Digital Story: Assessment Instrument

Below you will find a link to my rubric for the digital story assignment. In my rubric, you will notice that I included 4 main areas that the students will be graded on: writing process, research (food facts), visuals, and audio recording. I focused on these areas because they highlight the standards that are my goals for the students to reach throughout this assignment. There are also three categories that the students will be graded under: Awesome, Almost There, and Needs Work. Each category has a certain amount of points assigned. I used these terms with my students because it helps to give them an understanding of why they are earning their grade. You will also notice that I have highlighted the Awesome! section of the rubric. I do this for my students because rubrics tend to be a newer tool for them in third grade. By highlighting the section that I want them to work in, it helps to motivate the students to do their best work! Lastly, in my rubric, I also defined words that I assumed would be unfamiliar for some students. This is done to help all students feel successful and that the goal of the assignment is obtainable.

Digital Story Storyboard- The Story of the Avocado

Below you will find a link to my storyboard. On each slide I have provided the image, or images, that will be displayed during the parts of the story. In addition to the image, I have shared the amount of time the image will be shown and the type of music that will be played. Also, I have explained how the images will transition from one to the next. The slides are in sequential order of how the story will be told.

The purpose of this digital story assignment is for the students to pick a healthy food that they enjoy and create a story of the journey that food took to get to their local grocery store. The digital story should include character(s)s and setting(s), as well as nutritional information about their food. Their digital story should include narration, as well as music and transitions between pictures. The story should show a student’s understanding of how and where their food is grown, how long the food may need to travel in order to reach their store, and the nutritional value of their food. Through the use of a digital story, the students are taking something as basic as a fruit or vegetable and getting to creatively turn it into a main character.

Digital Story Script- The Story of the Avocado

It is known that avocados have become one of the most popular foods. Between its delicious flavor and nutrient value, this green superfood has found its way on many plates across the world. However, do we know how the avocado travels from farm to table? Do we truly understand the nutritious value it adds to our dishes?

In Mexico there lives an avocado farmer named Sal. He works day and night caring for his acres and acres of avocado trees. Sal had spent many years caring for his avocado seeds in order to grow many beautiful trees. In fact, it takes at least 4 years for a tree to grow large enough to produce any avocados.

Knowing that the demand for the delicious, healthy fat is growing by the second, he decides that he needed to begin to ship the avocados around the world. In order to share this food with others, he begin to find crates and boxes to pack the avocados. He knew that the next trip would be to deliver hundreds of avocados to Cleveland, Ohio.

The journey from Mexico to Cleveland, Ohio is long! The avocados would be on the truck for at least 32 hours. In order to keep them fresh, Sal had to pick avocados that were not quite ripe. He worried that if they were too close to being ripe that they would spoil before reaching the Cleveland grocery stores. Finally, he placed the last avocado on the truck and the avocados’ journey begin.

Some days later, Nolan walked into his local grocery store in Cleveland. He knew that he wanted to make something special for dinner with his mom. As he walked through the produce aisle he could not help to notice all of the incredibly nutritious choices. However there was one food that specifically caught his eye: an avocado.

He then pondered not only what he could make with the avocado, but also what made an avocado healthy. Then, Nolan remembered! Avocados are packed with vitamins and minerals and are even known for being a HEALTHY fat! Once he remembered this, he knew he needed to put one in his cart. As Nolan picked one up and began to plan for his delicious guacamole he was soon to make, he noticed the sticker on the other side of the fruit. He read the word Mexico and immediately begin to wonder about the journey it took for the avocado to find its way to his grocery store…

Digital Storytelling Description

I will be working with my current 3rd grade students at Gesu School to develop a digital storytelling opportunity! My class is comprised of 25 students, 13 boys and 12 girls. Currently, I have 19 students learning in-person, while 6 of my students are learning remotely. The students in my class has a wide level of learning levels and I have 3 students who have Individualized Learning Plans.

The unit of study that we are working with is our Social Studies and Science unit on Nutrition. Our focus within this unit is discovering where our healthy foods are from and how they travel to our local grocery stores. The students will be creating their digital story, in the form of an advertisement, about how the food travelled from where it was grown to the local grocery stores. The students will also need to understand what makes their food healthy and be able to share the nutrients that make up their food in the advertisement. The students will use either our recording studio and equipment in the school or iMovie. My first thought was to use Flipgrid, because teacher’s can review the videos before they are published. However, the ability to import pictures is not a part of the Flipgrid capability.

Throughout the unit the students will be working to master these Common Core standards:

  1. SL.3.5: Create engaging audio recordings of stories or poems that demonstrate fluid reading at an understandable pace, add visual displays when appropriate to emphasize or enhance certain facts or details.
  2. W.3.5.: With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, and editing.
  3. W.3.6.: With guidance and support from adults, use technology to produce and publish writing (using keyboarding skills) as well as to interact and collaborate with others.

Additionally, my students will be assessed on…

  1. Their knowledge of nutrients in food.
  2. Their understanding of how food is grown, how food is delivered to our local grocery store, and who helps to produce the foods we need.

These Common Core Standards are ones that encourage the students to charge forward with digital storytelling. They allow for the students to recognize this assignment as a process. It is important for third graders, as well as other students, to learn that writing and storytelling takes time, effort, and energy.

Gaming Post #4

During my explorations of both Ants on a Slant and No Alien Left Behind, I have found that the use of simulations can become valuable learning tools for students. While the aspects of the simulation may not be as “flashy” and eye-catching as other games, they focus on a certain skill and help the learners to advance. The focus of both simulations that I explored were concepts that are traditionally challenging for students: force and motion and division with remainders. However, through the use of these simulations the students would be able to find success in their understanding in the concepts.

I also found that these simulations would provide students with a pleasantly frustrating situation. This is because the students would be navigating through their understanding of the concept while also exploring the different options of the simulation. For example, in Ants on a Slant, the students would be tasked to not only pick the steepness of the slant the ants need to climb, but also the object they need to push and the amount of ants it would take to reach the top. For some students navigating all of these obstacles could be challenging, yet doable. In No Alien Left Behind the students would have the opportunity to pick their amount of aliens, while also determine the size of the buses. These opportunities for change could allow the students to find problems that they may deem as challenging, however by learning to solve them can find success.

Overall, I find that these simulations would be extremely beneficial in the classroom. I can see how these would benefit my students’ ability to learn and grow through different subject areas. I look forward to exploring more simulations and games to use with my class!

Gaming Post #3

While continuing to explore Gizmos, I found the simulation No Alien Left Behind. The focus of this activity is to provide students with a visual representation of division with and without remainders. This can be a challenging concept for students to master so I was quite pleased when I found it! In this simulation the student can choose how many aliens there are and then determine how many buses will be necessary in order to transport them to their field trip.

The picture above shows how the simulation begins. It starts with 6 aliens and with each bus being able to hold 3 aliens at a time. The students then drag the buses over the aliens to see how many will fit. When either all of the aliens are in a bus, or there are aliens remaining, you can send them on their field trip. As you can see at the bottom of the picture, there are guiding sentences to help the students navigate through the simulation. However, you can change that part of the activity from being words to a division equation. I found that this was a helpful feature, because some students need to read the step by step instructions currently presented, while other students would benefit from seeing the equation.

The picture above models what it looks like when the buses are placed over the aliens, as well as when there is an equation listed rather than the text. Once you finish placing the buses over the aliens, the equation is solved, as seen above.

Overall, I feel that this simulation is a helpful tool to model the instruction of division, with and without remainders. I think that the students would benefit from working on this both independently and during whole class instruction. I enjoyed that there were opportunities for customization through the students being able to pick how many aliens there could be, as well as how big the buses would be. This allows for students to either challenge themselves with harder problems, or become confident with the operation through using lower numbers.

Gaming Post #2

As I continue to work with the simulation, Ants on a Slant, I develop more of an understanding of exactly what type of simulation it is. Based on the reading from Gee, I believe that Ants on a Slant is a perfect example of a sandbox simulation. As the students interact with the game they are tasked with having an object be pushed up a log by an ant(s). Below is a picture of how the simulation starts. In order begin moving the object, in this case the blueberry, up the stick the player needs to decide how many ants they believe it would take. If the player decides on an amount of ants that would not successfully move the blueberry they are able to simply add more. This simulation does not make an error sounds or show messages on the screen that discourage the player from continuing, providing a sandbox style simulation.

I also believe that Ants on a Slant provide the players to see these skills as strategies. According to Gee (2007), “People learn and practice skills best when they see a set of related skills as a strategy to accomplish goals they want to accomplish” (40). I see Ants on a Slant as being exactly this. Students are able to navigate through the simulation to develop a deeper understanding on inclined planes, force, and friction. I think students would be able to use this game to help them navigate through real-life applications of these skills.