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Thursday, March 24, 2016

Science Meets Storytelling

Classroom teachers know that integrating content areas saves valuable instructional time and also provides a platform for deeper understanding of curriculum standards and concepts. This was certainly true this week as scholars applied what they learned in science to create a story using the Toontastic app.

The first grade science curriculum specifies that scholars learn animal characteristics, specifically how animals move, what they eat and where they live. Additionally, scholars learn to compare ways that young animals resemble their parents. The first grade reading curriculum specifies that scholars gain an understanding of the elements of a story (characters, setting, problem and resolution) as well as story sequence.

The book Are You My Mother (Eastman), was used as a mentor text. This book tells the story of a baby bird who is searching for his mother. The bird meets many animals, none of whom are his mother. Finally, at the end of the story, the bird is hoisted by a crane back into his nest where his mother finds him when she returns to the nest with food. Scholars used the structure of this story to create a story about a lost animal trying to find its mother by searching for an animal with the same physical characteristics.

Scholars used this story planning tool:

The Toontastic app allows for 5 different scenes (habitats in this case) and a wide variety of characters (animals for this project)and even has a selection of 'mood music' (related to analyzing character feelings). Some of the 'mood music' made the kid voice difficult to hear so you have to listen hard:)

Below are a few examples of completed projects:

Scholars then shared their stories with classmates who watched and listened with authentic enthusiasm!

The SAMR model for using technology in the classroom calls for digital products that demonstrate redefinition; tasks that were previously inconceivable. This particular project not only integrates content areas but challenges scholars to synthesize and apply their learning by creating an original product.

Special thanks to my teammate, Valerie Heard, for this brilliant lesson idea!