MACUL Session: Thursday, 10:00 a.m.
Presenters: Kim Randolph, Teacher, Port Huron Area School District, and Terry Harrington, Assistant Director of Education Technology, St. Clair County RESA
Connection: Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Florida
First videoconferencing session at MACUL this year is a connection to Mote Marine Laboratory along with Kim Randolph, a third grade teacher, connecting from her classroom in Thomas Edison Elementary, Port Huron, MI.
The connection begins with sound checks between the three sites and welcoming greetings (big HIIIIII) between the conference participants and the students at Thomas Edison Elementary. Laughter all around.
Next the obligatory weather check. It’s 80 degrees in Florida and we all groaned with envy since we had slushy snow overnight.
Mote Marine’s programs start with a high energy visual introduction. Kasey Gaylord started us off with a gameshow about sharks: myths and facts.
Next we learned about the sea turtle session where students learn about nesting habits, adaptations, the sea turtle exhibits, and how they protect the sea turtles in Florida.
Another program, Mammals, Mammoths and Manatees focuses on the manatee exhibit and students learn about manatee training, habit, and more. An interesting part of this program is an activity where students practice training a manatee where the teacher plays the role of manatee.
A video clip showed how students from another class used their Polycom remote to control an ROV in the shark tank at Mote Marine. How cool is that for kids!! The dial tones send the ROV right, left, up and down. We all laughed when a large grouper suddenly appeared on the screen.
Each videoconference program has a PDF content unit with lesson plans, activities and background information to prepare for the videoconference. The materials are aligned to national curriculum standards.
Next, Kim Randolph, teacher at Thomas Edison, shared with us how she uses this videoconference in her curriculum. She showed an example of the math and measuring activity that helps students draw a life size manatee using a grid. She also showed an activity where students learned about adaptations. The students come up with lots of questions at the beginning of the unit. If they don’t find the answers in their reading, they ask those questions during the videoconference. Kim uses several trade books with the unit as well as non-fiction, fiction, drawing, and poetry writing projects.
This year many of the TWICE sessions feature not only the connection to the provider, but a teacher telling us how they integrate the videoconference into a unit. It’s very powerful hearing about the videoconference from the teacher’s perspective. My favorite part is when the students share what they liked about the videoconference and some of the facts they learned about manatees. We all love to hear kids talk!