Glogging About Natural Disasters
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As background knowledge to Susan Pfeffer's novels The Dead and the Gone and Life as We Knew It, students research natural disasters. In these two companion novels set in two different locations in the United States, the world's environment has been changed because the moon has been pushed closer to the earth. This disturbance causes a series of natural disasters and epidemics. To fully understand the effects natural disasters have had on the world's environment, each student researches a different natural disaster. Then they use these facts as well as safety tips in unique glogs, online interactive multimedia posters, that will include student-recorded weather announcements.
From Theory to Practice
Technology generates opportunities for students to practice their reading skills, analyze information, synthesize that information, and then communicate their findings to others. As Belinha DeAbrue points out in her article "Glogster: A Poster-Sized Look at Student Movie Stars," “attracting the teenagers in today’s very digital and multimedia society has become an issue amongst educators.” She suggests that using Glogster to make glogs bridges the gap between the classroom and the students’ highly multimedia world outside of the classroom.
Additionally, this web 2.0 tool used in this lesson provides an educational side to its website which provides private access for teachers and students, therefore, creating a safe environment for students of all ages.
Common Core Standards
This resource has been aligned to the Common Core State Standards for states in which they have been adopted. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, CCSS alignments are forthcoming.
This lesson has been aligned to standards in the following states. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, standard alignments are not currently available for that state.
NCTE/IRA National Standards for the English Language Arts
- 1. Students read a wide range of print and nonprint texts to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of the United States and the world; to acquire new information; to respond to the needs and demands of society and the workplace; and for personal fulfillment. Among these texts are fiction and nonfiction, classic and contemporary works.
- 3. Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features (e.g., sound-letter correspondence, sentence structure, context, graphics).
- 4. Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.
- 5. Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.
- 6. Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and nonprint texts.
- 7. Students conduct research on issues and interests by generating ideas and questions, and by posing problems. They gather, evaluate, and synthesize data from a variety of sources (e.g., print and nonprint texts, artifacts, people) to communicate their discoveries in ways that suit their purpose and audience.
- 8. Students use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.
- 11. Students participate as knowledgeable, reflective, creative, and critical members of a variety of literacy communities.
- 12. Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).
Materials and Technology
For a minimal charge, this website provides fifty accounts per educator to create glogs. Additionally, it offers schools a yearly subscription levels so that students can be linked to more than one teacher.
This free software will allow students to record and then upload their recordings to their glogs.
MSN has several videos that can serve as examples for the radio broadcasts. Simply play the video without projection, so students hear the videos as if it were on radio. Furthermore, you can search the website for just videos, making it very easy for the busy educator to find an example.
Students can use this website to cite their sources using MLA format.
Reports of past weather events all over the world in concise, easy to understand language. This website also has the current weather warnings for the United States which can serve as a guide for the students’ recordings that they will create as part of their glogs. The current weather warnings are listed at https://alerts.weather.gov/cap/us.php?x=1.
This site fully covers all natural disasters that have happened in the world.
This website has several articles on the various disasters and safety tips. Additionally, the kids’ section of the site has short videos of storms.
At this website, students can learn about tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, and volcanoes as well as create simulations of these natural disasters.
- Before these sessions, students have learned note taking skills. They can be taught note taking skills through the minilesson Research Building Blocks: Notes, Quotes, and Fact Fragments as well as know the importance of citing sources through the standard lesson Research Building Blocks: “Cite Those Sources.” Furthermore, if this is the students’ first project citing sources, then using Exploring, Plagiarism, Copyright, and Paraphrasing prior to this project would be beneficial.
- Before this lesson, work with your school librarian so that various titles on individual natural disasters as well as books that cover these topics in general for safety and survival tips will be available. The Suggested Print Materials about Natural Disasters has several titles for the latter type of books. Additionally, the Natural Disaster Booklist gives more titles that will benefit the students’ research. Reserve one period in your school library to check out these books and for students to begin their research (or check out these books for your classroom).
- Reserve time in your school’s computer lab for a total of five class periods, with at least one day out of the lab between sessions four and five. Check that computers have Audacity or other software for the students to record as students will produce their own short weather-related recording. Microphones and headphones must also be available for the students.
- If possible, have the research websites and Glogster EDU bookmarked on the computers. If that is not feasible, you can sign up for a wiki at Wikispaces where you can create a class page for the links and later use this site to show your glogs to your community. If that is not possible, make copies of the Natural Disaster Websites, one per computer.
- Sign up for an account at Glogster EDU and request the number of student accounts you need (up to fifty are included in your subscription). Glogster will generate user names and passwords for your student accounts. Assign each student an account.
- Make copies of Creating a Glog, the Natural Disaster Glog Rubric, and the Natural Disaster Checklist (one for each student).
- Familiarize yourself with Glogster by using the ReadWriteThink Strategy Guides Teaching With Glogster: Using Virtual Posters in the Classroom and Using Glogster to Support Multimodal Literacy. Practice the steps of making a glog using Creating a Glog. Create a sample glog for a natural disaster or use a sample from the Glogster EDU website such as The 2011 Japan Tsunami.
- Also, become familiar with Audacity (or other recording software) so that you can save files as .mp3 or .wav.
- Find current weather warnings from the NOAA which students can use to write their scripts for their recordings. See the Sample Weather Warning for an example.
- practice the necessary technology skills for assembling glogs. These include recording, saving pictures, and uploading files.
- learn the importance of acknowledging sources for information as well as digital images.
- create a correctly formatted bibliography for information and images.
- learn about several past disasters that have affected the world.
- understand weather safety tips and survival tips.
- communicate their findings by sharing their glogs with their classmates.
- Ask the students what weather-related emergencies are typical for your area. Ask how we prepare for these emergencies, what we do during these events, and what we do after a weather-related disaster. Also, discuss how we know when a weather emergency is imminent.
- Explain that the students will be soon split into two literature circles to read Susan Pfeffer’s novels in which a single event happens in both novels changes the world’s environment. This event causes many natural disasters throughout the world. Ask students what natural disasters they have heard of before. You can prompt them to think about what they have previously discussed in science classes before.
- Explain that to help them understand the tragedy about which they will read in the two companion novels, each student will research a natural disaster, assemble a glog, and share that glog with the class.
- Show the sample glog that you have created or use one from Glogster EDU.
- Go through the Natural Disaster Glog Rubric and grade the sample glog as a class.
- Project the Natural Disasters List and have each student select a different disaster.
- Give each student the printouts Natural Disaster Notetaking Sheet and the Natural Disaster Checklist. Discuss what they will be looking for in the books and websites they will use in the next three sessions.
- 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 so that they are ready for Session Two.
- Have students check out books about their individual disasters. Have the general disaster books available to all students during the next three sessions.
- Before students begin taking notes, remind them to cite their books.
- Monitor the students as they research, noting time on task. Check for any inaccuracies on their Natural Disaster Notetaking Sheets.
Sessions Three and Four
- Before students begin their research, remind them they will need at least five pictures for their glog. Ask students why they will cite their pictures’ sources. Prompt their answers by comparing citing a book or website to citing a picture. Because Glogster uses URLs to bring in pictures, have students open a word processing file to save the URLs of pictures they want to use on their glogs. Model for the students how to create this list. Then model for the students how to correctly cite a web source.
- Have the students continue to research using the websites listed as well as their books they checked out in the last session. Before students start taking notes, remind them to cite their websites. Again, have available to them the general disaster books.
- Monitor the students as they research, noting time on task. Check for any inaccuracies on their notetaking sheets.
- Check that students have sufficient information in sections so that they will have material for their scripts.
- Ask students what type of weather-related drills we perform in school. Discuss how they learned to prepare for these drills. Then ask how the school would know if we were going to have a weather-related emergency.
- Explain that the students are each going to write two minute or longer radio scripts that meet one of three purposes:
- The student can choose to write a public announcement that prepares the area for a disaster that might sometime happen. For this choice, explain the student will use the notes on preparing for the disaster. For a sample, play a video from online, such as this Hurricane Survival Guide from MSN.com, without the projector on, so students just hear the script as if it were a radio broadcast.
- The student can choose to write a weather warning for the particular disaster he/she has researched. For this choice, the student will use the notes on the particular disaster. Project the Sample Weather Warning from NOAA that is included in the printouts. Explain to the students that this is what radio and television stations receive when a warning has been issued. Model for the students using the provided script how this warning is turned into a live radio warning. Also, discuss with the students the sense of urgency that the announcer’s voice has when reading a weather warning and that they may include their notes on what to do during a weather disaster.
- The student can choose to write a newscast after the disaster has struck and explain what happened to the area. For this choice the student will use the section on description and after the event survival tips.
- While students are working on their scripts, check the students have completed the Natural Disaster Notetaking Sheet.
- As students complete their rough drafts of their scripts, assign them to be partners. Hand out stopwatches to each pair. Instruct students to practice reading their scripts as they time each other, checking that each reaches the two minute minimum time length. Recommend students make suggestions for improvement on each other’s scripts. If time allows, switch partners for more practice.
- For homework, assign students who did not complete their scripts to finish and practice.
- Collect students’ final copies of their scripts. Read these and make any suggestions before the next session.
- Model steps 1-12 of creating a glog using the printout Glog It. Save step 13 for tomorrow when they have recorded their broadcast.
- After modeling the steps, have the students open their word processing files with their images so they have their pictures for their glogs. Give each student his/her username and password. When the student signs in for the first time, the student will be asked to type in his/her name. Instruct the students to do so because then you will be able to see on your teacher dashboard the students by name and username.
- Allow students time to work on their glogs. While students work, check on their accuracy of information. Question students about which pictures they have selected and why these pictures represent their disaster. Offer feedback on their layout and choices for their glogs as they work.
- Encourage students to work on their glogs from any computer (home or public library, for example) since this is an Internet-based program.
Sessions Seven and Eight
- Demonstrate how to use Audacity (or other recording software) and where to save an audio file on your computer system. Model for the students how to add this sound file to their glogs, which is step 13 on Creating a Glog.
- Divide the class into two groups. Rather than having all students recording at once, give the microphones and headphones to every other student to minimize background noise on the recordings. Those not recording can work on citing their sources using their file on images as well as their note taking sheet for books and websites. Suggest to students that they can use Easybib.com for creating their Works Cited page.
- Allow students time to work on their glogs. Monitor their progress. Check on the accuracy of their Works Cited pages.
- Remind students that during Session Nine all glogs will be shared, so encourage them to work outside of class.
- Have each student share his/her glog with the class, allowing students to ask questions at the end of each presentation. From the teacher’s dashboard in Glogster, each student’s glog can be easily accessed so that each student does not have to log-in before each presentation.
- After all have presented, allow time for the student reflection questions that are included in the assessment section.
- Establish a class wiki and post links to the glogs to the wiki. Publish your classroom wiki to the community, so the audience for your students is larger.
- Give students the option of adding a video recording in place of a sound recording.
- Read other books that feature natural disasters such as The Volcano Disaster by Peg Kehret, Earthquake Terror by Peg Kehret, Trapped by Michael Northrup, Night of the Howling Dogs by Graham Salisbury, Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes or The Killing Sea by Richard Lewis.
- If computer resources are not available, students could make posters with paper and present these to the class. As part of their presentations, the students could read their scripts to the class.
Student Assessment / Reflections
- Review each student’s completed Natural Disaster Notetaking Sheet and recording script.
- During the class periods, observe and note the students’ time on task as this is one of the categories on the rubric.
- Using the Natural Disaster Glog Rubric, evaluate each student’s completed glog.
- Allow class time for students to present their glogs to the class. Question students about their choices of graphics and pictures for their disaster. Allow classmates to pose questions to each presenter.
- After all the glogs 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 natural disasters.
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 _____________.