The adventures of a fourth grade teacher in East Central Illinois.

Non-Digital Presentations

As much as I love integrating 21st century technologies into my classroom activities, there are times that I like to challenge my students to go outside their comfort zones and consider other ways that they can present information they have learned. If given the choice to use a digital resource, at least 20 of my 26 students will make a Google Slides presentation or type a report on Google Docs or make a movie. These aren’t always the most creative presentations, though, and I try to challenge my students to think outside the box; in this case, the computer screen.

That is why I declared the final product of their latest research projects to be non-digital presentations. The students were partnered up with classmates and assigned one of the thirteen original American colonies to research and describe to the class. As I always do, the students generated their own questions and then used these questions to guide their inquiry. I gave them two weeks to work with their partners during school, guaranteeing at least 30 minutes a day for the two weeks (ten days). This week was set aside for presentations.

I was curious to see what the students would make and enjoyed watching them research and then craft presentations over the past two weeks. The students used a collection of print resources from our school library and different electronic resources they found online to find answers to questions about the history of their colonies, including famous people, key events, important landmarks, and jobs. Then they made posters, dioramas, flip books, and even a quiz game to share what they had learned.

Next week we will dive into the events that led up to the American War for Independence or the Revolutionary War, including the French and Indian War, the “Intolerable” Acts, and the lack of representation in the English Parliament. Then we will spend a week or two on the Revolutionary War itself before taking a break from social studies and switching to a really fun science project I have planned.

How do you challenge others to go outside their comfort zones?

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