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Impact II: Projects & Lesson Plans: Museum in the Classroom

Museum in the Classroom

HOW I T WORKS
The focus of Museum in the Classroom is facilitating fourth-grade students’ strategy acquisition to become independent readers, writers, listeners, and researchers. Using balanced literacy methodology along with multi-media sources, the students, over a period of ten weeks, explore the Eastern Woodland Indian culture and display their results for parents, peers, teachers, and administrators as a ‘museum in the classroom.’ Teachers conducting this unit will be meeting the NYC curriculum and standards for literacy, social studies, and art. Activities in balanced literacy include read-alouds, guide  reading, and shared and independent reading and writing. Research will involve Internet projects, a library visit, a museum visit, listening to and being storytellers, making a life-sized canoe from rolled-up news-papers, recreating artifacts, and home assignments on Funbrain.com.  Each day, the children work at their tables or at the computers in heterogeneous groups of four, except when the teacher calls together a guided reading group of six. All new concepts begin with a modeled mini-lesson lasting ten to fifteen minutes. For example, paraphrasing on index cards is taught and modeled before children practice independently. Most students have some experience searching for information on the Internet, but the teachers meet with groups to introduce Internet rules and search engines. The teacher shows children how to get to Yahooligans! and discusses the category system. Using chart paper, he/she demonstrates the idea of going from a broad to a narrow category and eventually getting closer to the subject of research. The teacher might also decide to demonstrate this to the whole class, depending on the students’ needs. Small-group work allows children who already have technical competence to help those who do not. 

THE STUDENTS
The students who participate in this program are approximately 30 academically and economically diverse students identified as a gifted class. The school is multi-cultural with over 35 different nationalities, and this class tends to be ethnically representative of the school as a whole. Many of the children have computers in their homes and have had experience with the Internet and word processing. 

THE STAFF
Angela O’Dowd was born in Ireland but attended college in New York. She has an M.S. in Education, has taught fourth grade for three years, and is currently working as a technology staff developer at the District 22 office. She has worked for two years with AUSSIE (Australia, United States, Services In Education) consultants and participated in a national teacher training certificate program for leadership in Internet and video instruction. 

WHAT YOU NEED
At least two Internet-ready computers in the classroom (and access to others) are needed. The program also requires an overhead projector with transparencies, a digital camera, printing paper, photocopying costs or facilities, and selected books/magazines. 

OVERALL VALUE
The best feature of Museum in the Classroom is the way it integrates good teaching methodology with standards and curriculum. Teachers sometime feel that they are being pulled in too many different directions when educators emphasize tests and various requirements. This program is open-ended enough to accommodate various classroom situations. 

 

View the Curriculum Unit/Dissemination Packet


CURRICULUM AREAS

Language Arts
Social Studies
Technology

GRADES
Grade 4

MORE INFORMATION

Angela O’Dowd
PS 217
1100 Newkirk Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11230
angodowd@hotmail.com
Principal: 
Mary Teatum

IMPACT II Catalog 2001-2002

 

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