How it works:
Created for a third-grade class as part of a "Communities Around
the World" theme, Connecting to China uses the
Internet to research, explore, and bring life to concepts, places, and
ideas in a way that a textbook cannot. In one activity, student
locate information on the giant panda, meet and watch Mei Xian and
Tian Tian through the Smithsonian National Zoo's PandaCam, and then
summarize all they have learned by drawing a picture and writing a
paragraph using a software program such as Kid Pix.
Students know the location of places and geographic features, gather
and use information for research purposes, determine what characters
are like by what they say or do and by how the author or illustrator
portrays them, and write compositions that describe and explain
familiar objects, events, and experiences.
Required materials include four Internet-ready computers, a
scanner (used to include student samples), and KidPix software.
Connecting to China was created for a third-grade class
consisting of students varying in ability. Activities can be modified
to suit a variety of needs--whole group instruction, independent work,
or cooperative learning.
Since many third graders struggle with the concepts they are expected
to learn, it is a challenge to find new ways to bring the
curriculum to life. The Internet is a powerful tool for not just
telling, but showing students what they have learned. This program helps
students to gain a deeper knowledge of the world around them. It
is also important for students to realize that people all over the
world share common interests while having their own unique cultures.
Have students visit local travel agents to get brochures on China. Not
only will they find important information about the country, but the
accompanying photographs will be an added source of inspiration.
Another great project is for students to find pen pals from China. A
good starting place for this is www.epals.com.
About the teacher:
Marion Peluso is a third-grade teacher at P.S. 101 in Brooklyn,
York. Mrs. Peluso has been involved with Teachers Network for almost
three years now, and was a 2001-2002 recipient of an Impact II grant.