Recently I heard of a great collaborative project between science teacher Jody Eisele and library media specialist Kristin Ruzicka at West Middle School. Jody’s 6th grade science students learned all about biomes and information literacy while researching elements to include in an online poster built with Glogster. Not only did the project result in an effective, paperless expression of student learning, it also highlighted a way to enrich your students’ research project through close collaboration with your library media specialist.
After a quick summary of Glogster, I’ll let Kristin explain how she and Jody worked to make this application of Glogster an effective one for Jody’s 6th grade science students.
In simple terms, Glogster is a web-based poster maker. Students can include pictures, video, animated images, text and links in their posters as they describe and analyze curricular topics. Click the poster below to see one biome ‘glog’ from Jody’s class:
Because students are able to include so many varieties of online media in one place, Glogster allows students to connect their ideas to resources beyond using text alone. Glogs might be used to analyze poetry, summarize research (as Jody’s classes have done), visualize data, describe relationships – all using the linking power of the web. In addition, Glogster has created an education-friendly portion of their website, edu.glogster.com, that allows any teacher to set up 50 free accounts for students (or, in Jody’s case, student groups).
Like traditional posters, ‘glogs’ are also only as effective as the investigation that students pursue as they go about creating their final product. Kristin and Jody worked closely to ensure that students engaged a series of questions as they learned relevant information and constructed their posters. Check out Kristin’s description below for some great tips on incorporating Glogster, an online classroom (Moodle), and collaboration with your library media specialist into your students’ next research project!
Guest blogger: Kristin Ruzicka (Kristin’s work can also be found on her WMS Library Blog)
In early January, Jody Eisele and I started brainstorming about a project she wanted to do to help her students learn about biomes. Since I had recently done a lesson about plagiarism and the importance of giving credit to sources in Sara Burkemper’s Social Studies class, we decided to structure the project to incorporate Science and Library Media standards into this project.
Jody expressed to me that she wanted her students to be able to create a product, but she wasn’t sure if another PowerPoint presentation or poster would be as interactive as she’d hoped. I’d heard about Glogster from some elementary librarians in our district, and even though I’d never used it before with kids, I immediately thought this might be a possibility for Jody’s project. We both created accounts with Glogster and began to familiarize ourselves with the features so that we could help students.
Jody’s classes came to the Library Media Center for 3 days to gather the information for their projects. Using websites that Jody had previously identified, I created a book on Moodle with links to these websites. This was helpful in cutting down the time it took for 6th graders to search for quality information. Jody and I had already created a graphic organizer where students could organize their information and cite the sources they used. Her students were able to utilize these resources effectively to research their assigned biome.
For the next week, Jody’s classes used the computer lab and library media center to work on their Glogs. The kids thought it was exciting to make their Glogs unique and informative. They experimented with different designs, and eventually produced Glogs that could be posted on their class Moodle for others in their class to see. Jody and I also developed questions based on the Science and Library EQs to encourage student reflection. These questions were posted on the Moodle in a forum.
Since all of the Glogs and Science Journal responses are in one place (the Moodle), this makes assessment much easier. Instead of carrying 100 Science Notebooks or posters home, Jody and I can utilize the checklist and rubric we created to make sure her students met the standards of the project.
I’ve enjoyed working with Jody on this project. I feel that her students enjoyed the process of discovery and creating something using a new type of technology. In our partnership, I feel that we gained more by collaborating and combining our strengths; we were also able to reflect on the process together to make the project better next time. By working together, we were able to see students learn and achieve success in a new, exciting way.