Statue of Liberty + Technology = Virtual Field Trip

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Mrs. Marino’s 4th grade class heads to NYC

Do you ever wish you could take your students and show them the real world?  Are you low on funds?  What teacher isn’t!  Last week while surfing through Pinterest I saw where @TechChef4U (follow her on Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter) had pinned a blog about virtual field trips.  What???  I was intrigued.  It just so happened that we had just written a narrative on “My Best Field Trip”.  Instantly, I thought why not take the students on a virtual field trip and then have them write a narrative about that.  We can compare the two narratives, make a ThinkLink, make a Popplet, etc.  Once again, this shows you the power of Twitter, Pinterest, etc.  If I were not searching through other teachers’ ideas, I would have never thought of this!  I digress.  This truly was one of my favorite lessons that I’ve taught in eight years.  I did not tell the kids that I would be taking them on a “trip”.  I wanted everything to be a surprise.  When they walked into my room that morning I told them to get their binder and a pencil and come sit in front of the SMART board.  I already had my MacBook and the Apple TV ready to go.  Beforehand, I printed out a sheet that had four empty squares on it for students to write down interesting facts that they learned.  Once we were settled, I told the kids that we were going to NYC.  Out of 65 kids only four students had ever traveled there, and one of those students was my son.  The kids never questioned me on how we were going.  They never said we can’t go to New York.  That is the way kids are, though.  Open-minded, carefree, excited for an adventure.  We started going through the slides.  There were movies, aerial views of different parts of The Statue of Linerty, and a ton of information on how the Lady Liberty was formed and why. The kids seriously were in awe.  They had a ton of great questions.  They wrote their little hearts out on those four squares trying to fill in as many facts as possible.  They were very engaged in the whole process.  By the time the field trip was over, it was time to switch classes.  When they came back to school the next day the students were still talking about the trip.  They talked about how they told their parents that they went to NYC at school yesterday.  They remembered facts and details.  At this point we started working on our Popplets individually.  The students turned their four squares of information into digital information to email to me.  They love Popplet because they can change the box sizes, colors, locations, etc.  They can personalize their work and save it easily.  They are getting really good at exporting the information to me on their own by this point in the school year.  Making a Popplet is quick, easy, fun, and effective.  Once all the Popplets were made we met together on my big rug.  Then we started working on a ThingLink about what liberty means to us.  I am always amazed at the students’ answers.  They come up with some very thought provoking ideas.  The great thing about ThingLink is that we can upload it to the school’s Facebook page.  So, even though it is something the class created as a whole at school, every parent can still view it that night.  The third day of our project consisted of writing our narrative about the actual field trip.  I was very surprised at how well students had retained the information.  They knew there were 146 steps leading up to the crown.  They knew that the foundation was made of granite and concrete.  I truly believe that because the activity was interactive, engaging, and involved technology that students were more excited…that they wanted to learn and be involved in the activity.  I love technology and everything that it allows me to do with my students.  The possibilities are endless.  I have been teaching for 8 years now, and this year I received the best Christmas present ever.  One of my students bought me a Statue of Liberty bookmark.  Now, that’s magical. I will keep it forever, and I will always remember the day that I took 65 4th graders to The Statue of Liberty.

CHECK OUT OUR THINGLINK …… http://www.thinglink.com/scene/469246669074989058

Virtual field trip link – http://www.nps.gov/stli/photosmultimedia/virtualtour.htm

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