Engaged Learning Project ELC-688

November 2015

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Project Focus

Upper elementary students (grades 4-6) will learn about North Carolina’s diverse geography while also developing research, literacy, and technology skills.

Project Description

The upper elementary team and I worked together on this research project during the first quarter. The project was done with 79 students and 4 classroom teachers in grades 4-6. The social studies content instruction was primarily delivered in the classroom, and I took the lead in teaching research skills. I assisted students with locating and accessing a variety of print and online resources during weekly media lessons. Students used Chromebooks to conduct research and to create digital brochures in Google Docs. Their brochures focused on one of the three geographical areas of NC. Students included information about important geographical features of their region as well as what made their regions unique. In addition to the four classroom teachers, I also met and collaborated with our EC (exceptional children) and TD (talent development) teachers and our Montessori lead teacher. I also shared information with our literacy facilitator and school administrators during the team meetings. The classroom teachers, support staff, and I collaborated regarding project implementation, the research process, expectations for brochure content, which included modifications for EC students and extensions for TD students, and the assessment of learning.


I met with classroom teachers, support staff, and administration twice during their team planning meetings (Upper el PLC) to plan the project.

I met one-on-one with the EC teacher and TD teacher to discuss/plan student accommodations.

I met with teachers individually as needed based on their individual needs/questions.

I also communicated with teachers via e-mail and sharing resources via Google Drive.

I instructed students during their weekly media lessons during the first quarter, and classroom teachers provided instruction in the classroom.


*C=classroom M=media center

Weeks 1/2 - 8/30 – 9/11

Lesson Focus - M* - review of online safety/cyber-bullying; Destiny online catalog lesson

Week 3 - 9/14 – 9/18

Lesson Focus - C*– introduce content; M – Chromebook intro; accessing resources

Week 4 - 9/21 – 9/25

Lesson Focus - C – content & note-making; M – note-making mini-lesson using an eBook; brief discussion of copyright & citations; Introduce students to Padlet; students must create a sample digital notecard using Padlet



Week 5 - 9/28 – 10/2

Lesson Focus - C – content/independent research; M – independent research & note-making

Week 6 - 10/5 – 10/9

Lesson Focus - C - content/independent research; M – introduce Google Docs & brochure

Week 7 - 10/12 –10/16

Lesson Focus - C - content/brochure work; M – citation lesson; brochure work; sharing an item in Google Docs

Week 8 - 10/19 – 10/23

Lesson Focus - C – peer review; M – finalize brochures

Week 9 - 10/26 – 10/30

Lesson Focus - C/M – finalize brochures; C - sharing of brochures

Week 10 - 11/2-11/6

Lesson Focus - Evaluation/Reflection – C & M

Implementation Considerations

Access to Resources/Staff Support

In order for all students to be successful, there needs to be adequate age-appropriate print and online resources as well as resources with read-aloud capabilities to support diverse reading abilities.

Access to support staff is important to help students who need additional support.

Technology Use

In order for this project to be successful with the implementation of 1:1 devices, adequate wireless access points/wireless infrastructure needs to be in place.

Adequate monitoring needs to be in place to make sure that students are accessing appropriate resources, such as circulating the room during independent work time, conferencing with students, etc. Checking student progress on their brochures during the creation process is necessary to make sure that students are on track/not falling behind. The ability to monitor and comment on student work within Google Drive makes this possible during the school day as well as after school hours.


Adjustments needed to be made for time missed due to holidays/teacher workdays/staff absences/field trips, etc. Be prepared for some students and classes to finish the project at different times. Students may help peers edit their work or do additional research on a personal area of interest if they finish the project ahead of the deadline.


EC Students received support with research. The EC teacher pre-selected the print resource as well as 2 online databases for students to use. These resources were selected because of their ease of use as well as read-aloud capabilities. The teacher also created research guides that correlated with the specific online databases. Students received one-on-one or small group assistance from the EC teacher and/or TA during their weekly lesson time. Peers also provided support for students during lessons.

NC eBook Guide


PebbleGoNext Guide


WorldBookKids Guide


The Talent Development (TD) teacher created a tic-tac-toe activity for the TD students to provide extensions for them.



A variety of assessment strategies were used throughout the project. Those included informal observations, discussion/questioning, student performance tasks (logging on to a Chromebook, logging on to their Destiny account to view eBooks, accessing online databases, accessing Google Docs, and creating a brochure), a rubric for the final product, and written student reflections.

100% of students demonstrated mastery of the following tasks:

  • logging on to a Chromebook (initial lesson done in the media center/follow-up in classroom)
  • logging into our Destiny online catalog (initial lesson done in the media center/follow-up in classroom)
  • accessing Google Docs (initial lesson done in the media center/follow-up in classroom)
  • creating a digital brochure in Google Docs (initial lesson done in the media center/follow-up in classroom)

I was able to assess the students on the above tasks within the context of media lessons.

Teachers and I were able to give students feedback on their brochures by commenting in Google Docs.

Students were also able to share their brochures with classmates to receive feedback via Google as well.

Final Product Rubric


Student Written Reflection


Teacher Written Reflection


Student Reflections

The majority of students cited that creating the brochures was their favorite part of the project. Students liked having the ability to make choices within the project. Many students cited that they enjoyed being able to work independently, and others appreciated being able to share their work with peers within the context of Google docs. Overwhelmingly, students still wanted to have a printed copy of their brochure despite the allure of the Chromebooks and Google Docs.

Student Quotes - I wish there was room to include more!

Question 1 - What was the most exciting/interesting part of this project for you? Why?

"The most interesting thing for me was learning how to log on to my Chromebook and also learning how to get onto Google docs." 4th grader

"The part I thought was most interesting was learning all my info. because it is a really good skill. It was also really interesting learning everything about the place we live." 5th grader

"Also when I made my final product a brochure. This part of our project was exciting and interesting because when I made my brochure I thought it looked like some I had seen. Also because I liked putting it together." 5th grader

"The most exciting part of doing this research project for me was learning all the different elements of Google dox. I think that it is very interesting how it is so accessible." 6th grader

Question 2 - What activities helped you most as you worked on this project?

"The ability to work independently helped me the most. It helped me the most because I got to pick the information I wanted to see on my brochure." 4th grader

"Some of the activities that helped me on my project were the citation lesson, working with others to get new information, and working with Ms. S (teacher)." 5th grader

"Media lessons because I learned how to work a Chromebook to get my info." 5th grader

"Working with my peers definitely helped. Having constructive criticism from the people who care about me definitely help with making the brochure exciting. I got more ideas from friends and I think that made an impact on the brochure so I don't bore people to death." 6th grader

Question 3 - If you could change one thing about this project, what would you change? Why?

"I really liked the project! There's nothing I would change." 4th grader

"One thing I would change would be we had more space. I would choose that so we could add more pictures and more info. because I ran out of room." 5th grader

"I needed more space. I would also be happy if we print the brochure to not have to see it through a computer." 6th grader

"I just think making the brochure about Greece or Italy would've made the the brochure more exciting and exotic." 6th grader

Staff Reflections


Practical application

Students gained knowledge of NC

NC cultural & physical features were reinforced

Students gained practice publishing

Students gained practice with research skills

Google Docs made it easy to monitor

Good looking end products

High student engagement.

Students enjoyed working on the Chromebooks. Each time, we worked on the project they were excited and were proud of their finished product.

Rubric/Examples. Students like having the rubric ahead of time and when completing their brochure. They wanted to make sure they included all the necessary components. Students used the example brochure as a reference when they completed their brochure.

How did your students benefit from doing this project?

  1. Awareness--- For the students I worked with on this project, they know have an awareness that their are three different regions in the state of NC.

  2. Working with the Chromebook allowed them more practice with typing skills and online research.

  3. Built confidence in their skills!!!

  4. Opportunity to communicate with other students

How did you benefit professionally from doing this project?

  1. Have a deeper understanding of the content objectives

  2. Better understanding of the computer skills students need in the 21st century


Some students found it hard to manage keeping track of note cards.

Some students are not certain of the process for collecting research for publication.

Some students dragged their heels in finishing the project.

It could have been concentrated more intensely in a shorter time.

Lack of background knowledge about region/state for some students

EC teacher felt she had to give a lot of direction/support

Lack of keyboarding skills was a hindrance to some students.

Support staff needed additional time to prepare for the project. It took up a lot of class time.

Works Cited

Allison-Napolitano, E. (2013). Flywheel: Transformational Leadership Coaching for Sustainable Change. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin: A Sage Company.

Bray, B., & McClaskey, K. (2014). Make Learning Personal. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin: A Sage Company.

Hargreaves, A., & Shirley, D. (2012). The Global Fourth Way: The Quest for Educational

Excellence. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin: A Sage Company

Hinduja, S., & Patchin, J. W. (2012). School Climate 2.0. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin: A Sage



I would like to thank the following people:

Sophia Hazlehurst, Chantilly Montessori Principal

Upper El teaching team

Ms. Lisa Lashley, Chantilly music teacher, master teacher, and coach

My students