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How We Got to Now: a student created mini museum

In November, I wrote a post about the book/PBS documentary series “How We Got to Now” by Steven Johnson. If you haven’t read this book or watched the series, it is a must! Truly, this is one of those books that has stayed with me. I’m not the only one. Students from 1st-8th grade at Anastasis have become fascinated with Steven Johnson’s journey through the six innovations that made the modern world. The way that Steven weaves the story is remarkable. It reminds us just how interconnected the world is and that innovation doesn’t happen in isolation, but as a result of connection. This book, perhaps more than any we’ve read as a school, has reminded us of the beauty of inquiry. What happens when hunches collide and people pursue those hunches. I love the way that Johnson explores innovation through these 6 lenses. Instead of offering up the typical “heroes” of invention, Johnson introduces students to concepts that span hundreds of years of invention and many of the unsung heroes. The six innovations include: glass, time, clean, light, sound, and cold. I’m telling you, the way that Johnson helps kids see connections in innovation and invention is brilliant! So much the way that inquiry works. In my first post, I wrote about how our students had imagined these innovations as a series of dominoes. Each new discovery leads to the next. Much like dominoes creating a chain reaction. The students have spent the last months exploring each of the 6 innovations in-depth. In addition to the PBS series, they’ve spent time really digging into each innovation that led to the next. @dweissmo really took on this project with her students. The process wasn’t without it’s frustrations (for teacher and students) but the end result was absolutely incredible! Honestly, I couldn’t have imagined a better outcome than what I saw today when Deb’s class unveiled their mini museum. Before I get to that, let me lead you through the process of how this project came together. First, Deb’s class watched each of the How We Got to Now @PBS documentary series. The students took notes (in Evernote, through sketchnotes, etc.) about each innovation. The class would also debrief after each video and talk about what surprised them, encouraged them about the invention process, the key players, and the timeline. @dweissmo is a master at leading these conversations. Her enthusiasm is infectious and the students caught her passion. Steven Johnson also has a way of presenting the unfolding of each innovation in a way that hooks your interests and keeps you marveling and making connections long after the video is over. After watching the documentary series, Deb put each of the six innovations up on her wall and asked students to write their names on a sticky note and choose which innovation that they were most excited to learn more about. Students chose which innovation they wanted to do a more in-depth study of and would, ultimately, create dominoes based on. #gallery-1 { margin: auto; } #gallery-1 .gallery-item { float: left; margin-top: 10px; text-align: center; width: 33%; } #gallery-1 img { border: 2px solid #cfcfcf; } #gallery-1 .gallery-caption { margin-left: 0; } /* see gallery_shortcode() in wp-includes/media.php */ For the dominoes, we snagged a bunch of the flat-rate shipping boxes from USPS. The students painted them different colors according to the innovation they were studying (a different color for each innovation). Next they took all of their notes and research and started creating their “dominoes” with information about that innovation. They quickly realized that there was SO much to say about each innovation, that it didn’t fit on their domino. The kids decided to create websites where they could add a little more in-depth information about the innovation. To make it easier for the museum audience, they connected the websites and webpages they built to QR codes for each domino. You guys, these are 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students!!! I’m so proud of them I could burst. They built their websites using Wix (a wonderful and amazing WYSIWYG editor). The QR codes were built using Google’s URL shortener which also happens to include a QR code. On the back of each domino, the kids affixed their QR codes. Some of the kids also created videos that were included on their website. (If you are interested in seeing these websites, all are linked here.)  All of this was done over the course of a few months as the kids continued on their inquiry journey of How We Express Ourselves, and How the World Works. Then came the full moon. Any teacher will tell you that the full moon does something to children. Perfectly wonderful, reasonable children are suddenly unrecognizable and cannot make a decision or work together to save their lives. This is a real thing! This full moon coincided with class decisions about how to set up their museum. And much chaos ensued. Despite the full moon, the kids were able to come to a decision about how they would set up their museum for the rest of Team Anastasis and families to enjoy. For all of the trouble they had coming to a decision, they did a remarkable job in the end! They created a sort of maze/labyrinth to walk through with dominoes along the journey. They decided to organize the dominoes not by innovation, but instead as a timeline so that you could see the interconnectedness of innovation. They had a station set up with clips from the How We Got to Now PBS series, a station where kids/parents could download a QR code scanner and learn how to use it before going through the museum, the actual domino mini-museum, and a place to reflect on the museum afterward. It was incredible!! What was truly inspiring was watching the other classes (and parents) journey through the museum. Kids of all ages were SO engaged and impressed with what Team Weissman had put on. They spent time sitting at each domino and learning more about the innovations. They asked questions. They told Team Weissman what a neat website they had built. They connected with each other and learned together. Seriously, I couldn’t have dreamed up a better scenario. As the 1st-3rd grade class was leaving, they stopped and asked some of Team Weissman, “could you show us how to do QR codes and websites for our Body Tracings?” This is what learning looks like! After all their hard work, the kids sat down and reflected on what could have gone better. What they would like to do differently for their next museum. They congratulated each other for a job well done. They talked about how hard the project felt at times and how very proud of themselves they were when they persevered through the hard parts. They made plans for the next opportunity to share it. And now for our next trick, Team Weissman is creating their own inventions…How We Get to Next! These are so brilliant, I can’t wait to share them! If you are joining us for the 5sigma Education Conference (and I hope you are!!), you will get a first hand look at the How We Got to Now mini domino museum and hear from the students who created it.      

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Capzles Interactive Timeline Tutorial

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Apply, Art, Create, Evaluate, History, Knowledge (remember), Language Arts, Middle/High School, Music, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Video Tutorials, web tools, Web2.0 | Posted on 03-02-2011

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Capzles is a site that I have written about and recommended many times (you can read one of my original posts about it below).  I am currently working with a school that has zero technology.  When I say zero, I mean they don’t even have over head projectors.  This is a NO tech school.  They recently enlisted my help in taking their eighth graders from no tech into a one-to-one environment.  Each of the students will be receiving a laptop to use during instruction.  The challenge: the computers aren’t all the same age, make, or model.  No problem, we will use web 2.0 tools!  The benefit of going from zero to fully immersed: no bad technology habits to break, we are staring from a clean slate!

Last week I met with the eighth grade teacher to talk about what learning is currently happening in the classroom and took a look at the scope and sequence of learning for the next semester.  I asked a LOT of questions and together we mapped out a plan for integrating technology that would support and enhance the learning that was already happening.  We decided to begin by adding technology into art, composer study, history, astronomy, poetry, and literature.  I thought about having the students create blogs or wikis to chart and reflect on learning, but in the end decided that Capzles was the best tool for this job.  Capzles lets students organize learning in the form of an interactive timeline.  Students can upload a variety of documents to the timeline including images, videos, documents, and slide shows.  They can also blog directly to the timeline (complete with comments!). The blog feature also provides a way for students to embed other web 2.0 creations.  For the learning that these students will be doing, the visual timeline makes the most sense.  Students can create multiple timelines or compile all of their learning into one timeline.  If students create these timelines based on actual historical dates, they will begin to see the overlap in history, astronomical discoveries, composers, and artists of the time.  This leads to a more complete understanding of how the world that they know has been shaped.

Students can also create a timeline based on their learning, each day adding learning to a virtual “journal” of events.

I have created weblists of the links these students will be using as a part of their learning over the next semester:

To Kill a Mockingbird

Poetry

Astronomy

Art

Composers

History

The tutorial above is a brief introduction to using Capzles, you will have to forgive the drowned rat look…that is what happens when you shovel snow in a blizzard :)

Original post from July 22, 2008:

What it is: Capzles is another interactive timeline maker. I really love all the little extras that Capzleshas! With Capzles teachers and students can add photos, videos, audio, and text to their timeline. Themes, colors, backgrounds, and background music can be added to the timeline making it unique and personalized. Capzles also provides options when sharing your Capzle, it can be private with a specific list of who can view the Capzle or made public for the world to see.

How to integrate Capzles into the classroom: Obviously Capzles is a great way for students to create timelines about any subject. The web 2.0 collaborative aspect of Capzles makes it very appealing to students. I think Capzles could also be very valuable in the primary classroom. Students probably won’t be creating their own timelines in Capzles at this age, parent helpers paired with students to create simple timelines would be appropriate. Because Capzles has the capability of adding audio, photos, and text, it would be the perfect place to record students reading throughout the year. As you assess student reading through reading records, record the students using a program such as GabcastGcast,Audacity, or Garageband. Take a digital picture of the student reading. Throughout the year, you can make a Capzle for each student. This is an excellent motivator for students, especially your struggling readers. Students can see their growth throughout the year in pictures, and hear their reading progress made throughout the year. You can share the Capzle with parents (they will go crazy for this keepsake!) and with the students future teacher. How much would you love getting a timeline of your students from the previous year? You would have a jump-start on their struggles and strengths in reading as you quickly flip through their timelines. Cool huh?!

Leave a comment and share how you are using Capzles in your classroom.

Comments (15)

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Shelly S Terrell, Melissa Techman, ktenkely, ktenkely, ktenkely and others. ktenkely said: @PeterMulleners Here is my capzles tutorial: http://t.co/PRY6Nns […]

How clever of the school to ask you to help! Thanks for sharing the tutorial on Capzles – it sounds brilliant.

Kelly, I really like the plans for using this visual timeline for pulling together the pieces and artifacts of learning. What a great way to use a timeline. :)

This looks like a great tool for our classrooms! This was the first time I had heard about Capzles. Good luck to you on introducing the 8th grade to the wonderful world of technology. I’m sure it will be an adventure.
Quick question: What were the names of the tools you recommended for students to create their own mp3 music files?

Kelly this seems like a great tool!
Also thanks for the mailinator.com idea. I have some users for my site that want kids to sign up but don’t want them to have to create email addresses (which are required) so this seems like a perfect solution.

You are welcome, mailinaitor.com and tempinbox.com are SO great for required email addresses.

Thank you Manuel, Capzles is fantastic…used it for the first time today with students, it was a BIG hit :)

Tools to use for mp3 music files: Garageband (Mac), Audacity, Myna (aviary.com)

Thanks Melissa!

Thank you Susan, Capzles really is brilliant, the way that it allows students to combine and organize other web tools is fantastic!

[…] these videos in their own history Web 2.0 creations and presentations.  I’m currently using Capzles with a group of 8th graders and imagine them embedding these videos in their timelines along with […]

[…] mission, they add images, reflections, and information to their timeline.  I have to say, the Capzles interface is turning out to be the perfect place for them to collect all of their learning and […]

[…] format. (see the examples below) If you are interested in learning more you MUST check out this blog post and video by Kelly Tenkely at iLearn Technology…she also has made a fantastic video […]

[…] iLearn Technology » Blog Archive » Capzles Interactive Timeline Tutorial […]

[…] iLearn Technology » Capzles Interactive Timeline Tutorial […]

How do you set up a classroom account?

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