be/BILzdLgmHPE          Johnny Appleseed green screen
https://youtu.be/am4SY8LMIew          John Henry super slides (paper slides)
https://youtu.be/XMnlEwZhgsc            Pecos Bill toontastic
https://youtu.be/7hoCn7eMDwo          John Henry toontastic
https://youtu.be/zPbovXGul2c             Paul Bunyan green screen

As you reflect on your classroom, is creation part of your workflow? How can you redesign your lesson to include opportunities for students to create projects that show their understanding of learning objectives? Use these ideas above as a springboard to opening the doors of creation for your students.

“Creativity is intelligence having fun,” Albert Einstein

Written by Ann Feldmann @annfeldmann1

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