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Blending the Past with Today’s Technology: Using Prezi to Prepare for Historical Fiction
|Grades||6 – 10|
|Lesson Plan Type||Standard Lesson|
|Estimated Time||Fifteen 50-minute sessions|
- practice the necessary technology skills for assembling Prezis.
- create a correctly formatted bibliography for information and images.
- demonstrate understanding of past events, people, and trends that have affected the world.
- communicate their findings by sharing their Prezis with their classmates.
- Begin with a class discussion about historical fiction.
- Pose the question “To what genre do books that take place in the past belong?”
- Ask the students what historical literature they have read previously.
- Project the Historical Fiction printout to review the definition of this genre.
- Introduce the novels that have been chosen for the class, and randomly select students to choose which books they would like to read, with four students being the maximum number to read the same novel.
- Return to the Historical Fiction printout and revisit the importance of setting. Explain to the students that because of the setting’s significance, they will research the decade in which their novels take place before they read their novels. For example, those reading A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck will find information about the 1930s while those who have selected The Rock and the River by Kekla Magoon will research the 1960s.
- Give each student a copy of the Introduction Sheet printout.
- Read through the Introduction Sheet together. Emphasize that they will find a total of 20 events for their decade. 10 of the events will be about one of their topics while the other 10will be about a second topic. For example, a student might cover "US News Events" and "Fashion"; therefore, he/she will find 10 news events that happened in the United States and 10 events in fashion.
- Show the Prezi that you have created or use the abbreviated sample for 2000-2009. Present the information for one of the events. If the sample is used, the Decade Event Notes can be used for the model. Remind the students this is an abbreviated example and that they will actually find 10 events for each of their topics.
- Explain that in the next session, students will meet in their groups to select what topics they will research from the Introduction Sheet. Ask students to be prepared to share in their groups their top four choices in the next session.
- To begin the session, have students get in their decade groups. Give each student a copy of the Decade Rubric and discuss, show the Prezi sample again, and have students grade that Prezi as a group. Discuss how the group’s graded the sample.
- In their groups, have students decide what topics each person will present from the Introduction Sheet. If a group has problems deciding which topics each member will research, help those students make decisions.
- Give each student the Decade Event Notes printout.
- Discuss that this printout shows the students what they will be looking for in books and Websites once they have found their 20 events.
- Alert students that they might not find a specific date for an event. It might be a month and year or even just a year that they use to complete this section.
- Also, mention that the column labeled How it Affected America might require the students to draw conclusions, rather than finding answers in books or on Websites.
- Explain that sometimes an event might fit more than one topic, so as a group they need to decide who reports on the event, rather than having it discussed twice in their group presentation. For example, if they were researching 2000-2009, the event 9/11 could be under either "US news events" or a "World news event."
- Clarify that these notes will be turned into their presentation.
- Explain each of their ten events require a completed Decade Event Notes.
- Lead the students in a discussion on why they will need to cite their sources for this project. Model for the students how to cite a book and a website so that they are ready for the next session. For information about how to cite sources see the Purdue Online Writing Lab.
- Have books from the Suggested Print Materials printout available to the students so that they can start looking for their twenty events. Remind them to cite their print materials as they take notes.
- Before students begin taking notes, remind them to cite their books and websites. Because of the numerous sources they will probably use, students are to write their citations as they research. This could be on paper or on a word processing document, or if students have email accounts, they establish accounts at Easybib.com and create bibliographies as they research each day.
- Give students time to find 20 events for their particular aspect of the decade using the Suggested Print Materials and Websites.
- Because of the sheer number of events during a decade, tell students they are to look for the most important events. Guide students in making their selections by evaluating which events had greater impact. For example, in 2005 Hurricane Katrina was more damaging than Hurricane Dennis, Emily, or Rita. During the 1950s several films debuted, but they should investigate ones that are still shown today, such as The Ten Commandments and The Diary of Anne Frank.
- If a particular event is extremely important in the historical novels with which students are working, guide students to select those events. For example, if students will be reading Countdown by Deborah Wiles, then students definitely need to research the Cuban Missile Crisis.
- Check during each session that students are completing four events per day so that all 20 will be completed by that last day of this group. Assign students to work on their research daily and remind them during the last session all notes on their 20 events will be needed to create their Prezis during the next session.
- Monitor the students as they research, noting time on task and their ability to work effectively as a group as both are categories on the rubric.
- Check for any inaccuracies on their note taking sheets and encourage students to provide detailed information for each event so that they will be able to fully cover their topics.
- If you can not project in the lab or library, complete this first step in the classroom. Again, show the students the Prezi you created, or the sample. Tell them they will cite the sources for their images, and ask why this is important. Prompt their answers by comparing citing a book or website to citing an image. Because students are not the photographers of the images, just like they are not the authors of the written materials, credit must be given for the source of the image.
- Model for students how to correctly save an image and cite that image.
- Instruct students to find at least 20 images, at least one for each event they have researched, and to cite all images.
- Ask students to create a chronological list for the events of each of their topics for next session. Explain that the list will become the order in their Prezis.
- If you cannot project in the library or lab, complete this first step in the classroom. Show the students the online tutorial or the Cheat Sheet. Hand out Creating a Prezi and model the steps for the students. Show the sample again and allow students to ask questions about its creation.
- Allow students time to work on their Prezis. While students work, check on their accuracy of information. Question students about which pictures they have selected and why these pictures represent their events. Offer feedback on their layout and choices for their Prezis as they work.
- Encourage students to work on their Prezis from any computer (home or public library, for example) since this is an Internet-based program.
- During the last session, remind students they will practice with their groups during the next session; therefore, this is the last day to work in class on their Prezis; encourage them to work outside of class.
- Once students have completed their Prezis, have students e-mail you the links for their Prezis. From the tab labeled Your Prezis, students click the Share button and then the envelope to send the link to your email address.
- If you have established a class wiki, either you or the students can post these links to the wiki. This will make viewing of the Prezis much more convenient.
- Remind students that all presentations begin with an introduction and end with a conclusion. As a group, they need an introduction to their decade and a conclusion as well as transition between their presentations. Give each group the printout Presentation Tips and discuss.
- Allow each group to develop their introduction, conclusion, and transitions.
- Have each group member present his/her presentation to the group while others use the Decade Rubric to evaluate the presentation.
- After presenting to the group, allow time for students to make corrections to their Prezis.
- Encourage students to practice their presentations outside of the class.
- Have each group share their Prezis, allowing students to ask questions at the end of each presentation. Plan on approximately two presentations per class session.
- After each session’s presentations, allow time for students to answer reflection questions included in the Assessment Section of this lesson plan.
- When all presentations have been completed, hand out the chosen literature circle novels and have students begin their literature circles. If students have not participated in literature circles before, you might want to use the website Literature Circles Resources and/or the lesson Literature Circles: Getting Started to lead the students.
- Establish a class wiki and post links to the Prezis to the wiki.
- Have each student use the Web 2.0 tool Voki to create a speaking avatar to explain the significance of a person from the decade he/she studied.
- Once students have completed their historical novels, have them try creating resumes for the characters in the novels using this lesson: Book Report Alternative: Writing Resumes for Characters in Historical Fiction or Facebook-like pages using Book Report Alternative: Getting Acquainted with Farcebook.
- After completing their novels, share the Suggested Literature Circle Novels printout with the students so that they can choose other historical novels to read.
- Have students try writing their own original historical fiction based on one of the events they researched as suggested in the Calendar Event Esther Forbes, author of Johnny Tremain, was born in 1891.
- If students are not able to use Prezi for presentations, this lesson could be done with Microsoft PowerPoint or students could create timeline posters about their decades.
- Review students’ completed Decade Event Notes.
- During the class periods, observe and note the students’ time on task and cooperation as a group as these are categories on the rubric.
- Using the Decade Rubric, evaluate each student’s completed Prezi.
- Allow class time for students present their Prezis to the class. Question students about their choices of images. Allow classmates to pose questions to each presenter.
- After all the Prezis have been presented, ask students to reflect on the learning experience by having them complete one or more of the following prompts. Explain that their answers can include information they learned from each other’s presentations.
o Because of this project, I learned ____________ about these decades.
o Because of this project, I learned ____________ about technology.
o The most important ideas I learned from this project was____________.
o I want to know more about _____________.