“And that’s the way it is.”

Screen shot 2011-06-03 at 11.51.49 AMAs we post our final student project of the year I am reminded of the iconic television broadcaster, Walter Cronkite, and his signature sign off phrase, “And that’s the way it is.” Nothing much more to say than that.

Here is another fabulous student project – this time from Mrs. Rielly’s 3rd grade LA Explore class. The topic is notable buildings and landmarks in Chicago and the project integrated with the 3rd grade unit on Chicago.

Students created two-sided post cards using Pixie2 where they gained more experience with importing images, citing images and writing engaging content.

Thanks and enjoy their work!

Click here to view the 3rd Grade LA Explore post card.

Native American Quotes Project

na_titleCherokee School third graders just finished up a fabulous Native American project where they were asked to choose a famous Native American quote, think deeply about it and then write a reflection.

Because this activity required higher order thinking skills, as opposed to an assignment where everyone sought the right answer, students had to think critically about their response. This was a bit more challenging for some students.

Teachers love this “21st century learning” activity because it is an “out of the box” exercise. They also remark about how they are amazed at the depth and scope of some of the student responses.

Click here to see and hear a project sample featuring three students from each home room including Michelle (3M), Luke (3B), Litsa (3B), Patrick (3K), Julia (3K), Sam (3K), Sarah (3M), Michael V. (3M), Sidney (3B), Frances (3Mu), Molly (3Mu) and Lillie (3Mu).

The Landforms Project

Picture 1Mrs. Mobile’s 4th grade students and I recently completed their Landforms Project using Pixie2. The activity included construction of a landform of the student’s choice combined with a writing element presented in an multimedia format.

It was great to see the “choice” that students were able to have in the process. Mrs. Mobile’s students were able to choose the landform they wanted to research and were able to choose how they would “voice” their report. Some decided to go the “news report” route, some created haikus, some wrote songs, and a few wrote their report from the point of view of the landform.

Click here to view a sample of Mrs. Mobile’s Landform Project. You can also go to Mrs. Mobile’s website, click on the Student Work page to see all the student presentations.

The Return of the “6 Word Story”


Over the summer I discovered a fanciful website called PicLits.com with the tagline Inspired Picture Writing. Piclits offers a wide assortment of fabulous photos designed to inspire student writers.

There are two methods for adding text to the pictures. One is “drag-and-drop” from a list of nouns, adjectives, adverbs, verbs and “universal” words and the other is Freestyle.

Mrs. Rielly and I designed an activity that combines Piclits with the “6 Word Story” structure of creative writing. Using a photo of their choice from the PicLits library of images as a prompt, students were challenged to create a complete thought, or story within the confines of six words.

Personally, I love this open-ended type of activity because we are not looking for a right answer but encouraging creative thinking where there is no exact “right” answer.

Many students created multiple “6 word stories” so I thought it would be fun to spotlight a few of their creations. I’m sure you will agree that the work they have created is outstanding. Visit the Explore page to view some work from our third and fourth graders.

Wright Place, Right Time

wright_coverFourth grade students in Mrs. Rielly’s Explore LA class recently finished up researching the work of Chicago architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Using Pixie2, their assignment was to create a two-sided post card about a Wright structure they chose to research.

Again using Pixie2, Mr. Koch created a simple website to publish their work. Click here or click on the image to view the Frank Lloyd Wright Post Card Project.

Using Digital Photography to Engage 4th Grade Math Students

IMG_2029Mrs. Hayes, Cherokee School fourth grade teacher, loves to get her students involved in their own learning. So it was no surprise to find out that the students in her math class were out and about taking photographs of all things symmetrical.

Together they picked their 26 favorites and Mr. Koch cropped them, picked some background music from Soundzabound and created a short Animoto video spotlighting their work. Click on the 4th Grade page to view the video.

Life ‘Round Here – Digital Storytelling Project

city_signCherokee School signed on to be a participating school in the Life ‘Round Here digital storytelling project. The purpose of the project is to have students from around the world create videos about their hometowns.

Once the all the videos are in (around May 15) students will be encouraged to visit the site and view videos from other schools.

Mrs. Rielly, her 4th Grade LA Explore students, and Mr. Koch collaborated to create “Home Is Home To Me” – a video based on a song Mr. Koch wrote and recorded. Students went home and captured photographs based on the lyrics of the song and the focus of the Life ‘Round Here project.

“Home Is Home To Me” – Video (2:02)

Show and Tell

It has been a busy Spring at Cherokee Elementary School with projects involving full classes, grade levels and individuals. Here is a snapshot of just some of the technology supported activities we have recently created.

I love working with students as they take their traditional poster projects and recreate them for a multimedia presentations.

It is a wonderful opportunity to rewrite the story for a wider audience and to be creative with the visual and audio elements.

Special thanks to Mrs. Hayes for sending this project my way and to Ryan for working so hard. Enjoy the video!

Elvis Presley – The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll (3:12) by Ryan B.

Third Grade RESPECT Project

Cherokee School third graders were asked to write about the character trait of respect. Three students from each homeroom class share their reflections in this video (5:40) which debuted at our Cherokee School Spirit Assembly on Friday, March 26.

The Snowman Book Report Project

Fourth grade students from Mrs. Mobile’s and Mrs. Moorhead’s class wrote book reports and created snowman posters to display elements of their reports. Then photos of the student along with their oral presentation were combined using Pixie2 – a fabulous multimedia tool new to Cherokee this year.

To view Mrs. Mobile’s snowman book reports, click here.

To view Mrs. Moorhead’s snowman book reports, click here.