Your community for active learning strategies
“Win a Free INTERACT Lesson”
“The Best Darned Ideas for using INTERACT in Your Classroom!!”
We want to hear your story and share it with the members of the Teacher’s Center. The most compelling implementation strategies will receive a free INTERACT E-book lesson of their choice.
Tell us your story much like you’d tell fellow teachers in the faculty room or “after hours.” Describe your class and what key experiences made the INTERACT lesson especially memorable to you and your students. How much time did you take to prepare and conduct the lesson? How did you customize it? What will you do different or the same next time?
Posting you story is easy. Just go to the Forum section, click the title “The Best Darned Ideas for using INTERACT in Your Classroom!!” and post your story in the “Reply to This” box below this announcement.
We also encourage members to frequently check out the forum post and make comments, in addition to taking advantage of this great offer to share your success with fellow Teacher’s Center members and possibly win a free INTERACT lesson. Good Luck!
WE HAVE A WINNER!
We are pleased to announce Kim Dickhut of Omaha, Nebraska as our June, 2012, winner in the “The Best Darned Ideas for using INTERACT in Your Classroom” contest. Kim will receive a free INTERACT E-book lesson of her choice. Last month, Kim told us how she has used CODE BLUE: A Simulation Covering Six Major Body Systems and Important Health Issues with talented and gifted 6th grade students. During the course of the simulation, students focus on nonfiction reading strategies, evaluate web sites, and hone their presentation skills. Kim upgrades the simulation by introducing current health issues and has students access the National Library of Medicine online. Each student creates a unique study guide and creates a digital presentation to prepare the class for their “medical exams.” An exam question might read, "Describe the path a peanut butter and jelly sandwich takes through the digestive system" to test on how well students know the parts of the digestive system. Once students pass their exam boards, they receive “white coats” just like real interns.
We look forward to hearing how other TC members are using INTERACT simulations in their classes. Submit your story on this forum. See the how below.
You make some great adaptations of the simulation in a variety of ways and you applied some sound instructional methodology blending textbook and other supplements and frequently quizzing students to monitor their understanding.
I also like how you had your students write their own versions of Greek myths. Though you describe doing this out of a necessity, I think it also gave your students an opportunity to apply what they previously learned into an authentic model using higher level thinking.
Its always hard to leave a grade level you've taught and enjoyed. Let us know how you do with DISCOVERY. Have you ever used it before? I have some experience with it so I'll be eager to hear what you do with your class.
WE HAVE A WINNER!
We are pleased to announce Tracy Withrow of Overland Park, Kansas is our April winner in the “The Best Darned Ideas for using INTERACT in Your Classroom” contest. In Tracy’s forum entry she told us of how she used the GREEKS unit with her 6th grade students. She divided her class into four city-states and included the Hellaspoints for activities. She used the INTERACT lessons as a base and then drew from the social studies text and other supplements to enhance the lesson. The class participated in several sections over a 5-week period. Tracy reported that “it was almost magic how the students responded. They were so motivated to work with their group and receive points that our behavioral issues decreased dramatically.” Students even gave up extra time to stay in PE to get back to the GREEKS lesson.
Tracy will be teaching 5th grade next year, so for her award, she has chosen INTERACT’s DISCOVERY unit. She is excited to use this unit, because as she noted, “simulations allow students to be active participants in history. They are able to truly learn what life was like, understand decisions that were made, and comprehend ideas that are all too often difficult to glean from a textbook.” She plans to introduce the simulation along with the other 5th grade teachers in each of their classrooms. During the summer, she hopes to find additional ways to integrate the other subject areas so that students can have an array of experiences in reading, math, and science. She plans to culminate the lesson with the school’s traditional Colonial Day Festival.
Nathan, thanks for your reply. It sounds like you've found some very creative ways to integrate the INTERACT GREEKS unit into your class procedure. We encourage others to let us know how you've found creative ways to use INTERACT simulations in your classroom. Please follow the simple guidelines at the top of this discussion an submit your ideas for "The Best Darned Ideas for using INTERACT in your Classroom."
I use Code Blue with my gifted students every year and it turns out to be their favorite unit of study. The students focus on nonfiction reading strategies, evaluating web sites, current health issues, and presentation skills. Instead of a presentation board the students create an electronic presentation. Each student has their own case to present rather than working in a group. I've added a few more health issues to make the content a bit more current. I also introduce the students to using the National Library of Medicine and using the videos to help them understand the body systems. Each student must create a unique study guide for the other students when learning about the body systems. Once the students pass their board exams, they receive "white coats" just like real interns. I also tie the study with the book Invisible Enemies by Jeanette Farrell. I have students who come back to visit and say that Code Blue was their favorite unit and that because of that study they are considering careers in medicine. It has been one of the best ways to challenge each of my students. It provides choice and rigor.
Code Blue is a great simulation that incorporates active and cooperative learning with authentic assessment. It sounds like you have enjoyed using the simulation and that your students have gained a lot. I like how you’ve incorporated technology with the electronic presentation you mention in your description and how you provide students with up-to-date issues as well as great resources for their research. Incorporating Invisible Enemies, chronicling how infectious diseases have changed the course of human history, also brings in non-fiction literature as a historical perspective. Having each student create the study guide for the other students does well to hold students individually accountable for the content they're learning.
Your description of how you conduct the lesson intrigues me and prompts some further questions: What grade level are your gifted students? Is this for a science class? How long have you conducted this simulation in your class? What are some of the more current health issues you explore in this simulation? What major modifications, if any, have you had to make on the simulation?
I have seen this used with 5th grade gifted students, but I use it with my 6th grade gifted students. The Human Body used to be a Science standard in my school. The standard was removed, but I continue to use it and give grades for Reading. Though I teach through Reading, I touch on all content areas. It is a way to meet with my students every single day and give grades. I've used this simulation for the last three years and each year I tweek it a bit. Last year I had a pre-med student create an Endocrine System study sheet as that was a part of the curriculum. The Endocrine System is hard to understand without a lot of prior knowledge, so I had planned to use it this year as a modeled piece. However, when the content was dropped from the 6th grade Science curriculum and due to the students I had this year, I chose not to use it. I'll have to see this year. Other current health issues I explored were juvenile obesity, bulimia, head injuries/concussions rather than incurred from falling off of a bike, and the MRSA virus. The modifications have been in the use of technology and connecting the content to standards based grading. I have moved away from group projects for the accountability piece, however, some years I can do more of that. I also require both a study guide and a model of each system and I require that students answer all of the questions in essay form for the board exam. For example, I use the following question from a former Science teacher of gifted students: "Describe the path a peanut butter and jelly sandwich takes through the digestive system." rather than just naming the parts of the digestive system. I have done this with the questions that were just "name the parts." I also require students to create a bibliography of resources.
This sounds great! You have really done some creative things with the unit to make it work for you and your classroom circumstances. Its also great to hear how student centered you've made the modifications with the study sheet and the individualized accountability component you've added.