|Let's Meet the Presidents
|This project incorporates Internet use, American history, and hand-made puppets, used to create student iMovies. First,
children research the topic of an American president. They were encouraged to choose a president they had never heard of before, or one they wanted to learn more about. Second,
they worked cooperatively in groups on writing a report and a script of the movie they would be making. Third, students made puppets out of clay and felt. Last, the children performed
their skits and it was videotaped to create a movie, which was showcased in the school art gallery for all to enjoy.
by a Student
Social Studies, Special Education, Technology, Arts
(1) Gain more knowledge about our American Presidents (besides Lincoln and Washington); (2) Encourage cooperative learning among students; (3) Learn sculpture skills; (4) Understand
Students viewed specific web sites for children about our American presidents. These sites provided students with biographical information as well as photos and/or portraits of the presidents.
iMac computers with Internet access; LCD projector; digital camera; digital video camera; iMovie software; classroom printer.
Students will gather and organize information about an important accomplishment of an important individual from American history. Students will read, speak, write and listen
for information and understanding. Students will engage in the processes that constitute creation and performance in the arts. Students wll create art works in a variety of media, such
as sculpture and puppet-making.
Learning was measured in several ways. Students had to listen to one another and positively help each other with their scripts. Their written report and script was proof of what they learned.
The movie was the culminating activity that allowed everything to come together.
This class is a special education class of 12 students with a mix of disabilities. Ability levels varied, but for the most part, web sites for children had to be carefully chosen, as the reading
level of most adult web sites would prove too challenging. Stronger readers were grouped with weaker readers, and writing tasks were shared. Most students made their own puppets.
Regular modeling clay was used to make the puppets, however, since I finished this project, I have substituted the clay with celluclay, a form of papier mache, which works much better. The clay
wound up being much too heavy.
I work with a mixed assortment of children with disabilties. This particular class had many socially inept children, as well as inhibited children. Puppets are a great medium for allowing children
who don't normally talk to come out of their shell. This unit could be adapted to any class, as children love puppets--and ones that are made themselves hold more meaning.
Bruce Wilson is a fourth/fifth grade
special education teacher at P.S. 84 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. He has a M.S. from Hunter College in Special Education( learning disabilities). He enjoys using different forms
of technology in the classroom with his students. He spends his spare time making digital movies of his travels around the world.