As part of my journey to integrate technology into my classroom, I am beginning to think about specific lessons and how I can bring meaningful technology to student learning. By meaningful technology, I mean not just having the students do a webquest, play a computer game, or any other canned activity: I want them to experience creating something original, and possibly interactive, with technology. In this way, the students will gain important skills in technology while learning the traditional subjects they need to know. AND, most importantly, virtually every student I’ve ever had LOVES anything to do with technology, so this will be a great way to engage reluctant, disruptive, or underachieving students.
For this project, I decided to focus on Ancient Rome for a 5th grade classroom. Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) deviates from the state Standards of Learning in history and social sciences and uses their own Program of Studies (POS) instead. I decided to use:
SS.G5 – Standard 8: Demonstrate Understanding of Classical Rome History and Geography
Explain achievements of Classical Rome and how they affect modern society.
This subject has a lot of potential for students to research and create projects about ancient Rome that they can share with one another. One idea that I am thinking of, is to have students work in small groups to produce podcasts from places of importance in ancient Rome such as the Forum, the Colosseum, or Hadrian’s Wall. The group reporting from the colosseum could describe an event like a sportscaster, while the group doing Hadrian’s Wall might act like war correspondents. Others might treat the podcast like an informative radio show or a group of students could write up an interview of a person from ancient Rome. of course the whole class will get to listen to all the podcasts.
Another idea I have, is to have students create a blog or a facebook page of a Roman person. This could be a famous Roman such as Julius Caesar, Augustus, or Constantine, or they could imagine being a Roman slave, noblewoman, or tradesman. Based on facts they find out in their research, they will make postings about daily life and the goings-on of their character.
Taking this project in another direction, small groups of students could write, make costumes, and design sets for short plays depicting the Roman myths. They would make videos of their productions; learning about camera work, and video editing. Perhaps a local video artist could talk to the class about lighting, filming from interesting angles, and how to incorporate music into the videos.
A last idea I have, is to incorporate visual art and technology by having students draw one of the famous pieces of architecture or an invention from ancient Rome and use ipads to create a site that you can access with a QR code (thank you to Meagan Posey for this fun idea!) The students create a museum of their works and each student can go around the exhibit learning about the subject of each artwork by holding their ipad over the QR code and reading the information written by their peers.
These are some initial ideas of things I want to learn to do in my classroom. I am open to more ideas from my readers as I begin to work on my project!