Instructional Projects - Grades K-5

Kindergarten ABC Book Publishing
Students use PowerPoint to create electronic ABC books that allow the author to include clip art and/or handmade drawings and narrate the text that appears on each page. The final book can be printed in a hardbound cover and published on the project website so children’s work can be heard and viewed by peers in other classes and by family at home and abroad. This project has a project blog.

First Grade Electronic Word Wall Project
Students use PowerPoint to create electronic word walls that include clip art and/or handmade drawings, text and narration to support content understanding of vocabulary meaning and conventions for usage. Teachers create an archive of word walls that be used for differentiated instruction throughout the school term. The word walls can also be hosted on a website for student access 24/7. This project has a project blog.

Second Grade Nonfiction Science Research and Publishing Project
Modeling Component: Students will learn how nonfiction books differ from fiction books and be able to recognize the elements of nonfiction. Students will learn basic skills for searching the Internet and be introduced to PowerPoint, scanning, and keyboarding. Together teacher and students research, write, and publish a nonfiction book about Honeybees. The teacher will use this experience to model research, reading, writing, and technology skills needed to complete the project.
Demonstration of Mastery of Skills: Students will choose a favorite animal and research, write and publish a nonfiction book about that animal. Additionally, copies of the published work will remain in both the classroom and school library, as a resource for other students.

Third Grade Weather and World Community Project
Focusing Statement: Explain how weather, climate, geography, topography, and natural resources, impact the way people live in and work in world communities.
· Students learn map concepts, explore how maps communicate information and discover that different types of maps communicate different information.
· Teachers participate in NASA’s Globe Training to develop content knowledge about weather and climates and explore multiple strategies for teaching these concepts to third graders. Each school sets up a NASA weather observation center so students can collect and import real-time data to an online database used by NASA scientists.
· Students will use Google Earth and 3-D Weather Globe & Atlas to view satellite photographs and monitor current weather conditions.
· Students will use Think.com, Skype.org (voice/video over the Internet), epals.com and Video Conferencing to communicate and collaborate with classes from U.S. and world cities as they explore how people live and work in diverse environments. In collaboration with other borough/city elementary schools, students will research one of several American cities that reflect the diverse climates and resources around the country.
Demonstration of Mastery of Skills: Groups of students will collaborate online to explore a city from another country and create a website where they post questions for partner schools and share evidence of their research.

Fourth Grade Project: Community Wiki
Students explore early settlers to the area and track the sequence of immigrant populations and the development of the community over time. Students explore primary source documents that record the history of the area. Students interview residents and business people who have lived and worked in the community for decades and who can share and reflect on changes in the neighborhood.
Groups of students research various aspects of their local community and create a wiki website that includes maps, transportation, schools, municipal buildings, community services, recreational activities, houses of worship, museums and historical sites, and information that makes their community unique.
Demonstration of Mastery of Skills: Exemplar research will be posted on Wikipedia, which will only publish information that is pertinent and can be verified, one of the nonfiction goals for our students. If their work passes the Wikipedia test and it remains on their neighborhood's site, and they have met one of the goals of the project. If not, their work gets removed by the team of people who monitor the site, based on a much higher standard than any teacher might establish.

Fifth Grade WebPlay Project
WebPlay is an internet-based arts-education project enabling primary school children to create, produce and perform dramatic plays while working in collaboration with a professional theater company and students from partner schools in different countries. Since 2002, this on-line education project has linked over 4,000 children in primary school classrooms located in London, Los Angeles and New York. During the collaborative development and exchange of working on their plays, partner classes learn about each other and the cities they live in, while also interacting with the theater company to learn about and see a live professional production.
First year teachers use Think.com to communicate and collaborate with students in London, England and receive extensive online support from WebPlay staff. Second year teachers use Think.com to communicate and collaborate with students from a world community of their choosing. Students also use Voice/Video Over Internet or Video Conferencing (when available) to communicate. WebPlay establishes cross-curricula goals: literacy, technology, social studies, and citizenship skills together in an engaging and unique format for teaching and learning. All teachers have the opportunity to bring their class to the theater performance and play design workshop that follows.
Demonstration of Mastery of Skills: Collaborating with Project Arts, students receive in-class playwriting and performance training from a professional theater company. Students then write and perform a play that takes place in England reflecting the research they have documented on English culture and society.

Robotics: Making Curriculum Connections

Teachers will learn how to build and program robots. Professional development will be informed and rooted in constructivism, which emphasizes a hands-on problem solving and project-based approach to learning. Founded in the belief that individuals learn in unique and complex ways, this approach offers students an opportunity to conduct their own research and experiment in the pursuit of knowledge, while challenging students to think creatively, apply concepts and actively "construct" meaning. Teachers begin by using basic robotics kits and purchase additional more complex components, as their need grows. Schools use one of more of the following robotics kits: Lego, Vex, or hand built and all compete in various regional and NYFirst competitions.