This year as a member of the Technology Data Team we were asked to select a target group of students that we wanted to work with on a technology project. My target group was five, second graders. Two students are receiving special education services. With these students I wanted to use video as a way to improve oral and written communication. As a class we were doing many reading and writing units that were tied into learning about why the rainforest is important. In particular my target group would be using video to help them write a persuasive writing piece about saving the rainforest.
Before I began the unit, students were already exposed to information about the rainforest. To start the unit I used a flip cam to record an informal conversation of what the students new about the rainforest. I used this conversation as the starting point for future conversations and reading assignments. During this initial conversation we discussed appropriate behavior when using technology (the flip cam) and rules for having a conversation. To help the students take turn and listen to the other students we had an item of the day (stuff animal, math manipulative etc.) Only the person holding the item could talk and it was their decision who would speak next.
As a group I would pull them to a separate location approximately two to three times per week. During these meetings I would begin the conversation either with a question or an article. If it was an article we would read the article together, have a taped discussion and the students would collaborate together to make a shared bubble map as a way to record their thoughts, thinking and ideas. We spent approximately 6 weeks having conversations, researching and recording.After this the students needed to create a persuasive writing piece. At this point I had several students if they could go back and watch their
videos and add information to their bubble maps. Students found videos, bubble maps and previously read articles as helpful resources in
creating persuasive writing pieces that were both informative and persuasive.
During this project there was one big limitation that came up. One of the biggest limitations was time. It was often difficult to find time during the day to pull these students to a separate location. This became especially difficult during the state testing weeks when all empty spaces were being used as testing spaces. Also finding time within the curriculum. The project ran past our persuasive writing unit. Once this happened it became more difficult to find the time within the day to have students work on their separate project.