Last year I blogged about a new book – The Global Ocean. This past month we were lucky to have a virtual visit with the author, Rochelle Strauss. Rochelle gave students context on the importance of her book and read passages in order to support students in understanding the need for immediate actions for change. Students had the opportunity to ask questions and learn more about how the actions of each of us can have a significant impact on the environment, and ultimately our world. There we a number of students who had questions and based on our visit, one student said that he was inspired to think about his passions and how he might use writing to share that with the world. It was a great visit and our learning didn’t stop there.
During our visit, students learned more about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and were eager to find out how that much garbage got into the oceans in the first place. Students researched about causes and also learned about the work being done to clean up the oceans. During our visit, we learned about the Turtle Extruder and one student was particularly interested in how people who fish might use different kinds of nets so as to be more responsible when fishing.
This term, students are furthering their knowledge of coding and are specifically learning to use Scratch. As part of our action to raise greater awareness, students were tasked with creating a story, PSA, or game in Scratch that they could share with others about what they learned. Some students were excited to remix an existing catch game, changing the sprites and adding additional text to share their learning. Other students were excited to use the program to create stories to inspire others to learn in an interactive way. Projects were due last week and yet there are still some students who are eagerly wanting to add more information to their projects, so their work is ongoing.
This entire experience reminded me of the importance of purposeful uses of technology. While we could have spent time learning about the different blocks in Scratch, I think this activity allowed students to learn how to use blocks in an authentic way. If they wanted their sprite to do something specifically, they learned about how they might use specific blocks to achieve the task. Students learned how to effectively use the blocks in their code because they had a purpose for learning how to use them. They were also able to share how they used the code to perform different tasks with others, allowing them to be “the experts” in the room.
Last year I found a great picture book that spoke to the urgency of protecting our oceans. Little did I know that a year later, students would have the opportunity to hear from the author, get inspired, and then share their learning with others in a creative way. What a great journey!