Let Freedom Ring A Study of our National Symbols A Social Studies Lesson for 3 rd Grade Judy McClurg William Brooks Elementary School May 19, 2001
Let Freedom Ring This lesson is designed to allow students to construct their own knowledge of the national symbols that represent our most cherished ideal… FREEDOM ! This lesson is best taught during the months of January and February. It’s a natural tie in to a study of Martin Luther King, Jr. The lesson can take anywhere from 2-4 weeks.
Let Freedom Ring How This Lesson Relates to California Standards Grade 3 – Social Studies: Continuity and Change 3.4 Students understand the role of rules and laws in our daily lives and the basic structure of the U.S. government, in terms of: 3.4.3 The stories and histories behind important local national landmarks, symbols, and essential documents that create a sense of community among citizens and exemplify cherished ideals (e.g., the U.S. flag, the bald eagle, the Statue of Liberty, the U.S. Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Capital, Mount Rushmore, the Liberty Bell, the Great Seal of the United States, Uncle Sam, the Pledge of Allegiance, and the White House).
Let Freedom Ring Instructional Objectives Students will score 80% or higher on a test that requires them to correctly identify twelve national symbols when reading a descriptive phrase(s) about each symbol. Students will demonstrate ability to use the Big 6 research model by producing a flipbook that contains information gathered from reference books, informational books, and online resources.
Activities Students visit jigzone.com, an online puzzle site, and solve puzzles of several national symbols. Students receive instruction on the “Big 6” research model and generate research questions. Students visit Worldbook Online’s Statue of Liberty site and practice searching a website for information. Students will use the computer catalog in the library to locate sources of information. Students visit a government website called bensguide to gather information on their assigned national symbol.
More Activities Students will be grouped in twos and will join two students from another 3 rd grade class to gather information. Students will record information about their symbol on note cards and keep them in research folders. Students will copy images from clipart and online sources and store them in their computer files. Each student will create a flipbook containing information and images that have been gathered from books, references books, and online. Students will take part in a patriotic assembly in which they will share patriotic songs and information about the national symbols.
Technology Activities This is our classroom technology center. We finally went online in January and we were able to complete some of our online research here as well as in the lab. So cool!
Activities – Research Online The students worked in our computer lab with the help of our district librarian, our school librarian, and parent volunteers. We have learned so much!
Activities – How to Use the Internet Mary Helen Fisher, our district librarian, gave a lesson on Internet research. We visited the website for the Statue of Liberty and completed a website scavenger hunt.
Assessments Students took a pretest that was set up as a group of riddles asking “Who Am I?” Class average on the pretest was 32%! Ouch! We have a lot to learn!
Assessments After our unit of study, the students took a posttest that was set up the same way as the pretest but with slightly different wording and order. Class average was 91%. Graph of results (left).
Rubrics – Self-evaluation Students completed a two page self- evaluation on their flipbooks. The first page was a “yes and no” questionnaire. The second page had them rate themselves on all aspects of their book using a 4 point rubric.
Internet Integration Our introductory activity was to visit jigzone.com and complete puzzles of the national symbols. Most of our research was done at a great government website called bensguide.
Other Technology We used a scanner, a printer, and an LCD projector. Students learned to create files, save their text, download and save pictures and info, and insert pictures and text. We have learned a lot TOGETHER!
Lesson Revisions This unit has been a “work in progress” from the very beginning. I knew what I wanted to do because I had taught the unit before, but now I needed to incorporate all the technology. I must have changed my plans a dozen times to fit time frames and student capabilities.
Lesson Implementation We began our lesson in January and finished it at the end of February. The students gave their patriotic assembly during the week before presidents’ weekend. Flipbooks were completed afterward and were on display at Open House. I regret that we did not videotape the performance, and I did not take pictures of the flipbooks.
Student Performance The students really enjoyed this unit and learned a lot. We coordinated with another 3 rd grade class so that students could share research materials and information. Growth in knowledge, as evidenced by the pre and post test scores, was tremendous.
What I Have Learned What have I learned? Well, considering I was a Techno Idiot at the beginning of this course, I guess you could say I’m a changed person! I mean, look at me! I’m creating links, inserting photos and graphics, and putting in sound and effects. Not to mention all the file management and web-building skills. I’m actually looking forward to creating at least three lessons for my students next year, not to mention a class website. Yippee! Look at me! I’m a Techno Babe!
It’s been the best of times and the worst of times, but we’ve survived it. I appreciate the opportunity to have worked with all of you. I think we all deserve a big round of applause! Thanks, Annette and Sandy, for everything!