Whoa! And just like that, another year is in the books at DuJardin School. There's so much to be proud of thanks to the incredible staff and students here. As we reflect upon the year and look forward to all to come, here's the top 19 of 2019 at DJ (in no particular order)!
Can't wait for 2020!
Every year, dozens of 5th graders sign up to be part of Tech Club. This extracurricular activity gives students opportunities to be leaders and engage with technology in exciting ways. They do everything from assisting in our primary classrooms and learning new tools, to developing digital citizenship lessons and practicing advanced design skills. They're pretty much rockstars. The things these 10 year olds are creating are INCREDIBLE. This is only the start for them. We can't wait to see what's to come in the future.
For the past two years, I've hosted the Golden Apple Awards for Excellence in Teaching (shoutout to the wonderful foundation) on WTTW, Channel 11. That's where I met, Eddie Garcia, who was part of the fabulous production team. As we spent time together, I was amazed at his attitude, insight, and experience. Given the student opportunities and skills at DuJardin to engage with media and technology, we both thought it would be neat to connect!
Fast forward about six months, Eddie and his colleague, Ricardo visited our Tech Club students. They shared about their experiences, gave advice and fielded many questions from our 5th graders. They offered tips for success in the media industry and life, stressing the importance of teamwork, dedication and passion. The kids sat there in pure awe as they watched the award-winning documentary produced by the two gentleman on WBNA star, Linnae Harper. Everything from the interviewing, camera footage, and editing was carefully woven together to generate a package that was captivating. Planning, scripting, editing, and producing are all tasks that our kids often practice with our DJ Weekly News: Student Produced Video Announcements (read more about them here).
Eddie and Ricardo said that they wished they had more opportunities to grow their media passion and technology skills when they were younger. It is so great that the kids were able to connect the work that they are doing now, in 5th grade, with a potential future career in the media industry!
Here's some of what the 5th graders had to say afterwards:
"Before I didn't really think about doing anything with media, but now I realize that I'm really interested in different kinds of media production and technology." - Aidan-
"Work hard and follow your dreams. You don't have to be an athlete to be involved in sports. Your passion and experience can come from other avenues, like sports media." - Kaylen-
"It was amazing to view the documentary and see all the effort put into the production of the piece. As an audience viewer, you don't really think about all the details that come together to make it awesome." - Ava-
Background to Begin
We needed a research booster for our 5th graders! Based on their needs, we created a few mini lessons to supplement the important research that is very much a part of 5th grade new learning and standards. There is most definitely a time and place for database instruction, but the teachers were more concerned about their ability to navigate Google effectively and efficiently for research purposes. Here's a little overview of our breakdown:
Day One: How the Internet Works, How Google Works, Using the Right Search Terms
Day Two: Evaluating Websites
Day Three: Review, Find & Cite
Some of the GREAT sources we drew from included:
An Interview with the Kids
Rewind to about two months ago, how were researching? What were doing?
Ab: We used to use full sentences which would take more time to get results on Google.
Aubrey: We would type multiple sentences into the Google search.
Megan: We wouldn't click into the website, we'd just click on the first search item on the list.
Can you share a little about the lessons in class?
Johnny: We were put into groups (based on MarioKart, of course) and we were tasked with certain search terms. We had to see which searches gave us the best information the fastest. Usually, the more specific the search, the more efficient it was!
Ava: The Google Search bar, when you type in things, the algorithm may not support your search and can give you the wrong answers, so you have to check.
Alex: If you type in the whole question, it will search every single word, making it hard to get what you're really Iooking for.
Nick: The search engines look for scammers that create fake websites.
Noah: We found this Wikipedia site that described corn as a dangerous vegetable.
Sophia: I was totally tricked by a fake website that looked real.
What did you take away? What do you do now?
Ajwa: We use specific and key words and no punctuation in Google searches.
Lukas: We evaluate sites and look for a credible one.
Rayan: You should look at the domain (.org or .gov) to determine if it's a safe site. Look at the author of the site and publication date. You can even include site:edu or site:gov in the actual Google search bar.
Sophia: Ctrl + F to find search terms easily on a website. This helps you narrow your research.
Megan: Don't be distracted my advertisements. Some websites are trying to have you click on them and/or buy stuff.
Giuliana: Websites can be tricky. Be careful!
Emilia: When you Google search, don't think that everything that shows up from a search is true. You can't just believe it automatically.
Lukas: If there are ads, it may not be a credible source.
Ava: Don't get fooled by Wikipedia... it's editable.
These 5th Graders blew us away with their enthusiasm, commitment to best practice, and new learning. They completely shifted the way they view researching- and for the better! Based on formative assessment and student reflection, they have really picked up on ways to refine their researching skills. We hope that this insight will be a part of their lives for decades to come!
Interview with Mrs. E & First Grade Student:
Mrs. E: Tell me about using Google Maps in class.
Student: First, we created a map with directions on how to get from DuJardin School to home. I needed to know my address, but I won't share it with strangers.
Mrs. E: Did you only create one map?
Student: No, we made two maps. The first one was the walking route. The second one was the driving route. The walking one had blue dots. The driving one was blue lines. Then, we compared the walking and driving routes. The driving one was awesome and shorter.
Mrs. E: What tech skills did you learn?
Student: We took a screenshot, clicked on links and typed in our addresses.
Mrs. E: Did you use Google Maps outside of the classroom?
Mrs. E: You did? What did you do?
Student: I told my mom I wanted to go to Target. So, I found my house on Google Maps and then followed the arrow to Target.
Mrs. E: How do you feel about that?
Mrs. E: You also used Google Earth, right? What's that?
Student: It is a tool where it can take you to other places.
Mrs. E: Like where?
Student: Like Florida, Mexico, France, India and more.
Mrs. E: Did you need to go an airplane?
Student: No. All you need is your Chromebook.
Mrs. E: What did you learn?
Student: We got to see how places look like. It was really fun!