Guest Post: Producing Engaging Lesson Plans via Social Media Trends by Albert Roberts

Hello readers! We have a special guest post by Albert Roberts that we thought you might like! Our students are always on social media, so why not use social media in the classroom for educational purposes?  Read on to find out how!

What are some of the ways in which we can make use of social media in the classroom? When used properly, social media can allow us to engage students with topical discussions, while getting a perspective on issues like bias and how to use different sources. One way in which we might try to use social media in productive ways for lesson planning is to look at social media trending tools that allow you to put together a lot of different responses to a subject.

Perhaps the main challenge for using social media with Middle Schoolers and other age ranges is that they’re usually already familiar with social networks, but don’t always know how to use them as part of their assignments; there’s often just too much content to sift through. Which makes social trending sites like socialmention.com so useful, as they provide a search engine where you can bring together all the times that keywords are mentioned on different social networks.

For example, run a search on World War II, and you get Twitter messages linking to recent news stories about memorials and veterans; you can also find Pinterest links to World War II books, and Twitter and other social network links to photographs. You can take a similar approach to searches on Barack Obama, or on controversial debates (although you may want to be careful not to end up with offensive material). What you have, then, is a lot of content that can be filtered and turned into examples that can be shown to students.

Bringing all the content you can find on social media together into something tangible and relevant can engage students. Social network trend searches can make older subjects more relevant, or can put current debates into a real-world context; this kind of access to debates can then be combined with other uses of social media for students, from carrying out Twitter polls to writing blogs and posting class photos.

If you’re putting together lesson plans, selecting sources from a social media trend search can lead to a series of questions and projects for students. Some areas that you might focus on include:

Debating Bias – show students examples of how a topic they’re looking at in class is being debated – what are the key arguments that are coming out, and do they reinforce or contradict what they might already know?

Relevance – discuss with your students why some social media sources are more useful than others: why is a well-researched blog better than someone making their case on Twitter? Similarly, question how far we can trust commentators’ reliability, and what sources they use to back up their arguments.

At the same time, social media trend searches can be discussed more directly with students as a way for them to carry out work in their own time. Look at what results they would receive if they searched on keywords when in class, and why what they find could be seen as useful or not for assignments.

Social media trends can be an excellent way to identify relevant and topical debates beyond your usual sources, and can make students more aware of how they can improve their knowledge online. However, a big part of using these resources should be about instructing students on bias, and how far they can trust different sources.

Author Bio:  Albert Roberts is a teacher in the UK and loves thinking of ways to improve student engagement via social media and technology.  He would love to see more inspirational teachers signing up for English teacher jobs in London and improve engagement with this vital subject. He’s an advocate of sharing information amongst teacher communities.

 

 

Media Literacy: Persuasive Techniques in Advertising

Media Literacy Persuasive Techniques in AdvertisingAs per my previous post Media Literacy Fundamentals: Key Concepts,  I am outlining one of the lessons I prepared for my students.  In this lesson, students learn about how media has its own unique form to get your attention.  Students are exposed to the persuasive techniques used in advertising to reach a target audience.  Through an understanding of these techniques students start becoming aware of the messages found within media.  With this understanding, students critically think and question the world around them and the messages they are being bombarded with continuously.

Click on this link Media Literacy- Persuasive Techniques to access the lesson plan for this concept and the associated handouts.  Furthermore, here are the group activity sheets: Pathos Ethos and Logos.

Stay tuned for more lessons and activities for Media Literacy!

 

 

 

The Fundamentals of Media Literacy

Loriana previously posted about Concept Maps and their benefits for students.   But she also posted about how concept maps can inform our teaching.

In planning lessons for my students on a specific unit, I did just that! I created a concept map to help me visualize what the Language strand of Media Literacy entails.  At first I found it very overwhelming to address all the aspects of this strand.  My concept map has helped me streamline my thoughts and help me organize how I want to deliver the program.  Today, I am providing you my concept map.  In my next couple of posts, I will provide examples of classroom activities to address these key concepts for each heading.

MediaLiteracyKeyConcepts

Take this concept map, and utilize it for an introduction, or a summary of what Media Literacy is.  Use it for yourself or print it for your students.  You can use it as a poster as well!

Stay tuned for ideas on how you can address these key concepts in your media literacy lessons.

Awesome Art Lesson: Ink Transfer Onto Canvas

canvas ink transfer 2We are currently in the middle of an exciting art lesson. I’ve seen several pins on Pinterest showing the transfer of photographs onto canvas using a gel medium.  I thought that I could use this same concept to transfer text onto canvas as well.

A few things:

  • I painted the canvas since I did not want a plain white background
  • This art project takes several steps and a few lessons to complete (warn your students ahead of time that patience is key!)
  • The gel medium is permanent when dry (so don’t use it on your kitchen table like I did…though I did get 99% of it off)
  • Any image you transfer will become reversed (maybe not important with pictures, but super important with text)
  • When I went to Michael’s (i.e. the place I go to almost every day), there were so many different types of gel medium.  I’m not very knowledgeable about the differences between the various types, but I used this one and it worked well:

glazing mediumSupplies:

  • white paper
  • laser printer (I don’t believe this works on ink jet printers!)
  • Modge Podge
  • acrylic paint and paintbrushes
  • gel medium
  • canvas

On to the process!

Designing and printing the text:

1. I chose a quote that I wanted to display.  I went with 1 Corinthians 2:9.  I used Microsoft Publisher to turn this bible verse into subway art (see Lisa’s post on subway art if you are unsure).  I did this by inserting a new WordArt text for each different font.  I really recommend this process as it gives you a lot of control with respect to size, font, and positioning. Keep the font black.

2. Once the subway art was created, I selected all the WordArt texts and grouped them together to created one selection:

grouping word art3. When the ink transfers onto the canvas, the image will be reversed.  To keep the text correct and legible, I then flipped the image horizontally:

flip quote4. I then printed this on my laser printer.

Painting and ink transfer:

1. I painted the canvas with the acrylic paint.  I went with yellow, pink, bronze, and red. This process was really simple and just required blending the colours together. Here’s my canvas and printout right before I applied the gel medium:

canvas and print out 2. I then used paintbrush to apply a pretty thick coat of gel to the canvas.  Don’t skimp on the gel as you really want the ink to be absorbed well.  Flip your printout ink side down onto the gel. Press firmly and smooth out any wrinkles:

transfer process

3. Step away from the canvas! Don’t be like me and start poking at it (I ended up messing up a couple of letters because I was too curious).  Just let the ink slowly seep into the gel and dry.  I let it dry for about 8 hours.

4. The gel medium is permanent and water-proof, so now you want to use water to remove the white paper from the canvas.  I kept a bowl of water nearby and completely moistened the white paper. I then used my fingers to scrub and scrape the paper completely off the canvas:

wet paper

Prettying it up:

1. I could not get 100% of the white paper off of the canvas and this was really annoying me.  I brought my sample in to show my students and many of them liked the flecks of white throughout as it made it look “old” they said.  It still bothered me.  So, I took out the same acrylic paint I used at the beginning and used a dry brush technique (i.e. very small amounts of paint on the paintbrush, so that the paintbrush stays pretty dry.  This applied pigment onto the white paper flecks, but not enough paint to cover the black text).  This worked very well!

2. Once the paint touch ups were dry, I applied a thick coat of Modge Podge to seal everything and give it a nice sheen (I used the gloss finish):

apply modge podge3. I let it dry and ta-da!

completed canvasAt school, we have created and printed our subway art and painted our canvases.  We will be completing the gel phase next.  Once they are all done, I will share pictures with you all.  I have very talented and artistic students and their work is always beautiful!

Gr 4 Science Unit on Pulleys and Gears (Ontario Curriculum)

We have been hard at work once again.  Today’s post provides our latest science unit for Gr. 4 Science.  Our past units have had great success and have been inspired once more to keep creating complete units that address the Ontario Science Curriculum in a cross curricular approach.

Today’s unit addresses the Understanding Structures and Mechanisms: Pulleys and Gears.   With this unit you do not need to search for other resources.  It is a complete unit that will fully engage your students in a variety of ways.

 

Pulleys and Gears Badge

Here is an overview of the unit:

Learning centres: students work in small groups or individually to rotate between three centres over the course of the activity (four types of centre activities: technology, reading/writing activity, creative response, and a fun or hands-on activity);

Whole class lesson/discussions followed by either small group activities or whole class activity

Cross-curricular integration with other subject areas, including Language Arts (Reading, Writing, Oral Communication, Media Literacy), Drama, Physical Education, Art, and Health

A focus on Assessment For and As Learning through student self-assessments and group assessments, KWL charts, exit slips, anticipation guides, and project planning sheets;

Reading strategies addressed include making connections, determining important ideas, drawing conclusions, and cause-and-effect;

Differentiated Instruction is achieved through Learning Centres, group work and a variety of hands-on activities and labs

The entire unit, including lessons, assignments, assessments, printables, and centre activities comes to over 120 pages!

Need more?  Just click on this link: Demo of Gr 4 Pulleys and Gears

If you have not seen our other COMPLETE units that address the Ontario Science Curriculum, then use the links below to find further information:

Gr. 4/5 Pulleys, Gears, Forces & Structures

Gr. 4 Habitats and Communities

Gr. 4/5  Habitats and Communities & Human Organ Systems

Gr. 5 Human Organ Systems