Lora Rivas, 8th grade Language Arts Teacher
Harriett Eddy Middle School, Elk Grove USD
Keeping students engaged is one of the biggest challenges I face each day as an 8th grade teacher. Yet, my students in the summer learning program offered by THINK Together, had fun while taking part in lessons that underscored grade-level standards. No one was bored! Not even me! In fact, my students were so engaged that I had trouble pulling them away from assignments to move onto other tasks.
Most important, the curriculum was fun for students. The Walk Through Time curriculum, developed by THINK Together, integrated Language Arts, history, and pop culture spanning the 1920s through the 1980s. Elk Grove USD teachers determined the grade-level standards that would be the focus of the four-week program. Then, using a multimedia tool new to us (but used by THINK Together), called Glogster, we created lessons that integrated the priority standards with the theme.
Each day, students received 50 minutes of classroom instruction from a credentialed teacher and took part in hands-on learning activities and field trips – tied to theme - led by THINK Together staff. Several times per week, students met in “clubs” organized around music, film and fashion. During “club” time, they researched songs, musical groups, fashions, fashion designers, films, and producers/directors from their favorite decade, examining the lyrics, learning about the leading performers of the period, analyzing fashion trends, film themes – the pop culture icons of that decade.
All of the writing, reading and research pertaining to each student’s favorite decade culminated with the development of a Glog – an online multimedia poster. My students loved this activity! The Glogs contained music clips, photos from the period, imbedded video, and data. In addition, every poster included short narratives on at least one film maker, fashion designer and/or musician/musical group that was iconic during that decade.
I can’t wait for next summer and the exciting program that THINK Together and Elk Grove USD will provide our community.