Project Members

Christie Kodama
Laura Spangler

Introduction

The “Using Technology to Go Green” project supports the Maryland 5th grade environmental science standards. In class, students learn about the use of Earth’s natural resources and the consequences humans face as a result of its use. In the library, students will learn about media literacy and digital skills. For their final project, students will use technology to create a short video that incorporates science standards with literacy skills. This unit relies on collaboration with 5th grade teachers, the librarian, and, if available, technology or science lab teachers. The science content standards for environmental science will be taught in the classroom and science lab. Library and computer lessons will focus on integrating literacy and content standards.
This unit includes 3 lessons that will help students develop 21st century learning skills in the context of environmental science. They will learn how messages in multimedia videos are formed and what tactics and effects people use to make their message more believable to the viewer. Students will also learn basic digital photography composition skills. After learning media messages and digital photography, students will create their own “videos with a message” that speak to the consequences and misuse of Earth’s natural resources.

The Topic & Standards

This unit includes objectives from the 5th grade Environmental Science standards, with a focus on the consequences that may occur when Earth’s natural resources are used. Classroom and science lab instruction will focus on content objectives and instruction; library lessons will focus on developing media literacy and technology skills in the context of environmental science. The content needs are to help students understand the negative effects that people can have on natural resources; students will also identify and explain positive steps that people can take to minimize these negative effects. This interdisciplinary lesson will help students develop media literacy skills and use technology to express their understanding while reinforcing science objectives.

Needs of Students
This unit can be used for classes with socioeconomically and ethnically diverse populations. In most schools, 8 - 12% of the student population has special education needs and some students are second language learners. To meet the needs of these populations, lessons are presented with both text and images. Student checklists and rubrics are provided to give structure to student practice. Students can also work in groups, with or without teacher support, as needed.
While some students may have access to technology outside of the classroom, our focus is helping students develop and use technology skills to communicate their own ideas. Students will share their thoughts and opinions on the best uses of tactics and effects by contributing to an online discussion board. This enables students to see how technology can be used to engage in conversations and build on each other’s ideas. Additionally, students will practice using digital cameras while learning some basic composition skills; students who are familiar with digital cameras will learn new skills while those without regular access are given an opportunity to practice using a camera. Students will also organize their ideas with a storyboard and use PhotoStory to create a video.

Needs of Teachers
Teachers have different levels of technology experience, skill, and comfort. The district’s support of technology includes not just tools but teacher instruction. The 5th grade teachers have basic and some advanced skills. All of them use the projector with their laptop to present videos, presentations, and to share web pages with students. While the use of technology varies from classroom to classroom, currently no teachers are integrating video and photo production in classroom instruction. This unit is designed to share the responsibilities of creating a technology and science integrated project.
A brief workshop will be offered for teachers to introduce PhotoStory. If teachers are unable to attend a session to become familiar with the program, the instruction during the introductory student lesson will be helpful.

Standard 6.0 Environmental Science
Topic B, Indicator 2: Recognize and describe that consequences may occur when Earth's natural resources are used.
Objectives
1. Explain how human activities may have positive consequences on the natural environment.
  • Recycling centers
  • Native plantings
  • Good farming practice

2. Explain how human activities may have a negative consequence on the natural environment.
  • Damage or destruction done to habitats
  • Air, water, and land pollution

Standards for the 21st Century Learner
  • 1.1.6: Read, view, and listen for information presented in any format (e.g., textual, visual, media, digital) in order to make inferences and gather meaning.
  • 1.1.7: Make sense of information gathered from diverse sources by identifying misconceptions, main and supporting ideas, conflicting information, and point of view or bias.
  • 2.1.3: Use strategies to draw conclusions from information and apply knowledge to curricular areas, real-world situations, and further investigations.
  • 2.1.4: Use technology and other information tools to analyze and organize information.
  • 2.4.1: Determine how to act on information (accept, reject, modify).
  • 3.1.4: Use technology and other information tools to organize and display knowledge and understanding in ways that others can view, use, and assess.
  • 4.1.8: Use creative and artistic formats to express personal learning.

ISTE's NETS for Students (2007)
1. Creativity and Innovation Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology. Students:
b. create original works as a means of personal or group expression.
2.Communication and Collaboration Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others. Students:
a. interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts, or others employing a variety of digital environments and media.
b. communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using a variety of media and formats.
4. Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making Students use critical thinking skills to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems, and make informed decisions using appropriate digital tools and resources. Students:
b. plan and manage activities to develop a solution or complete a project.
5. Digital Citizenship Students understand human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology and practice legal and ethical behavior. Students:
b. exhibit a positive attitude toward using technology that supports collaboration, learning, and productivity.
6. Technology Operations and Concepts Students demonstrate a sound understanding of technology concepts, systems, and operations.
b. select and use applications effectively and productively.

The Setting and Context

Fabulous Elementary School, which opened in September 2000, is a Title I elementary school in a small suburban school district. The school population has grown 20% in the past two years and approximately 725 students are enrolled in kindergarten through fifth grade. The student population is diverse, both socioeconomically and ethnically. 43% of students are African American, 22% Hispanic, 17% White, 9% Asian/Pacific Islander or American Indian, and 10% unspecified. The school has a mobility rate of approximately 40% and 54% of students qualify for free or reduced lunch. Approximately 10% of the school population has special education needs and approximately 25% of students are English Language Learners receiving additional instructional support.
Fabulous Elementary has met AYP for the past 5 years and many students are working on- or above-grade level. Students who are not working on level receive a variety of instructional support, including reading interventions, smaller instructional settings, inclusion support, or attendance in homework club.
These lesson are designed to support what we feel are critical technology skills: interpreting media messages and using technology to share information and ideas.
The school district and school both support technology integration and technology resources at Fabulous Elementary are quite plentiful. Each classroom has a laptop, projector, and document camera for instruction; some classrooms are equipped with SmartBoards. Each classroom has 4 student computers and a printer. The school computer lab, which adjoins the library, includes 28 student computers with Internet access, an interactive whiteboard, scanner, black and white printer, color printer, and projector. The school has a hodgepodge collection of about 12 digital cameras, including Kodak Easy Share cameras and several Canon digital cameras. Having these resources in the classrooms and also in the computer lab allow the library to be an integral part of the school’s learning.
This unit relies on collaboration with 5th grade teachers, the librarian, and, if available, technology or science lab teachers. The science content standards for environmental science will be taught in the classroom and science lab. Library and computer lessons will focus on integrating literacy and content standards. This unit includes 3 lessons that will help students develop 21st century learning skills in the context of environmental science. Teachers welcome the opportunity to integrate science and technology, though teachers may not participate equally or fully in co-teaching each lesson due to busy schedules and other demands on their time.
The library is a busy place, with students working on homework assignments, playing fun games on the computers, or researching for a report. The school library has a fixed/flexible schedule. The morning hours are on a fixed schedule for classrooms to visit the library to check out books/have lessons about information literacy/library 101. The afternoon hours are dedicated for more collaborative work projects and flexibility so the school librarian can schedule longer blocks of time for students to do research, work on the computers, or other technology project related to the Maryland State standards. This schedule makes it possible for the librarian to work with the students in their classrooms and outside on the school grounds to take pictures.
The 5th grade team meets once a week for team planning. The two science teachers and science lab teacher meet once per instructional unit for planning. The librarian will plan and implement the media message and digital photography lessons. The final project, the PhotoStory project, will require much more collaboration and communication. The 5th grade team is organized and responsive and is a good match for a well-integrated project. The biggest challenge to this project is having each classroom teacher and the librarian complete each step of the unit.
Because technology integration has enjoyed meaningful district support for the past decade, Internet and technology resources are reliable. The computer lab paraprofessional ensures that the computers are adequately maintained and installs programs as needed for instruction. While some websites are blocked and content is filtered, Youtube videos are available. Some social media websites are blocked in the school, such as Facebook and chat features. Because this is an elementary school, social media sites and other similar sites are not utilized within lessons planned by the teachers and librarian. Some file and photosharing websites are blocked in our school, so students will use flash drives to save and share photographs.
The district’s support of technology includes not just tools but teacher instruction. Professional development includes a variety of technology sessions and the librarian has teaching sessions for the teachers during staff meetings and other professional development days. All of the 5th grade teachers have basic and some advanced skills. All of them use the projector with their laptop to present videos, presentations, and to share web pages with students. While the use of technology varies from classroom to classroom, currently, no teachers are integrating video and photo production in classroom instruction. While some students may have experience with digital cameras or creating their own media projects outside of school, students do not have experience using these techniques in school or for educational purposes. This unit relies on teachers to address science content during instruction and to have students create storyboards in preparation for their PhotoStory work session.

The Materials and Technology Tools You will Need

  • Teacher computer, screen, projector and speakers, and Internet access for instruction.
    * Computer with Internet: The computer with Internet will be used so students can view the Weebly website we created for the first lesson on “Videos with a Message: Learning to Analyze Media Formats.” Students will have to navigate through the website we created and then comment on them using the Tal.ki discussion forum on each web page. This will give students experience with online communities and learning how to share new knowledge in an online format in a more structured way. Students will also download music from freeplaymusic.com to include in their PhotoStory production.
    * Digital cameras: Students will learn the basic features of a digital camera and how to upload pictures onto the computer for use in learning and education. They will have to think about how the pictures they take fit in with the message they are trying to share with their classmates and others in the school community. (Photo management software, cord or adaptor for downloading photos.)
    * Student computers with PhotoStory software (PhotoStory is a free application that can be downloaded at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/digitalphotography/photostory/default.mspx.
    * Microphones/headphones attached to the computers: Students will learn how to use voice to produce a specific tone for their video. Learning how to speak clearly and be able to articulate thoughts in a meaningful and logical manner is an important skill students need to know for the future.
    * Flash drives: Students need access to flash drives or a shared server to save digital images and PhotoStory productions.
    * TurningPoint and clickers: If these resources are not available, the lesson can be presented with PowerPoint, though students will not be able to vote electronically.

The Implementation & Assignments

During the first lessons, the students will be learning in their classrooms about natural resources and the consequences humans/the world faces with the overuse of certain resources. In the first library lesson (Lesson #1), the librarian will use the Weebly video lesson to introduce students to the use of video/images/words/music to send a message to the viewer. This will introduce students to the kind of videos we want them to be able to create through PhotoStory about the consequences of using natural resources and how best to conserve them.
The second technology lesson (Lesson #2) is the teaching of how to use a digital camera. Students will learn the basics of the digital camera and how to compose a good digital picture, learning some basic photography rules. This lesson will enable students to consider the images they are capturing in the camera and if the images are projecting the right message the students want to share with the viewer.
The classroom teacher and librarian will co-teach a lesson (not included in this unit plan) on storyboarding a video to create a sequence that tells the viewer a story about the natural resource, the environmental issues related to it, and positive human actions related to conserving it. During this lesson, students will be drawing, coloring, finding images to use for their PhotoStory project. In cases where it is not possible for students to take a photograph (a recycling plant, for examples) students can create their own illustrations or use photographs license under creative commons. After choosing their images, students will create a storyboard for their PhotoStory. The storyboard should show how students plan to organize their images, captions for the narration, and a title and credits slide. This storyboard will be used to create a short video using PhotoStory in Lesson #3.
The third technology lesson (Lesson #3) is the introduction to the PhotoStory program, it’s features and how to utilize it to create a product that is impactful for the viewer. Students will input pictures with and without text, music, and voice to share their knowledge and opinions about the consequences people face with the use of Earth’s natural resources and the positive actions humans can take to prevent and/or reverse the damaging effects of their use.

The Lessons

First, the librarian will teach the Weebly video lesson to introduce students to the use of video/images/words/music to send a message to the viewer. This will introduce students to the kind of videos we want them to be able to create through PhotoStory about the consequences of using natural resources and how best to conserve them.
Between our first and second technology lessons, the students will be learning in their classrooms about natural resources and the consequences humans/the world faces with the overuse of certain resources. The classroom teacher and librarian will co-teach a lesson on storyboarding the video to create a sequence that tells the viewer a story about the natural resource, the environmental issues related to it, and positive human actions related to conserving it. During this lesson, students will be drawing, coloring, and finding images online to use for their PhotoStory project.
The second technology lesson (Lesson #2) is the teaching of how to use a digital camera. Students will learn the basics of the digital camera and how to compose a good digital picture, learning some basic photography rules. This lesson will enable students to consider the images they are capturing in the camera and if the images are projecting the right message the students want to share with the viewer.
Lesson #3 (not included in this unit plan) requires that students photograph or illustrate examples of how people can have positive or negative effects on natural resources in Maryland. In cases where it is not possible for students to take a photograph (a recycling plant, for example) students can create their own illustrations or use photographs license under Creative Commons. After choosing their images, students will create a storyboard for their PhotoStory. The storyboard should show how students plan to organize their images, captions for the narration, and a title and credits slide. This storyboard will be used in Lesson #4 to create a short video using PhotoStory.
The third technology lesson (Lesson #4) is the introduction to the PhotoStory program, it’s features and how to utilize it to create a product that is impactful for the viewer. Students will input pictures with and without text, music, and voice to share their knowledge and opinions about the consequences people face with the use of Earth’s natural resources and the positive actions humans can take to prevent and/or reverse the damaging effects of their use.

Lesson 1: Weebly -- Videos with a Message
Lesson Plan
Weebly videoswithmessage.weebly.com/

Lesson 2: Digital Camera -- How to Take a Good Picture
Lesson Plan
Student Worksheet
TurningPoint Presentation

Lesson 3: PhotoStory -- Maryland’s Impact on the Natural Environment
Lesson Plan
PhotoStory Rubric
Student Project Checklist
Example Video