Lesson: Country Travelogue

Author: Marc Sheehan

Sources of Ideas: Mary Ruth and Katy Korzeniecki, St. Philomena Catholic School (Des Moines, Washington)

Subjects: Social Studies, Writing, Research Skills, Technology Skills

Instructional Level: Sixth Grade

Skills: Utilizing techology to complete a project, Writing, Research

Time: Three to Four Weeks: four weekly in-class sessions for research and putting the project together, another two consecutive days for sharing final products

Materials/Necessary Tools: Computers, internet access, digital projector, electronic slideshow program (I used Google Slides, but PowerPoint would work), journals for note-taking, writing utensils

The student will utilize technology to conduct research on a given topic.
The student will use technology to create and present an electronic slideshow at a level appropriate to his/her grade level.
The student will be able to synthesize research to create a project using grade-level written work.

Introduction: I worked on this project with the Sixth Grade class at St. Philomena Catholic School in Des Moines, Washington, during a long-term assignment in 2016. To introduce the project, I asked the students to pick a country or two they would like to visit. They wrote about their selections in their English journals and had the opportunity to share their candidate nations, with a view toward this upcoming assignment. A few days later, I shared the requirements for the project: the students would choose a country to research and create an electronic travelogue highlighting tourist attractions or sites of interest in that nation. I created an example using Google Slides about the United States and showed that to my class to give them an idea of what they were to do for the project.

Procedure: I gave the students the following instructions in written form:
Your task: Create a travelogue using Google Slides about a country or territory outside the United States. You will have at least 9 slides:
1 introductory slide: give your name, your country, and an image of the country
7 slides about sites or points of interest in the country you select
1 bibliography slide showing the resources you used to complete this project with at least 2 research sources using EasyBib.

Your 7 main slides about your country will focus on places or events people would like to visit in your country. These can feature:
famous buildings
historical sites
wildlife preserves
national parks
state/provincial/local parks
cultural events and festivals
Students were given the suggestion to look up national tourist bureaus to help focus their research.

Use one feature per slide.

Each of the 7 main slides will include:
An image of the site
A description of the site in 3-4 sentences: what is it, where is it, why people should visit

The students were given a timeline of when the slides were due: the first three in nine days, the next three a week later, and the final three the following week. Each set of slides were to be submitted to me so I could check on their progress. Our school librarian graciously gave over four separate Computer Lab days for our project and offered much assistance to the students as they worked. Students were also urged to work on the project outside of class so they could get everything done well and on time. The students were also instructed to cite at least two of the research sources they used by utilizing EasyBib

Closure/Modifications: The students shared their slideshows to their classmates over two class sessions. The slideshows were submitted to me electronically so that I could offer corrections and suggestions. The project could be modified in terms of length, either number of slides and/or number or sentences per slide. The project was done in stages, but the time requirements could be altered (submit two every five days, for example). Students could have their work scribed for them if necessary. Students could focus on getting their ideas written down, while the teacher or someone provides assistance with editing those ideas. The students could also be given ideas to use (e.g. for Ireland -- include Dublin) to better focus their research.

Assessment: The slideshows were graded on completeness (all 9 slides done); on the use of grade-level writing skills in spelling, grammar, and composition; on the required use of the research citations; and quality of the project -- was it informative? Was it interesting? Was it legible (could read the typed information on the slides)? Was it done with appropriate writing and images?

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