Solar Eclipse 2017: Combining something awesome with learning how to use PebbleGo Next and Flipgrid!
It's not every day you get to see a Solar Eclipse! I haven't been this excited for a learning opportunity ever. Our school district made it a big deal by purchasing approved glasses and supporting our teachers in developing interactive, hands on, authentic projects with the eclipse. We had a bunch of teachers take on a science inquiry method where students examined how the temperature, sounds, etc. changed as the eclipse occurred.
So you know as an advocate for all the awesome things our library has to offer, I really had to capitalize on the Solar Eclipse! This was a perfect opportunity to learn how to use our new PebbleGo Next subscription and to introduce Flipgrid to our teachers. I used Flipgrid a lot last year with our students to share book recommendations, MakerSpace creations, and collaborate on World Read Aloud Day so our current 3rd graders were experts at it by now. My philosophy on introducing new tech tools or databases to teachers is to follow the "I do, we do, you do" approach, which helps take the mystery and scariness out of using a new resource. The biggest complaints I hear from teachers when I try to introduce something new is 1) I don't have time to learn something new or to plan with it, or 2) I have no idea how to use it and I don't want to mess it up. The best way to counteract that is to prepare a model lesson, involve the teacher in the planning process, teach the lesson, and then offer to help plan with it again. So that's what I did with our Solar Eclipse lesson!
We purchased and used PebbleGo last year, but it was slightly too easy for many of our students so I purchased a subscription to PebbleGo Next for this year as well. PebbleGo Next includes deeper articles, more topics, and is more geared towards science and social studies. In addition to PebbleGo Next being new, I also want to help teacher see the benefit of using Flipgrid this year. We are going towards the one-to-one initiative with Chromebooks in our 3rd grade classes and we've purchased a class set of iPads for the library, so our students will have access to cameras every day now. I'm working on a blog post about all the awesomeness that is Flipgrid, so for now just know that it is cool. Like really really cool.
Because of our Boosterthon Fun Run, timing of schedules, and so on, it was hard scheduling lessons for the Solar Eclipse, but I had so much fun teaching the students about the new PebbleGo Next database! Our students learned the new format of the articles, about headers and subheaders, key word searches, and then shared what they learned about the sun and solar eclipses through our Flipgrid topic.
The best part of the lesson? The teachers I worked with said they would love to use Flipgrid in their classrooms and want to work together in the future. I call that a win!