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TeachNet NYC  |  Lesson Plans  |  Teachnet

Travel Through Time with a Family Member and Me

Project URLhttp://teachersnetwork.org/teachnet-lab/donovan/travel/overview.htm 

How it works:
This project enables students to create an electronic history book that can be burned on a CD, uploaded to the Web, or remain on a hard drive for other students to enjoy. Language arts, social studies, and technology skills are incorporated in order for students to work in "media literacy." The lessons include interviewing a family member, finding out about four significant events in that person's life, writing a narrative account, creating a timeline, and packaging it in a slide presentation.

Standards addressed:  
The students use general writing skills as well as listening and speaking strategies by creating meaningful interview questions, conducting an interview session, and editing the results into a narrative account. By creating a timeline, students learn how to chronologically set up a historical map while using technology in new ways. They use a variety of strategies to edit and publish written work (e.g., editing for grammar, punctuation, capitalization, and spelling; proofreading and editing for clarity, word choice, and language usage; and using a word processor or other technology to publish written work). They organize and display data using tables; and identify and use key concepts such as chronology, causality, change, conflict, and complexity to explain, analyze, and show connections among patterns of historical change and continuity.

Materials used:
Required materials include a computer with Internet connection, a scanner, and a word processing and slide presentation program, such as PowerPoint or HyperStudio.

The students:
The students are middle school students in sixth, seventh and eighth grades. This project can be used in language arts, social studies, and any other curriculum area in conjunction with technology. It can also be adapted for elementary and high school. Once students have completed the preliminary writing stages and are ready to input their information onto the computer, their ability may vary as far as their keyboarding skills. More time may be needed in order to complete the specific tasks that are a part of the project. It is advisable to plan for additional computer lab time.

Overall value:
Most of the students have not previously combined so many elements or parts into one presentation. Travel Through Time with a Family Member and Me gives them the opportunity to work constructively and see how a project can be broken down into smaller pieces and combined to create a final presentation. Once the students complete this hands-on long-term project, they can creatively plan other projects expanding on the use of technology. For example, the next project may utilize video in the slide presentation. 

After the students interview a family member and you determine the time period in question, you can extend the lesson by having them ask their subjects if they were affected by an important historical event that occurred during that period. Find books that list events chronologically and look at different timelines on the Internet, e.g., the Civil Rights Movement, the Civil War, and World War II. Explore how  these events overlap with some of the students' relatives.


About the teacher:
Robin Donovan is in her fourth year of teaching at P.S. 50 in Jamaica, New York. Prior to entering the teaching profession, Robin worked in advertising. She has a B.A. in Fine Art from Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, California, a B.F.A. in Advertising Design from the Art Center College of Design, and she completed her Masters in Elementary Education at Queens College, CUNY in 2004. In 2005 she became certified to teach Visual Arts, K-12.


Subject Areas:                           
Social Studies

Grade Levels: 




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