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Elizabeth Downs February 11, 2009
Planning Stage – Designing a Digital Story Purpose The purpose of this presentation is to teach 8th grade Geography students how to locate the state of Georgia in respect to region, nation, continent, and hemispheres. The presentation will also provide information about the five geographic regions within the state of Georgia, the location of several key physical features, and an evaluation of the importance of each key physical feature. Standard “SS8G1 The student will describe Georgia with regard to physical features and location. a. Locate Georgia in relation to region, nation, continent, and hemispheres. b. Describe the five geographic regions of Georgia; include the Blue Ridge Mountains, Valley and Ridge, Appalachian Plateau, Piedmont, and Coastal Plain. c. Locate and evaluate the importance of key physical features on the development of Georgia; include the Fall Line, Okefenokee Swamp, Appalachian Mountains, Chattahoochee and Savannah Rivers, and barrier islands” (Georgia Department of Education, 2006). Student Analysis Age and Gender The 8th grade Geography class has twenty-eight students. These students range in age from eleven to fourteen. There are twelve female students and sixteen male students. Cultural Background In this 8th grade Geography class there are eighteen Caucasian students, three Asian students, four African-American students, two Hispanic students, and one Pacific Islander
student. Socioeconomic levels, in this class, range from low-income to upper middle-class; however, many of these students’ socioeconomic conditions are quickly changing due to our poor economy. Most of the students live with both parents; however, three split their time between their biological mother’s and biological father’s homes. Five students live, full-time, with just one of their parents. Educational Level Most of the students are on track to graduate from middle school with their age-group peers; however, three of these students repeated earlier grades due to their low academic abilities and four students skipped earlier grades due to high academic abilities. These students are the oldest and youngest students in this class. There are nine gifted students, thirteen regular education students, and six students being served in special education. Of these six students, two have learning disabilities, one is autistic, and three have emotional behavior disorders. All the students, except the two with learning disabilities, read at their current grade level, but the nine gifted students read at levels ranging from 10.4 – 12.3. The two students with learning disabilities have reading levels of 6.2 and 5.6. Accommodations/Modifications In order to keep the nine gifted students engaged these students will have assignment choices that will allow them to delve deeper into the course concepts. This will provide the opportunity for these students to strengthen their critical-thinking and problem-solving skills. Of the six students with special needs, the student with autism has a one-on-one paraprofessional that will assist him in note-taking. The paraprofessional will also administer all of this student’s exams because his modifications include the reading of exams and extended exam times. The three students with emotional behavior disorders have modifications that
include intervention and crisis de-escalation, clearly written expectations for each assignment, and extended exam times. The two students with learning disabilities also have extended exam times; however, only have their exams read to them if they request. Specific Entry Skills In order to ascertain the prior knowledge of the students to ensure they possess the necessary competencies to benefit from these lessons, the students will take a pre-test. This pretest, along with summative assessments, will provide the teacher with the information necessary to evaluate the effectiveness of the curriculum and change it to meet the students’ needs in the most effective manner. Most of the students had the necessary competencies that enabled the teacher to begin teaching the lesson objectives without going over prerequisite skills. I was easily able to prepare the few unprepared students by assigning a few extra reading and homework assignments that were directly applicable to their weak areas. Learning Styles Just as the educational and specific entry levels varied greatly amongst the students, the learning styles also varied greatly. Only the two concrete information processing categories were present in this class. The gifted students fell within the concrete random category; therefore, enjoyed independent, exploratory experiences. The students who were special education were concrete sequential learners and benefited from logically ordered, hands-on assignments. The regular education students fell within both categories (Smaldino, Lowther, & Russell, 2007). Motivation In order to motivate the students, and keep them motivated, I followed the Keller’s ARCS model. Using this model helped me to ensure each component of the lesson plans would grasp the students’ attention, be relevant to what the students were supposed to learn, would build
confidence because the lessons were created to challenge the students yet not be too difficult for them, and provide satisfaction through either intrinsic or extrinsic awards. In addition, the students were encouraged to associate what I taught to something from their personal experiences. This strategy helped the students to meet and retain the lesson objectives (Smaldino, Lowther, & Russell, 2007). Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences Through careful observation of the students, it was possible to ascertain their intelligence types. Most of the students were a combination of linguistic and interpersonal intelligence types. These students worked well in group research projects. A few students were kinesthetic and preferred working with hands-on type projects. Some students were intrapersonal intelligence types; therefore, preferred working alone (Smaldino, Lowther, & Russell, 2007). Objectives Students will: • be able to locate Georgia within the following categories: region, nation, continent, and hemispheres. (Performance Outcome: must be able to locate Georgia in three of the four categories.) • be able to describe the five geographic regions within Georgia and locate them on a map. (Performance Outcome: must be able to describe and locate four of the five geographic regions.) • be able to locate the following key physical features: the Fall Line, Okefenokee Swamp, Appalachian Mountains, Chattahoochee and Savannah Rivers and the barrier islands. (Performance Outcome: must be able to locate five of the six key physical features.)
be able to evaluate the importance, in respect to Georgia’s development, of the above key physical features. (Performance Outcome: Must be able to state the relationship between five of the six key physical features and the economic activity that is a result of the key physical features.) Theory of Instruction Since both concrete information processing categories are present in this class, it was
necessary to create assignments that would allow those students who fell within the concrete random category to use their research, critical-thinking, and problem-solving skills. These students chose the writing assignment that included researching a list of Georgia’s key physical features, how these features affected Georgia’s development, and how these features can help our citizens through our current economic times. Within this assignment, the students had the choice of working with classmates or working alone. This choice met the learning styles of both the interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligence types (Smaldino, Lowther, & Russell, 2007). Another assignment choice, which the students who fell within the concrete sequential category chose, was to locate examples of physical features within each region and build models of at least one feature for each region. Example ideas provided were waterfalls, one of the barrier islands, part of the Appalachian Trail, and a section of one of our significant rivers or lakes. Content Outline Lesson Introduction The teacher will introduce the lesson by talking about the differences the students would encounter if they were to visit the different regions within the state of Georgia.
Expectations The teacher will inform the students what they should be able to demonstrate at the conclusion of the lessons by clearly explaining the lesson objectives. In addition, the teacher will post essential questions each day so the students will know what they should learn. Topics • Georgia’s location: Georgia is located in the southeastern region of the United States. It lies within the North American continent, the northern hemisphere, and the western hemisphere. • Geographic regions: The Valley Ridge and Appalachian Plateau are located in the northwest corner of Georgia. The Blue Ridge Mountains extend from the center of the northern portion of the state all the way to its eastern border. The Piedmont region lies directly below the northern regions, extends from the western to the eastern borders, and ends at the Fall Line. The Coastal Plain encompasses the entire southern portion of Georgia beginning directly below the Fall Line. It also extends from the western to the eastern borders. It has a large border with the Atlantic Ocean and its southern border ends at the Florida state line (U.S. Geological Survey, 1997). • Key Physical Features: The Fall Line, which is the boundary between the Piedmont and Coastal Plain regions, extends from Columbus on Georgia’s western border to Augusta on Georgia’s eastern border. Along Georgia’s southern border with Florida lies the Okefenokee Swamp. The Appalachian Mountains extend from Alabama to Maine cutting through the northern portion of Georgia. The Chattahoochee River begins in the Appalachian Mountains, travels through Atlanta, and eventually forms the border between Alabama and Georgia. The Savannah River forms most of the border between
Georgia and South Carolina. It continues until it eventually flows into the Atlantic Ocean. Many barrier islands extend all the way from Georgia’s border with South Carolina to Georgia’s border with Florida. The largest barrier islands include Tybee, Cumberland, St. Simons, and Jekyll (Georgia Department of Natural Resources, n.d.). • How the key physical features affected Georgia’s development: From the fishing industry to the power industry and many other industries, Georgia’s key physical features have greatly affected the state’s economy, culture, and settlements. Audience Participation Plan The teacher will gain audience participation, throughout these lessons, by allowing students to share their experiences in the different geographical regions of Georgia. Another strategy to encourage audience participation is to have students present their research projects and talk about the models of Georgia’s key physical features they created. Lastly, I plan to have brochures available from each region so we as a class can read about and discuss the recreation possibilities, population density, industries, etc. in the regions.
References Georgia Department of Education. (2006). Social studies standards. Retrieved February 2, 2009, from http://www.georgiastandards.org/socialstudies.aspx Georgia Department of Natural Resources. (n.d.). Links to websites of the Georgia coastal barrier islands. Retrieved February 2, 2009, from http://crd.dnr.state.ga.us/content/
displaycontent.asp?txtDocument=422 Smaldino, S.E., Lowther, D.L., & Russell, J.D. (2007). Instructional technology and media for learning. (9th Edition). New Jersey: Merrill/Prentice Hall. U.S. Geological Survey. (1997, June 10). U.S. geological survey programs in Georgia. Retrieved February 3, 2009, from http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/FS-010-96/
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