Teacher Spotlight May 2014

From the May 2014 SMART Newsletter…
Kristen Larson Richmond Street Elementary School, El Segundo

During the month of March, students in Ms. Larson’s 4th grade class at Richmond Street Elementary School in El Segundo, CA created iMovie projects as reviews for their upcoming science exam.

Ms. Larson, who has had her iPad cart for two years, began using the iPads with her students as research tools, in addition to textbooks, for gathering information on topics that were being explored in class. “One of my goals is to encourage exposure to technology”, said Ms. Larson. “So many of my students were using technology in their everyday lives, and yet they weren’t using that knowledge here in class.”

The iPad project in Ms. Larson’s class involved clear guidelines that outlined the expectations for the students’ presentations. Students were tasked with using the Explain Everything whiteboarding application and iMovie to create their projects. They selected and researched one major topic from their science chapter and were responsible for re-teaching it to the class. The students worked in groups of 1-3, and they were expected to cover the information provided in their textbooks. Students were also encouraged to use their iPads to research their topics on the internet, however, anything covered that was discovered via internet research was considered above and beyond. Each group was required to create a 3-5 minute movie presentation on their topic.

Observing Ms. Larson guide her students as they researched, explored, collaborated, and created their presentations was a true privilege! Thank you so much, Ms. Larson!

After her own experience with creating an iMovie, Ms. Larson began encouraging her students to create movie presentations as demonstrations for their mastery of topics being studied in class. “Once I created my own iMovie, I felt more comfortable to have the students start displaying their understanding through applications and iMovie projects,” explained Ms. Larson.

The presentations were all very different, and extremely creative. “I would say that the majority of the videos were informative with a large amount of effort,” said Ms. Larson. “I think that this was a real chance for the students to get an opportunity to absorb the information in a different way, and present it so that it is not just reading out of a text book and producing notes. The students felt a responsibility and involvement with the material through creating these videos. It gave them a chance to explain what they learned in a way that made sense to them.”

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