Sunday, September 13, 2015

Online Field Trip to the San Diego Zoo

If you haven't heard about Common Sense Media's Digital Citizenship Curriculum yet, then you must stop reading this post and head over there immediately... then of course you should come back to finish reading this post! Common Sense Media is a gold mine of resources for all Educators, Parents, Families and Kids!

Common Sense Media truly has captured the art of sharing and talking about common sense issues that are at the heart of building strong digital citizenship skills in our students.

Going Places Safely Lesson 

In a previous blog post, Need Help Teaching Digital Citizenship? I mentioned that our awesome district has created a district-wide scope and sequence map that utilizes Common Sense Media's Digital Citizenship Curriculum for all students. We are in the beginning stages of implementing this plan! In a conversation I had with one of my Kindergarten teachers, I came up with an idea to develop a resource to help teachers teach their required lesson from Unit 1: Going Places Safely. Based on Common Sense Media's lesson plan, I created a Google Slides presentation with the intention teachers can glance through the slides, view the lesson plan, print any resources they would like to use and then seamlessly teach the lesson with minimal time spend prepping for the lesson.

Model Lesson 

Click her to view Slides

Since I developed this idea during a conversation with one of my teachers, she volunteered her class to test out the lesson. Last week I had the opportunity to teach this exact lesson in her classroom. I had a blast teaching this lesson with her students!!! When teaching a room filled with Kindergartners, you have to be prepared for anything, energetic, engaging and intentionally switch things up every few minutes to keep students focused on your lesson.

We began this lesson sitting on their carpet. I introduced our lesson and had students immediately thinking about trips they had taken with their families. We quickly had students turn to their partner. This classroom uses "Mac" and "Cheese" to assign roles when working with partners to pair-share their ideas. These students haven't even been in school for a full month yet, but they have already grasped the routine for pair sharing! Such an important and essential routine necessary to promote collaborative conversations in the classroom.

Next, we took our imaginary field trip! We had students stand up to act out our actions together. It went a little something like this, "Going on a field trip! Gotta put on our jackets. We have to put on our backpacks and walk to the bus. Once we get to the bus, we have to climb up the stairs. Once up the stairs, we have to walk to our seat. We have to sit down. This bus sure is bumpy. (Students pretended to be experiencing a bumpy ride). Phew! We finally made it! Gotta stand up, walk off the bus and down the stairs. Once down the stairs we have to wait inline for our ticket! Now that we have our ticket, what do we need to remember to keep us safe?? Once there, we had students sit back down to discuss important rules to keep us safe.

Since today, we were going to be taking an online field trip, we watched a movie about Jeremiah's online neighborhood. The students were so excited about Jeremiah's experiences on the computer. After watching the short video, we discussed what we saw in the video and reviewed Jeremiah's three rules for going online. Our Kindergarten students used the App, QR Code Reader by Scan to scan a QR Code that was linked to the San Diego Zoo's website. (Created with and Google Docs)

Even with the best preparations completed before a technology lesson, there is always a risk that you might run into a few glitches... And this lesson was no exception! Unfortunately when this App was pushed out to her classroom's iPads, the App did not load correctly. Once we discovered this issue, we quickly switched to an unplanned plan B! We announced that our bus BROKE down, and that while it is being fixed, they could go explore another App on their iPad, Starfall FREE!

After a few problem solving fixes on the computer, I was able to get the QR Code App working for most of her iPads. We switched students from Starfall FREE onto the QR Code App, where once the students scanned the code, they immediately arrived at their field trip destination: The San Diego Zoo!

Online field trips are FUN! After exploring around at the San Diego Zoo, students were instructed to push home, and flip to show us Apples! This is a classroom management strategy to get students to quickly switch from one activity to the next when using their iPads. Since these cases have a circular hole on the back that allows you to see the Apple logo on the back, teachers tend to transition students with the words, "flip and show me Apples" or with other cases or older students, you could say "flip and lock" when you need students to focus on you or transition to the next activity. We had students travel back to the carpet to end our lesson with a class discussion about their field trip!