The grant will provide a set of field glasses and cameras to Lesley’s 4th graders. Last week, the students embarked on a year-long field journaling project that will connect science, art, and writing. The video below will give you a window into the genre of field journaling – and the students’ first steps in becoming experts on the plants and animals native to their school yard and their region.
The students will also be connecting with the National Writing Project‘s Voices on the Gulf project, sharing their local bird and watershed stories with a national audience of environmentally concerned educators and classrooms. They are currently becoming experts on the “misunderstood crow,” and will be soon start tracking migratory birds out of the Gulf Coast.
The grant will allow Lesley’s Title 1 classroom to extend bird tracking and field journaling into the community. Parents, grandparents, and guardians will be able to check out field glasses and cameras over the weekend and contribute to West Coast observations on the impact of the BP oil spill.
Although the school is located in a high-poverty neighborhood, it’s also in the heart of the Sacramento flyway – rich in an array of local and migratory birds that nest within its confines. With field journals, field glasses, cameras and an Internet connection, this group of 4th graders will gain – and share – an understanding of global citizenship, becoming, I predict, future biologists and botanists on the way.
From the the PBL Camp wiki and the Twitter and Elluminate sessions, along with the Teachers Teaching Teachers weekly Skypecasts, and few Google searches, I’ve gleaned some great resources to help jump start classroom discussions, research, and projects on the oil spill:
From Free Technology for Teachers, see what the oil spill would look like it were in your backyard – If It Was My Home
Starting today, I’ll be putting some time and energy into the Voices on the Gulf project. I’ve learned never to say “no” to an invitation to work with Paul Allison, Chris Sloan, and Kevin Hodgson. Over the past five years, I’ve connected teachers in my district and region to a number of innovative, technology-enhanced NWP projects – always with the same result: students are empowered by opportunities to connect with students in other locations around issues they genuinely care about.
If you are looking for ways to connect with other teachers and classrooms around specific or general topics, issues, and questions surrounding the oil spill, I encourage you to join the Voices on the Gulf community. I’ll be working mainly with the Our Voices (K-6) channel for Voices on the Gulf, and I already know it will rock your students’ worlds because I’m teaming with Kevin Hodgson, whose expertise in teaching the new writing continues to inspire – and push (in a good way) – all who work with him.
And if you have additional oil spill resources to add to those I’ve posted, please jump in with a comment!