Course 4: Final Project-Who Knows Where I Will End Up?

Already at the end of course 4! What a journey!  I remember it wasn’t too long ago that COETAIL, #online9 started back in September 2017.  It coincided with my family’s move to Houston and courses started right after the Harvey storm.  In the beginning, I was so eager to start, but right after the writing of the first blog post, I  wanted to reconsider my decision.  Writing, and especially writing in a second language, is a difficult process for me.  It activates the “cruelest inner critic” that one can have.  And, at the same time, I was dealing with many unknown situations, which is expected when completely uprooting yourself and moving to a new country.  Due to my immigration process, this academic year I was unemployed.  I don’t even know if I will be able to work in September, and this is why knowing what I would like to pursue as my final project in course 5 is troublesome.  Most likely, I will be teaching in Spanish.

So, here are the two options that may be general enough to be adapted later.

OPTION 1: PUBLISHING A STORY TO THE WORLD

Describe the project: What will your students do?

Based on the fabulous @travelingtale created by Joel Bevans, and on the unit, Narrative Craft (Grade 5), a program developed by Lucy Calkins and colleagues, students will produce a collaborative story related to their unique experience of living in Houston.  This story will be published and uploaded to the Stories of a Lifetime platform.  Students will use either iMovie, Adobe Spark, Google Slide + Screencastify to create a video.  Students will also use Google Docs to write and provide feedback to the script of the story.

How does this project reflect your learning from COETAIL?

It has been expected for students in elementary to publish their stories in a written form: colorful covers and neat handwriting or typed on the computer.  The audience is usually the teacher, the students of other classrooms, or the writers’ parents. The readings in COETAIL have emphasized the importance of having an authentic audience.  Technology permits that people around the world become the audience.  In addition, publishing a story using multimedia will be the ideal scenario to teach the elements of graphic design and the use of visuals to tell a story; all skills necessary for a 21st-century learner.

What goals do you hope to achieve with this project?

This project will help students develop digital literacy skills through varied modes as a way of authoring their story as well as collaborating with classmates using digital tools.

Why do you think this unit is a good possibility for your Course 5 project?

Storytelling is taught in every school, and, considering that I don’t know where I will end up teaching, there is a higher probability that I will be able to implement this idea regardless of the setting.

What are some of your concerns about redesigning this unit?

I am still debating about creating one story with the whole class, or for pairs to collaborate writing a story with another class in another part of the world, the way it is done in @travelingtales.  I think logistically speaking, the latter is more feasible.

What shifts in pedagogy will this new unit require from you?

This project will require teaching students how to use visuals to tell a story.  This is usually not done in writer’s workshop, so it will require creating lesson plans to supplement the units already set in schools.

What skills and/or attitudes will this new unit require from your students?

Some of the instruction will be online housed in a Learning Management System (LMS) such as Edmodo, Google Classroom, or Schoology.  Students will require mastering the tech tools and become troubleshooters when experiencing difficulties with technology.  At home, they should know how to access their work online.

OPTION 2: DEVELOPING DIGITAL ACTIVISM WITH THE GLOBAL GOALS PBL PROJECT

Describe the project: What will your students do?

Digital Citizenship implies many topics, so narrowing it down to Digital Footprint, or, going even further, to Digital Activism is more manageable.  In addition, considering that it should be taught within a context, I would like to develop a Project-Based Learning unit integrating The Global Goals and The World’s Largest Lesson developed by the United Nations. In combination, students will understand that they can demonstrate their learning, amplify their voices, and become agents of change by collaborating and using technology to communicate their message.  In pairs or trios, students will research a Global Goal of their choice and decide how they would like to showcase their learning, which will consist of an action plan to be implemented in their school, in their neighborhood, or in their city.  Moreover, the students may collaborate, exchange ideas with another class, in another city or country, which could be facilitated by posting requests on @TeachSDGs or using the hashtag #TeachSDGs.or #Globaledchat

How does this project reflect your learning from COETAIL?

I know for sure— through COETAIL— that learning happens when students are at the center of the process.  Aspects such as providing a choice on what to learn, or how to pursue the learning, mixed with collaboration, critical thinking, and an authentic audience in mind will be a successful recipe for student engagement.  This project has the potential to include all these ingredients.

What goals do you hope to achieve with this project?

I would like students to understand that they can become active participants for a positive change and that they can amplify their voice through the use of technology.  At the same time, they will develop creativity, collaboration, critical thinking and the skills of a good communicator; the true skills of a 21st-century learner.

Why do you think this unit is a good possibility for your Course 5 project?

This project entails a big challenge. Students will become digital activists, as a result of learning in-depth about the Global Goals.  The objective of this unit has a real impact.

What are some of your concerns about redesigning this unit?

As I mentioned before, I don’t know where I may be working in the future; therefore, it would be difficult to determine if this unit will be feasible within the new school’s context or the students’ age.  Another concern of mine would be the logistics and management.  I wonder if choosing one Global Goal as a class might be more realistic than having students choose their own.  These details will need to be determined by the actual demographics of my future classroom.

What shifts in pedagogy will this new unit require from you?

This unit will require giving up a great deal of control as a teacher and perhaps scaling back on some of the strict adherence to the prescribed teaching units and lessons that we often find in classrooms. I also know that it will likely require managing other aspects that I can’t even foresee at this moment.

What skills and/or attitudes will this new unit require from your students?

Students will require solid research skills and the mastering of the tools that they decide to use for their call to action.

I am glad that I have a few months to think about these two options more thoroughly.  This year has provided the elements to develop patience and to be more comfortable with not knowing what the future holds.  However, I know that thanks to COETAIL, I will be prepared to have my students lead the way, no matter which direction we choose.

I am looking forward to your feedback on my two options.

Thanks,

Carolin Escobar

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1 Response

  1. Rory Bell says:

    Hi Carolin,

    Thank you for sharing your thinking here and also your personal story here. It has been a joy to read your thoughts and writing as COETAIL has progressed, and you have clearly dealt so well with what sounds like a tumultuous year. Safe to say, if you wrote your blog posts in Spanish, I would not have a clue and would have to resort to Google Translate, so you do so well in another language!

    To be honest, I really like both ideas that you put forward. I have been furiously scribbling down (old school method) the storytelling and Global Goals resources that you have shared, and may well use the latter in my project. I plan to ask my students to take part in similar projects and similar link ups with other schools, but with my specific focus being the development of empathy skills. Feel free to check out my blog post about it and also, if you would like to link up with my class in some way then do let me know! Next year I should still be in Year 3.

    Alternatively, I was also drawn to link to go.penpalschools.com and especially link to thewonderment.com, which look like awesome global project ideas as well. Feel free to check them out!

    All the best for the remainder of the year, and I look forward to reading all about your project during the next one.

    Thanks,
    Rory.

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