First Graders Showcase their Favorite Places in Dearborn

by | Jun 3, 2022 | Transforming Education, Transforming Learning | 0 comments

Mrs. Emily Press, first grade teacher at DuVall.

Our Partnership with Columbiaville

Back in late fall, a Tech Coach from LakeVille, Michigan, reached out via social media in hopes of finding a first grade class to collaborate with. DuVall’s first graders and their teacher, Emily Press, stepped up. This is their story.

Mr. Chris Kenniburg, Supervisor of Networks, and Mr. Bob Harrison, secondary Tech Coach, enjoy learning from the students.

The initial request was for a class to participate in a project created by LeeAnn Raible’s first graders at Columbiaville Elementary in LakeVille. LakeVille is a district northwest of Lapeer, formed from three small villages (Otisville, Otter Lake and Columbiaville).  The district has one high school, one middle school, and one elementary school. Ms. Raible’s class worked with their Technology Coach, Mike Petty.

Parents listen in to the presentation on the project, brought to them by the first graders of Mrs. Press’ class.

Ms. Raible’s class sent us their project, which was a math problem-solving lesson that asked students to solve word addition and subtraction word problems using manipulatives in Google Slides. The students posed the word problems, then our students worked in groups to solve them. Finally, Ms. Raible’s class made videos explaining how to solve the word problems. Mrs. Press’ first graders enjoyed the process, especially the videos showing how the students solved their problems. In many cases, they solved the problems differently than our Columbiaville friends, and lively conversations ensued.

Finally, Mrs. Press’ students provided feedback to our Columbiaville friends through the comment feature of Google Slides, by providing stars and wishes. A star is something we liked or appreciated, and a wish was constructive feedback.

Principal Mrs. Mary Timpf learns about Google My Maps from first graders.

Our Project

Once we participated in the Columbiaville project, it was our turn to create something to share with them. Mrs. Press and I discussed some ideas, and decided to focus on social studies. We talked to the class about our idea and they were very excited!

We talked about where LakeVille is, and looked at some pictures of the school on the internet. We decided that we wanted to share with our Columbiaville friends information about our city, and all of the things it has to offer! We decided to create a custom map on Google My Maps, with information about our city.

First, students named all of the places they like to visit, or would like to visit, in Dearborn. Then we narrowed the places down to locations unique to our city. Finally, we chose six places, and made groups based on student interest. Second, students began to perform research on the internet, and used a note taker in Google Docs as a guide. They worked together to collect different facts to include in our map, and collaborated to find images to attach to their “pins.”

Once all the information was gathered, students worked together to input their information into Google My Maps. They customized their pin, changing the color and symbol associated with their chosen location, and added their facts and images. The final step in the process was to record a video of each of them sharing a personal experience about their location.

As a culmination of our project, Mrs. Press’ class hosted a community presentation, comprised of parents and school officials, to showcase their efforts and share the project with others. Students presented a slideshow that provided some background knowledge of the project and also explained the steps they took to complete it. Then, guests circulated the room while students proudly explained the map and their specific pin, and demonstrated how it all worked. There were even cookies!

Finally, we got to Zoom with our Columbiaville friends and ask each other questions about the projects, about our favorite pastimes, and other things we wanted to know about our new friends.

Our Zoom with Columbiaville.
Former principal-turned-Technology-Director, Mr. Bob Attee, enjoys learning from his former students.

The Boring Stuff

During the presentation, I explained the “boring stuff” to the parents. I showed them how, besides meeting social studies standards for first grade, our project met 11 MITECS, which stands for Michigan Integrated Technology Competencies for Students. These state standards focus on using technology as a catalyst for problem solving, collaboration, inquiry and digital responsibility. And a class of over twenty 6-7 year olds did just that. They used all of these soft skills to create a project that will, in turn, educate another class of 6-7 year olds. I’d say that is pretty phenomenal.

You can explore our project by clicking on this link.