FEATURED PROJECT: CLASSROOM AT WINSTON PREPARATORY SCHOOL CREATES AN INTERACTIVE AUDIO POSTER TO REFLECT KINDNESS

Elisabeth Levine has been an educator for 18 years. She currently works at the Winston Preparatory School (WPS) a school for students with language-based learning challenges in grades 4-12.  As soon as WPS became a 1:1 school, Elisabeth saw new exciting ways to engage students in learning, expressing their thinking and collaborating with peers. 

“I first learned about Thinglink while reading the HyperDoc Handbook written by Lisa Highfill, Sarah Landis, and Kelly Hilton. Working as a literature teacher I really liked their idea of an interactive Book Bento Box,  which is an alternative way for students to express a response to literature that combines personal expression, visual arts, technology, creativity and hands-on compilation of the bento box contents.” 

Elisabeth realized that for a teacher, this approach would offer an alternative way to assess students’ comprehension. She tested the Book Bento approach with her classroom, and it was a success.

Image carousel: “One of us is lying”, a Book Bento project by Elisabeth Levine

Developing creativity and and self-expression using student’s actual voice 

Through a fellow educator, Teresa Ronco, Elisabeth was introduced to the book One Drop of Kindness by Jeff Kubiak

“World Kindness Day was coming up and I thought it would be nice to invite Jeff via Google Hangout into my classroom. Our literature book this year was Pay it Forward by Catherine Ryan Hyde and Jeff’s book seemed like a nice complement to our current reading.”

To get the classroom excited about the visit, Elisabeth decided to invite her students to reflect about kindness in a creative project. Her lesson plan included the following steps:

  1. Assign students to create their own digital kindness badges using Google Drawing 
  2. Students download each badge as PNG and upload each badge on a collaborative Google Slide  
  3. Take a photo of the book cover and insert onto Google Drawing
  4. Copy and Paste each badge on the book cover image on Google Drawing
  5. Download as PNG and upload on ThingLink
  6. Open ThingLink editor on one computer/tablet and ask students to take turns and record an audio note on their badge about what kindness means to them.

Tip: Instead of posting the badges on the poster, students can upload them on the individual tags that contains their audio recording.

Image: Students’ badges were used to decorate the cover of Kubiak’s book, and each of the badges was annotated with an icon in the shape of a drop. 

Summary and results: “Can we do another project like this?”

The project is a great example of how a teacher working with students with language-based learning challenges can use new technology to support creative collaboration and self-expression. In this case, Jeff Kubiak’s book One Drop of Kindness inspired Elisabeth and her students to:

  • Reflect on an abstract topic in a creative and personal way
  • Document student ideas using both their design skills (badges) and individual voices (audio notes)
  • Engage in discussion by listening to and talking about individual student responses
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