Names: Meredith Robins, Jen Litts, Riley Andrews, Laura Smalling, Alice Real

Problem focus: Getting students to settle down and become engaged in the lesson. Then, once the lesson begins, keeping them engaged and motivated.

Possible solutions:
-More hands-on learning; moving away from deskwork/worksheets; friendly competition; : ex math manipulatives, science demos/experiments
-Personal Response System- connect with what teacher is doing; allows everyone to answer (put stickers on buttons for kindergarten)
-Document camera
-first person character interpretation

Cooperating teacher feedback:
(one entry per)

Jen Litts:
-More hands-on learning; moving away from deskwork/worksheets; friendly competition; : ex math manipulatives, science demos/experiments
My CT was very supportive of this idea. She said, "Absolutely but you need to plan out the management." She also said that it is important to not over-whelm
yourself by trying to do every subject every day with hands-on stuff. About competitive interactions, my CT said you need to make sure it is nonthreatening and
be sure to know which students can handle it.
-Personal Response System- connect with what teacher is doing; allows everyone to answer (put stickers on buttons for kindergarten):
My CT said that she feels it is a good technique t keep them engaged, but she feels it is difficult to set up.
-Document camera:
My CT said she thinks it is neat. She said she has used it for show-and-tell and math manipulatives but that it is inconvenient to arrange to use it.
-first person character interpretation:
My CT said she thinks that it is fun to use props if she has them. She felt that this is possibly the most engaging activity. she suggested that a teacher could dress up
a puppet or stuffed animal instead. However, she said to be sure that dressing up adds to the learning and is not about the teacher getting attention.
My CT also suggested telling students that she does not want them to raise their hands; that she will just call on them. Since they do not know when they will get called,
they will stay more engaged.

Feedback from Meredith Robins:
Hands on Learning:
My CT believes that hands on learning works very well with kindergarten students who may have trouble staying focused/enaged during a lesson.
She also believes it is important to allow students to explore manipulatives/science materials before requiring them to participate in a structured lesson.
The students should essentially "explore" materials before being required to learn vocabulary and concepts. However, she does not believe that every
lesson needs to hands on. This type of learning should be used when it is appropriate for the students' learning.

My CT loved the idea of using the Personal Response System! She said she used this during her student teaching and the lesson went quite well and the response of the
student's was very positive. She also thought the PRS would be great for students who are less confident and less willing to answer questions in class. The PRS allows
everyone to answer and encouraged the students to stay actively engaged. She feels that for the PRS to be age appropriate for younger students, stickers would need to
be used or at the very least there should only be two options to select.
Document Camera:
Overall, this was my CT's favorite method to engage students because she feels that teacher's are more likely to have this resource available and find it
easy to use. She likes using document camera's to project books so the whole class can see the text. She feels that the document camera reduces the
need for teachers to have "big books" which are often difficult to come by. She also loves the idea of using a document camera because the children can
come up to the front of the classroom and point out images or read text.

First Person Character Interpretation:
Personally, my CT said she would not feel comfortable using this method to engage students. However, she said she thought the idea could be effective if it meshed well
with the teacher's personaility and resources. My CT remembers Dr. McEachron dressing up during her social studies methods course and remembers being engaged in
the lesson.Therefore, she believes the idea can be useful but is not something she would try. She felt the costumes/props would be expensive and time consuming to collect.
She liked the idea but would not personally use it.

Laura Smalling Feedback from CT
-More hands-on learning; moving away from deskwork/worksheets; friendly competition; : ex math manipulatives, science demos/experiments
Wendy thought this was a very good solution. She added that it might be good to engage the students in group work and in cooperative learning.
She suggested that learning together can help students to be more involved in the lesson.

-Personal Response System- connect with what teacher is doing; allows everyone to answer (put stickers on buttons for kindergarten)
Wendy thought that this could be a useful tool and a good way to engage the kids. However, her one concern was that the technology might not be available
in the classroom, or that if it were available, that there would not necessarily be enough for each student to have their own response system.

-Document camera
Wendy thought that this would be a good way to engage the students. She said: "Using students at the doc. camera is a good tool because they all want the
chance to participate", and it would be motivating. However she warned that for students who are not up at the document camera, the lesson might not be
engaging and that students could easily become distracted or disinterested while waiting.

-first person character interpretation
Wendy was not as comfortable with this idea, but thought that it might still be effective in engaging the kids. However, she thought this was a very
content-specific approach, rather than a more overaching solution to the problem of keeping attention.

Alice Real- Feedback from CT
I had asked my CT about motivating students earlier in the semester and she talked about introducing "novelty" into the beginning of a lesson to hook students. For example, to start a science lesson on measuring with body parts (measuring like an Egyptian), she played the song "Walk Like an Egyptian".
Having a novel "hook" was her main advice for this project. Some other suggestions included showing movie or tv show snippets that relate to the lesson, using a power point, or using "Brain Pop" or other online site that aligns with the curriculum.

Riley Andrews- Feedback from CT
"I think several will work; however, I am partial to hands-on and in character."

Group Rationale:
A long-standing problem for classroom teachers is grabbing and then keeping the attention of students during a lesson. Our Design Team felt that this is a valid
problem which deserves solutions. After brain-storming, we developed several solutions to this issue, including the use of a document camera, personal response
system, hands-on learning, and first person character interpretation. After discussing these ideas with our cooperating teacher and sharing their responses, we found
that the approach most widely agreed upon as an effective solution was the use of hands-on learning activities in the classroom. By hands-on learning, we mean
engaging students in interactive lessons which require them to take an active role in their learning through the use of materials such as manipulatives, technology,
inquiry experiments, and more. This makes the learning more relevant to the students because they are actively engaging in the lesson rather than passively listening
to the teacher presenting material or merely filling out worksheets.

We have chosen to focus our hands-on learning ideas in the following ways: One is an inquiry-based science experiment using magnets in a kindergarten classroom.
Another uses a group hands-on approach to graphing information based on real-life observations. A third lesson re-enforces the use of descriptive language through
the hands-on observations of a living organism. Another engaging activity is having students research geographical information and then creating a travel brochure to
attract people to their location. A further idea for hands-on engagement is to generate photo-stories in groups which reflects the students’ own creativity in language arts.
A Hands-On Lesson About Magnets (By: Meredith Robins)
Walk into my kindergarten classroom and at first sight it might appear to be a chaotic environment. The children are working in small groups, exploring how magnets interact with a variety of materials, and the teacher is on the side merely guiding the learning of the students. This atmosphere in my classroom is one of hands-on learning where the students are actively involved in their education by exploring materials and creating their own experiences with magnets.
This interactive, hands-on lesson begins with a demonstration by the teacher who then lets the students try the activity out for themselves. To begin, a paper plate is filled with crushed up Total cereal and water. In two small groups, the teacher and teacher aide then shows the students how the magnet placed slightly above the cereal and water mixture can move the cereal! This demonstration is designed to engage the students and get them motivated to learn about magnets. The teacher then encourages each student to move the cereal around using only the magnets. The excitement of the children only heightens as they have the opportunity to use the magnet for themselves.
After students return to their seats, they are given a bag containing the following objects: index card, spoon, penny, scissors, screw, counting bear, rubber band, and paper clip. Each student uses their own magnet to explore the interaction between their magnet and each of the materials. The children are mesmerized by how they can pick up the screw with their magnet and move it in the air! They are unimpressed by how the index card just lays on the table when they try to pick it up with their magnet. It was appear that the teacher is not really instructing the students or that she is merely allowing the students to play with toys. However, this lesson was thoroughly prepared days prior to introducing magnets to the kindergarteners. By using hands-on learning, the children are given the chance to work at their own pace, ability level, and feel joy when learning about a variety of topics, including magnets. For example, one would see some children having a great time learning about how some objects are attracted by the magnet while others are not. Simultaneously, another child will create friction by rubbing to objects together and not even need the magnet to attract 2 objects. Other children will be amazed that the screw will stick to the scissors after rubbed on the magnet. The children in this kindergarten classroom are completely engaged in this lesson and there are few behavior problems. The hands-on nature of this activity keeps the students engaged in the lesson. They have no desire to misbehave because they are truly enjoying themselves! The teacher is moving around the classroom asking the student’s questions about their observations and guiding their learning. However, she is not introducing vocabulary. Instead, this kindergarten teacher is giving the students the opportunity to construct their own knowledge through genuine experiences with the magnets and materials.
After the students are given ample time to explore the interaction between the magnet and objects, they are asked to describe what happened when they were at their seats. Several children say they could move the scissors, paperclip, screw, and spoon without even touching them by attaching them to the magnet. They are quite impressed! After a discussion where the teacher introduces the terms attraction and nonattraction, the children now possess vocabulary to help them express what they already know! Through the hands-on activity the children firmly believe that some objects are attracted to the magnets while others are not.
To provide an opportunity for the students to apply their knowledge about magnet attraction and nonattraction, the students will explore designated areas in the classroom with their magnets and find out which things are attracted by the magnets and which are not. The students determine that the white board, legs of their chairs, and filing cabinet are attracted to the magnet. At the same time, several of the students are finding out that the door knob, bulletin boards, and sink are not attracted to their magnets. The room may appear loud and unorganized but what is really occurring is a hands-on, interactive, and extremely engaging lesson on magnets! The students love having the opportunity to explore classroom objects as they naturally appear in the room every day. Fancy materials become unnecessary in order to maintain the focus of the students. They are engaged in the lesson because they know they are learning but they are having a great time doing it!
Without hands-on learning I have no doubt this classroom might have appeared to be very quiet, organized, and completely run by the teacher. However, it is likely this classroom would not have contained students who were completely mesmerized by the magnets. If they had explored the magnets and objects that were and were not attracted they might have learned about magnets but they would not have truly experienced magnetic attraction and nonattraction. This kindergarten classroom was a lively environment where the students were focused, attentive, and enjoying themselves due to the hands-on nature of the lesson.

Creating Bar Graphs the Hands-On Way! By Jen Litts

Getting students engaged in a lesson and keeping them that way at any grade level can be difficult. They can become bored, distracted, etc and find outlets such as
talking and disrupting their classmates. This problem is even more evident when students are just beginning school in kindergarten because they lack the background
or social experience of being in school as a foundation for behavior. Therefore, interactive, hands-on learning is especially useful. One subject in which hands-on learning
is especially useful for kindergarteners is mathematics. The following is one such learning experience.

My students had just gotten back from their physical education class and were still excited from having run around for a while! After they all got a quick drink and were
settled, I told them to find a seat on the carpet with their Weekly Work Buddy, which is a partner they have for class projects that week. Once settled, I gave each pair
a tray, a chart, several red squares, and several blues squares. They liked having the materials in hand and some started making little designs and patterns with them.
I asked them to work with their partner to make a bar of blue squares and a bar of red squares on the chart. They asked if they had to use all of the squares and I told
them that they could use as many as they liked.

I then asked them to switch trays with the pair next to them so that they were looking at someone else’s bars. I asked if they could tell which bar had more squares
(the red or the blue) and how they could tell. Did they need to count? Most of the students noticed that they did not need to count at all! They excitedly told me that
they could tell just by looking at the bars; one was taller than the other. They then counted the squares with their partners to see if their idea about the taller bar having
more was correct.

We put those materials away, and I told my students that today we are going to make something as a group that can show us math answers without even counting! I
selected a student to join me in front of the group. As I pretended to be her partner, I counted with her how many pockets she was wearing. Then she did the same for
me. The students then worked with their partners to count how many pockets they were each wearing. They all thought it was very funny to count their own clothing,
and a few had mini-debates about what counted as a pocket and what did not! Once finished, they were dismissed to their tables where they found little pictures of
pockets; one for each of them to color. As they colored, my assistant and I went around the room asking them how many pockets they were wearing, and then wrote
the number of their pocket picture. They really enjoyed the coloring and had fun designing a unique pocket. It also helped them get a little creative energy out!
Once all students had their pockets numbered, the group returned to sitting in a circle on the floor around a large sheet of white paper. This paper was labeled across
the bottom from left to right as so: “0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6+.” I told the students that we would have a contest to see the number of pockets that were counted most often.
To make it more exciting, I called on students at random to reveal their pocket number. Each one got a piece of tape and then placed their pocket picture in a stacked
bar on the large sheet of white paper. As we moved through the numbers of pockets, the students were excited to see if their pocket’s group would win! (Number 4 won
by a landslide.) Once the chart was completed, we looked at our creation together. With their partners, the students decided which bar had the least pockets, most
pockets, and, if any, the same amount of pockets. The students conferred with one another and were excited to come up with their answers. When the partners had
their answers, we reviewed the partners’ answers as a group. Each pair got to use the class bar graph to explain their choices and they were allowed to disagree and
debate answers. In the end, we came to a consensus for each of the aforementioned groups.

This lesson could have been accomplished with worksheets and pencils. Students could have just counted and compared bars printed in black and white and maybe
compared answers with classmates. But using this hands-on approach made the activity meaningful to students. The bar graph they were examining was information
about them, which made it exciting while coloring and creating their own unique pocket picture made it more individualized to them personally. Were they part of the
biggest group, the smallest group, or somewhere in between? Doing this work in an interactive, hands-on way allowed to students to connect with the ideas and hopefully
carry them on into their future learning!

Travel Brochures Designed by Students (Riley Andrews)
When students are chatting and disruptive while the teacher is trying to present a lesson it is very frustrating. Many teachers try and think of ways to not only grab the
attention of their students, but also keep students' attention so they maximize their learning experiences. I think one of the most effective ways to grab and keep students'
attention is by involving them in hands-on learning experiences. Hands-on learning not only teaches children how to think on their own, but their learning experiences become
meaningful. My fifth grade class in James-City County would be doing a lot of geography, so I would have an easy time creating hands-on activities for my students.
Travel brochures are one such hands-on activity that teaches children about the geography, natural resources, and other data about a specific country or state.
In my class, pairs of students will be researching their own state, so that states are not researched by more than one pair.
Students will have many resources available
to them including atlases, geography books, almanacs, the Internet, and manufactured travel brochures to model. The students' assignment will require them to research
facts like population, natural resources, and the major economic export. Students will then take this kind of information and create a travel brochure that would entice people
to visit their state. The travel brochures will include exciting places to visit and any fun trivia or facts that will attract people. The kinds of information students will be required
to research as background information will make them use all of the resources available to them, which will maximize the amount of knowledge students are exposed to. As
pairs break off and find their own place to work, it may look a bit chaotic with students spread all over the room, but it is the kind of environment students can feel comfortable
in and ready to learn in. As students start to gather notes of information about their states they will be thinking creatively about what illustrations and catchy titles they want
to add to their travel brochure. Creativity is often an aspect of learning that gets left out in school today, so I would be sure to let students proceed with their own creative ideas.
Construction paper, scissors, markers, and glitter would be the kinds of materials available to students so they could create their brochures in any way they wish. Technology
would also be an important part of this particular assignment because the Internet would allow students to research more up to date information. The travel brochures will be
an assignment that students not only learn from, but also enjoy because they will be actively seeking out information they find interesting, and creating something all their own.
The hands-on nature of the assignment will keep students' attention for several days because they will keep finding interesting things to add to their brochures.

Investigating Worms!
A Hands-on Integrated Science and Writing Activity for 3rd grade

Laura Smalling
At first glance, a visitor to my classroom might be very confused by this lesson. Picture it – clusters of children crowded around the center of their
tables, talking loudly (with the occasional scream or squeal!) and focused on an unknown object at the center of their circle. It would appear to be very
chaotic and out of control, especially to a person who prefers students silent and seated during a lesson. Actually, this is the picture of students who are
deeply engaged in and attentive towards a lesson. How can that be? Rather than teach a passive writing lesson in which students stare at the chalkboard
as the teacher discusses parts of speech or proper sentence structure, this lesson allows students to take an active role in the lesson. The writing portion of
this lesson deals with making a record of observations and using descriptive language. Rather than coming up with a random list of descriptive words, the
students are charged with the task of describing the way something smells, looks, and feels. To truly engage the students, the teacher brings in an
unexpected object for them to observe – live worms. What better way to keep even the most unruly students interested than provide a hands-on experience?
Captivated by the rare chance to study a living creature up close in the classroom, the students will have little reason or chance to misbehave.
To initially draw students into the lesson, the teacher will make use of the document camera. Placing the worm under the document camera,
the teacher will draw students’ attention to the worm by zooming in to observe it very closely and involving the class in a brief discussion of a few of the
worm’s features. Then, the teacher will provide a plate of worms to each table. Students will get the chance to hold the worms, smell the worms, and look at
them up close and personal in order to make observations about the worms. In addition to being a great writing lesson on using descriptive language to make
an accurate description of the worm, this lesson also involves science in that it studies a living creature and allows students to engage in parts of the
scientific process by making observations. If you are not afraid to allow students to be a little noisy, get up out of their seats, and get their hands a little
messy, than this lesson will be a very meaningful way to teach students how to make observations; even the most unruly students will have a hard time
getting off-task with such an engaging lesson.

5th Grade Photo Story Autobiographies by Alice Real
Writing an autobiography is a common assignment in many elementary school classrooms. Students might be instructed to take out their lined notebook paper, write a draft, revise, edit, and publish a finished copy. Perhaps the stories will be posted on the classroom wall, reprinted in a class newsletter, or be presented in front of classmates. Writing, by nature, is a hands-on activity as students apply their knowledge of vocabulary, sentence structure, and style to express themselves, and autobiographies go one step further towards making the learning child-centered and engaging. Students know more about themselves than any other subject and should eagerly take on the assignment. The challenge will be for them to know their audience and present themselves in such a way that will capture the attention of their classmates.

This is where Photo Story comes in. Imagine a 5th grade classroom with the typical autobiography assignment. Students are instructed on a Monday to pinpoint one special memory and write with as much detail and descriptive language as possible. Only after they have finished the writing process will they be allowed to move on to the next part of the project. This will involve illustrating their stories or bringing in family photos that correspond with their text. Once visual elements are collected, the project could be over, perhaps by that Friday. However, in the computer lab the following week, students are instead guided through the basic components of creating a simple presentation using Photo Story 3 for Windows. They use the available scanners to create digital images of their handwritten stories and personal illustrations or photos. These images are then integrated into a Photo Story. Students record themselves reading their stories aloud and place the audio file into the presentation. They also add special transitions between images and add characteristic background music. On the Friday of the second week, the class holds “movie” day. Popcorn is passed around, the lights are dimmed, and the Photo Stories are enjoyed by all.

While this project could have been completed without the technology component, the multimedia aspects of Photo Story allow for a more well-rounded presentation. Students have ample opportunities to be creative and really put themselves into the project, beyond the writing assignment. At the same time, incorporating Photo Story presentations reinforces good writing technique because the writing is the substance of the presentation. Without a good story to begin with, the special effects created by the computer will add little.