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What in the World..?!?

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Keywords: creative writing, math, photography, Book Making, technology, science, ENGLISH
Subject(s): English/Language Arts, Photography, Special Needs, Technology, Art, Science, Math
Grades 3 through 5
School: Gray's Creek Elementary School, Fayetteville, NC
Planned By: Phyllis Correll
Original Author: Phyllis Correll, Fayetteville
All children love and deserve access to technology. Nothing will grab a student's interest and attention like new software or a new gadget. My students are no exception. I'm a new teacher working in a self-contained special education classroom. My students range from 3rd to 5th grade and all have significant mental and physical disabilities.

It has amazed me to watch them gravitate and master technology. Many of my students are non-verbal and most cannot read independently, but all can turn on the classroom computers, load their favorite learning games and work independently on phonic and math skills.

It was my students high level of motivation that inspired our "What in the World..!?!" project this year. My students gather materials from around the school and playground, e.g. a feather, an acorn, a moth. Sometimes they focus on a particular room in the school, e.g. the nurse's office.

The students then use the digital microscope in our class to magnify the items and take pictures. They vote on their favorite picture and import it into a Word document poster template I helped them create.

The students print out several copies of the poster and display them on the school's bulletin boards. Students in all grades are encouraged to guess what the magnified object is. The winning answers are announced weekly during morning announcements. My students then sort and graph top five answers.

This project has given my students a wonderful leadership opportunity that they usually don't experience. They absolutely beam when students and teachers ask them for hints on the weekly mystery photo.

I would love to take this project to the next level by letting the students use digital cameras, memory sticks, and photo printers to capture images that aren't accessible with the microscope. In addition, the students can use these supplies to create their own "I Spy" books. With the right tools, there is no limit to what these spectacular kids can do!!
Technology has provided my students with an amazing bridge to new worlds. Computers and photographs help us keep stepping across into new adventures!
Once the students create their "I Spy" books, we are planning to share them with the pre-k classes in our school. We would also like to highlight the books in our library at our Spring Family Literacy Night.
Materials: Science, Math, Flash/USB Drives, Batteries, Camera Bags, Point and Shoot, Wildlife, Mobile Labs, Word Processor, Spreadsheet
Other Items: 3 Photo ink cartridges, $ 32.00 each, total of $96.00
1 Photo printer, $ 150.00 each, total of $150.00
5 Photo paper 100 sheet, $ 10.99 each, total of $54.95