Personal Inquiry Blog

Saturday, October 09, 2004

A rap on "wrapping" with a little "waving" on the side

If someone tries to cram one more thing into this week, I think my head will explode. Oy! Anna, our daughter, was home from Boston visiting all week. The musical my husband is directing is in production this week. My parents arrived last night. Seventh graders doing travel brochure research were in the library all week and my personal inquiry project is due on Monday. I feel as though I am barely keeping it all in the air. This too shall pass, however.

I decided on a PowerPoint aimed at the 8 to 14 year-old audience because most of the information about rehabilitation and conservation is aimed at adults and it’s important for kids to start thinking responsibly before they become adults. And since kids are usually interested in owls because of Harry Potter, I began the presentation with references to owls in the Harry Potter books. I arranged all my notes and the printouts I had highlighted in a preliminary order. Physiology first, then conservation and rehabilitation information, and ending with things to do to help. Then I decided to eliminate most of the information about rehabilitation because it’s mostly an adult issue. I wanted to be sure to mention environmental concern, but in reference to things that kid can actively do something about. I used lots of graphics, pictures and animation and sounds since our students seem to love those aspects in a PowerPoint. Two of my library helpers, Skylar and Dylan, looked at the presentation and pronounced it “cool.” My friend, Rhonda, the media aide, looked at it and found two typos, thank goodness! She had taken the digital picture of me with the stuffed owl yesterday morning and came down to make sure I’d gotten it into the presentation.

Essentially, I had enough information for about four different projects emphasizing different issues, so I had to fight against the urge to throw everything in somehow. I can see that this could be an issue with our students as well. If they spent time finding information, they would want to use it. Having the two Inspiration diagrams did help me to realize that the information on concerns arising from rehabilitation was really not something that was going to fit into a presentation for kids. I could also see that creating an Inspiration diagram would be a great way for kids to story board their own PowerPoint presentations. The center would be their first title slide, then if a circle leading off the center had more circles extending from it, they would know to use a slide with bullets or just a title slide. They could bring up the outline version of their document, print that out and write out their slides along the right side of the paper. Getting them to plan ahead isn’t always easy. They just want to make slides and then spend too much time finding graphics or animating them. I’d like to work with the sixth grade teachers to come up with a lesson plan for presenting PowerPoint in this manner. Creating the Inspiration document also gives the kids a sort of transformation scaffold to put their information into their own words.


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