Saturday, May 10, 2014

3rd Grade Kicks Off Their First PBL Project....Creating "Dream Vacations" To Different Countries

On Monday, all three of the third grade classrooms and their teachers came to the library to kick off the "My Dream Vacation" PBL project.  

Over the last seven years I have worked with this grade towards the end of the year on a big country project.  It has changed a lot during that time.  When I came to Van Meter the country project was on notecards and paper. Then we moved to collecting the information on a wiki and creating a LittleBirdTale eBook.

Last year they collected the information on the wiki and then create a Smore highlighting the country assigned to them.
This year the classrooms teachers picked this one to focus on for their collaborative 3rd grade PBL project.  We all got together several times to talk through PBL and how the project would change into something new....."My Dream Vacation." 
One of the first things we talked about was bringing together all three of the third grade classes into the library each morning.  We kicked this off on Monday, May 5th. 

The third graders chose their group and the country they wanted to travel to.  

Each group then wrote their "driving question" that would focus the research and project. I loved watching how the teachers went around to each group to really help them write a focused question that would truly drive the individually of the country project. 
On the first day, we also introduced the resources that we brought together on the Third Grade Symbaloo for the students to use throughout their project.  We showed them books within the library through Follett's Destiny and eBooks in MackinVIA and Capstone.  We reviewed all of the databases that they love to go to including Capstone's PebbleGO, Culture Grams, and Britannica. 

I also added netTrekker, SweetSearch4Me, and iClipArt that the kids could use, along with Google, when searching information and images for their project.  We also taught the kids about Kayak so they could search for flights, hotels and other information when planning their dream vacation.  

EasyBib was one of the links included.  We talked about the importance of citing each resource they used throughout the project.  We just worked with EasyBib during the "Banding Together" Project so this was another great chance for our kids to review and practice creating citations. 

I added the a few of the digital tools that we would be using including Smore, PicMonkey, and ReciteThis....we would introduce these later in the week but wanted to include them with the group on Symbaloo.  
One of the most important resources we included on the Third Grade Symbaloo was a link to the "My Dream Vacation" Google Doc.  When I do this, I just make the Google Doc public, embed it into the Symbaloo, and then have each student go there.  
Once they are in the Google Doc, each group made their own "Copy" of the Google Doc and put their name in the subject line so we could easily organize them.  
After they knew what resources were included and had the information needed for the country search, each group set off to plan their dream vacation.  
Even though they had the Google Doc available for note taking, a few of the students wanted to take their information down on paper or note cards.  This was their choice....we really wanted them to embrace their research process as well.
On Day 3 of the project, we introduced Smore to the third graders.  They would be using Smore to create a digital brochure for their Dream Vacation.
We went over how to create a Smore and I showed them a couple tools, PicMonkey and ReciteThis, to add a little pizzazz to their project.
A few of them also decided to add their own special touches.  
This group created a beautiful Animoto about Australia to embed within their Smore.  
It is also so fun seeing the little details they are adding to their dream vacation only being 8 or 9 years old.  On this Smore above they said, 

We would travel by taxi because we can't drive. 
And my son Hagan included me in their trip, because they didn't think it would be safe to travel alone.  

There has been a lot of learning and modifying throughout the week with this project.  It has been challenging but also a lot of fun to collaborate with the third grade teachers to make this project a great one for our kids.  Next year we will have the experience and knowledge to make it even better.  

Next week they will finish their PBL projects and be ready to share them online and with others at Van Meter.  They are excited to share on Twitter as they look for people from their country to share and connect with.

We hope you will travel with them on their "Dream Vacations" too.  

1 comment:

  1. Gosh hard to imagine they are only in 3rd grade when using all of this technology! In case anyone picked Indonesia for a vacation, my children's book 'Recipe & Craft Guide to Indonesia' has crafts/recipes has fun activities. I included 1 on my blog today: