Deducing from Documents

This past week, I created a lesson for my students which had them examining videos, excerpt from a book, and a picture in order to find evidence to prove that the Big Idea was true.  In almost everything that I do, I incorporate the GATE Thinking Tools.  But because I only have my kiddoes for one semester, I have to pick and choose which ones I want to concentrate on because there’s not enough time to thoroughly cover each one.

For our Feudal Europe unit, I used to have students examine a picture, write details, and find evidence to support the Big Idea.  But this year, I decided to incorporate videos and an excerpt and I put the whole thing on My Big Campus.  I figured, why not try a new tool in the process?  After all, with the cancellation of our school’s license for Discovery Streaming, I had to find a new way to show my students the videos that I used to use.

It’s amazing how many videos are already available on MBC for teachers to use.  The very videos that I used to use within Discovery Streaming (for an Internet-based lesson there) was easily recreated in MBC.  What’s even better is that I was able to easily make the connection to objectives and standards.  Not that the kiddoes ever read those, but at least it’s there.

On Thursday and Friday, I watched my students (via ARD) work their way through the various resources in the Feudal Europe Bundle on MBC.  They were taking notes, filling out their Top Ten List, and for some, actually beginning to formulate their answers to support the Big Idea.

What’s the Big Idea, you wonder?  The Big Idea was, “Life on the manor was…(harsh, difficult, busy).”  Students were able to choose which adjective they wanted to prove.  They have to find four pieces of evidence from the resources to support their Big Idea and write it on the graphic organizer.

The Big Idea is due this Tuesday.  I’m really looking forward to what they find.  On Tuesday, I’m going to have them meet with peers who chose the same Big Idea and compare answers.  =)  So far, I really like this lesson…it pushed all of us outside of our comfort zone as MBC is new to us and the Big Idea was new to my students.  We fumble and work our way through new things because I like to experiment and I want to give my students as many opportunities as I can to explore and use technology because I don’t know when they’ll have another opportunity to do so.

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