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I recently took a leap of faith in my classroom. Before I describe what I did, I should first describe how I used to do.
For the past three years I have had my World History students research the plague, and create a slideshow about specific factors of the event. To start, I asked students to complete the worksheet below:
Upon completion, I tasked each student with creating their own slideshow presentation from the information they discovered- pretty simple stuff. This assignment has always been received well by my students in the past, and I believed it to be a "good" assignment. No need to mess with success, right?!
You see, the curse of my taking pride in being a lifelong learner is that the more I learn about teaching, learning, and technology, the more I want to change my existing lessons to make them better. Although this could be viewed by me as a curse (trust me, that has been my vantage point numerous times), this is a blessing for the learners. Let me explain what I did, and why it was a much better experience for my students.
Unlike many of the assignments I have revamped prior to this one, the change I made was simple: instead of each student creating an individual presentation, I asked the entire class to collaboratively create a single presentation. Each student was tasked with creating one slide based on a single question from the worksheet. To top it off I created a handful of slides myself, each with various facts about the subject. I then told students to work as a team to arrange all the slides- including the ones I created- in a logical, if not chronological order. Lastly, to add a little more fun to the activity, I created a handful of slides that each contained a fact that was germane to the subject at hand. I then asked students to place my newly created slides in a logical place in the slideshow.
The activity was a hit! The way I leveraged technology increased verbal communication to the point it surpassed any other collaborative activity I’ve ever witnessed, as students were constantly and eagerly communicating with their classmates for the entirety of the activity. Some aspects of the assignment worked specifically well for my classroom. For example- my class sizes are small, so using a 10-question worksheet as an impetus was sufficient. If needed, use your professional discretion to make adjustments to your version of this activity and it will work for you too!
To see the completed Google Slides assignment my students created from the above worksheet, click here.