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Discussion for Columbian Exchange
Linnea Czerney (Teacher (K-12))
This seems like a great topic to complete the webquest on! Students will definitely benefit from the way that you have scaffolded the information to build their background. In the set of essential content, you ensure that they have the knowledge that they will need to really comprehend what they learn about the Colombian Exchange, but in order to have success you recognize the information they need to have. One question I have, do you expect a lot of variation in the students’ findings for them to present? It seems as though, if they are completing a webquest, their results should be similar given the specific web pages you mentioned. Also, you mention in your objective to have them evaluate their like or dislike with using the internet and resources for research, but I did not see an evaluation of this or a venue for them to give this input, will that be a part of their blog entry? Lastly, how will you assess them? Would you have a rubric for their blog post and will the students be aware of what should be included, or will you allow it to be more open ended and just a response? Overall, I think this is well thought out and your students would clearly benefit from practicing with technology to make learning more enjoyable about the Colombian Exchange.
Steve Veldman (Teacher (K-12))
Overall, I was impressed with the idea of the Columbian Exchange WebQuest. As a fellow 5th grade teacher I know how hard that concept can be. The students have a very difficult idea grasping the fact that things that are vital to our country today, were not here forever. I really liked how the students would be using an 'outside source' to discover new ideas. It allows students to feel a sense of discovery and ownership in their learning, which will create a more lasting learning experience. Additionally, when students are working with rich websites, they are able to experience the material in a variety of ways. A visual learner can be drawn in with the pictures and images, while a linguisitc learner can benefit greatly from the text provided.
Especially valuable is the usage of a classroom blog for students to share their ideas. This would allow students to create a collective knowledge of the content, which enhances overall understanding.
The only part of the lesson I was unsure of were the websites that would be used. In searching for my own class, I have found some sites that do a good job with the Columbian Exchange, however I am not sure if those are the ones the author was using. The addition of the links to the desired sites would make this lesson that much more valuable.
Again, I found this to be a good lesson idea, one that allow for student-directed learning and accomodated the needs of all the various learning types in a classroom.