I’d like to keep you in the loop regarding our classwork this week and next. As we’ve studied the Age of Exploration, we’ve found that our Textbook is missing lots of (colorful!) information, is generally very poorly organized, and just isn’t very fun to read. As our culminating activity/assessment, we are rewriting our textbook in a fashion that interests students, not to mention contains some better information and learning tools.
As all projects, this will have benchmarks and requirements. Watch the gradebook (as well as your inboxes & this blog) for updates on how the kids are doing. In the mean time, you can see their work in progress here. We’re collaborating as an entire 7th grade, with all students sharing the research, editing, and formatting of this “textbook.” Through creating the text, the visuals, and the end-of-section questions and activities, our students are going to show a far better mastery of the Age of Exploration than any test would. As I’ve told the kids, this is a fun project, something I’ve never done before. I haven’t been so excited for a project in a while… which is saying something, since I’m usually a little too enthusiastic :)
Students have been reminded – and will be constantly through this project – the practices of good research they’ve learned in my class and others. Libraries come first – books are good! – as they contain mountains of information specific to the Age of Exploration that’s far easier to navigate than the web. Libraries also make it easier to locate maps and images that may be scanned and put into the “textbook” we’re creating. After that, National Geographics are great (I have some in my room), as well as reliable web sources listed on my blogroll to the right. Wikipedia is okay, so long as students follow the links at the bottom of any wikipedia entry.
If anyone forgets the passwords to any web source (including our wordpress.com blog), please e-mail me and I’ll share them with you. It’s simply a violation of our terms with those sites to post them on the web.