Tuesday, March 19, 2013

On The Road Again!

Wow. My posts are getting fewer and fewer... I really need to get better at this! Thank goodness I can still use the excuse that I am a first year teacher! :)

I am writing to share a little about the project my students have been working on. Most people who know me by now know about some of the details, however, for those of you wondering what exactly is going on, I thought I would do a quick share before I pull out tomorrow!

My students worked VERY hard this past week and a half to complete a project entitled, "Where in Kansas is Ms. Forster?" I was very demanding on this project, and not only was the workload something to really challenge them, they worked up until Spring Break, which is spectacular at the middle school level!

During the project, the students were expected to research and create 'The Ultimate 3 Day Kansas Road Trip.' So they weren't sending me all over the state, the students were asked to pick a specific region in Kansas (NW, SW, NC, SC, NE, or SE). They then narrowed their search down to 2-3 cities in that specific region. This was pretty tricky, as they had to watch distance and got some extra practice with scale!

From there, they had to find 5 attractions they would send me to. They had the following guidelines:
2 attractions had to be historical
1 attraction had to be about nature or sports
1 attraction had to be science or arts themed
1 attraction had to be a quirky or weird Kansas landmark.

I tried to keep it fairly loose, so the students had creative liberty. They loved this part of the project!

The thing I found to be most interesting was how they approached the research. My little troopers did not get to use computers for this project (due to a shortage of laptop carts). All research done was either completed using brochures I had collected from a local Kansas tourism center or completed at home. Boy, did they take this well! The movement actually proved to be beneficial in my classes with very kinestetic learners.

After completing the research, my students were asked to put the information into a 3 day itinerary and create a brochure. They had also researched facts about the Kansas ecosystem and included this in their brochure.

The final projects were amazing! It was hard, but I took them home that night, went through, and chose the 'best' brochure from each region based on the rubric given at the beginning of the project. The top six were then put to a vote. We even invited the staff to come in a vote! What fun!

The brochure that won got a very special award. Not only do they get bragging rights for the remainder of the year, I will be taking their trip, starting tomorrow! I plan to vlog the entire trip, take many pictures, and create a video for them to see! I will be visiting Topeka and Overland Park over the course of the next few days, learning everything I can!

Below are pictures of how things were laid out, etc. We hope you enjoy it as much as we have!

I will let you know how the trip goes when I return Saturday! Until  then!

Ms. Forster, Kansas Explorer

The top 6 brochures. Such a hard decision!!

Winning Groups Itinerary

We tried out a Media Center with this project. It was a great way to expand our knowledge base and involve the school staff! I made a Facebook Status asking for ideas and sent an email out to the school staff. Anytime a new suggestion was made for a neat place in Kansas, we wrote it down and posted it on the board.

We tried a new seating arrangement, and I loved it! The circle made it easy to float around and help, and the students loved that the resource center was in the middle, where they could reach it easily. The only rule was that one partner could be up at a time.

Our resource center. I sorted the brochures by region, so the students wouldn't have to dig through 200+ brochures to find one they could use. They did a good job keeping them sorted until the very end, when they got a little too hasty in putting things back...

Our very 'official' voting station. :)

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