This year google docs provided the backbone for all of our projects in my Spanish 5 class. Once we developed our central questions, we broke into research teams and divided the research necessary to answer our central question. In order to explain how this process works in action, I will show how this year’s dance unit is different from last year’s.
Last year, my seniors ended the year with a dance unit. I created power point presentations to outline the Salsa, Merengue, Bachata and the Tango. After I spent a class lecturing on the history/evolution of Salsa, for example, I would spend a few class days teaching the basic dance steps. Dance provided a fun, and useful, unit to serve as the last high school Spanish experience for these students.
This year, I redesigned the unit to integrate 21st Century and Web 2.0 skills. Students divided into dance teams for Salsa, Merengue, Bachata, Tango and flamenco. Each team will research their topic and present their dance to the class. The first phase of the project is research. The teams have divided their members among the following topics:
1) Information about the country in which the dance oriented
2) Evolution of the dance within that country (style, music, role in pop culture, etc)
3) A popular music group that plays their type of music (name of group, popular songs, etc)
4) Important vocabulary for understanding the dance
In order to combine all this information into a presentation to the class, the dance teams have created Google Presentations. As seniors in their final Spring in high school, these students have a very difficult time coordinating schedules in order to meet outside of school. Google Presentations allows my students to follow each other’s progress although they might not be able to physically meet after school. Students will present their dance’s history to the class on Monday.
As students research, they can include links, pictures, videos, etc. that their team members can view. Students can also leave each other notes in the comments section. This will help them stay organized as the get closer to their presentation to the class. As a teacher, I can also comment on their progress. I can give them grammar/organization feedback as they go so that their final product is more professional. I also can track which students do which edits and make sure that everyone participates.
We have used Google Docs to help organize all of our projects this year. It provides a great way for students to get around scheduling conflicts, collaborate on research and allow me to get more involved in the early stages of their work. We will continue to use Google Docs in future projects and I know my students will use Google Docs in other classes in the future as well.