Project 1: Project Groundhog

  General Information

Lead Teacher: Cindy May-Follet
(cmay@calvin.stemnet.nf.ca)
Participating Teacher(s): Kim Dixon, Patrica Noonan, Noleen Rumbolt, Alpha Clouston, Elizabeth Tibbo, Sandra Penny, CArol-Ann Granter, Mary-Sheppard, Diane Breen, Rhonda Mahr, Marie Fifield, Sharon White, Darlydene Mercer, Alice Ivany.
Grade Levels: Kindergarten - Grade Two
Number of Students Involved: 300
Project Start and Finish Dates: January, 1998 to April, 1998

  Project Overview

This submission for a Stellar Schools Project for Gander Academy is based on the following beliefs:

  1. While the Internet is an invaluable learning tool for students, many of its resources are too advanced for primary students. The language at many Internet sites is either too difficult for them to read or contains material that contributes very little to help fulfill curriculum objectives. To overcome these problems, many primary schools are using teacher directed projects that involve students in the collection of information. The teacher is then responsible for its dissemination across the Internet for others to use. This approach is exemplified in Project Groundhog.
  2. Teachers today are encouraged to use a resource-based approach to teaching all subjects. Using many different resources enables the teacher to provide a variety of learning experiences for their students. Consequently, teaching and learning is more than text based. Videos, CD-ROMs and additional print materials all help to lessen the linear look commonly associated with textbook based programs. Today, the Internet has become yet another resource teachers can use to support the resource-based approach.

Gander Academy has a long history of using resource-based teaching. This approach has been used in all areas of study, particularly in Language Arts, Science and Social Studies in the primary grades for many years. This Stellar School proposal is an extension of a resource based unit on weather and climate and learning about other places.

Upon the completion of phase one of this project, we will have:

  1. introduced and encouraged the participation of all primary teachers (kindergarten to grade two) in Project Groundhog.
  2. made connections with other primary teachers and classes through the use of email.

  Curriculum Connections

There are three curriculum areas being addressed by this project. They are Science, Social Studies and Language Arts. Details will be provided later.

Intended Learning Outcomes

The intended learning outcomes of the project and their relationship to provincial learning outcomes are listed below.

1. Research Skills:

Through Project Groundhog, primary students will research weather related topics using the resources of the school’s library. They will also be recording weather statistics for their community from the radio or television or learning to read a thermometer placed outside their classroom.

2. Science and Social Studies

This project will compliment topics covered in the primary science and social studies programs. The science program contains a unit on the weather. The social studies program includes units people’s interaction with weather and seasonal changes. In language students are encouraged to use weather vocabulary and to write about weather related topics. This Stellar School project will mean a continuation of this work. With the help of their teacher, student will share the weather information collected with other classes in their group. They will learn about weather in other places and decide, based on the weather information received, whether the groundhog was right when it emerged from its home and looked for its shadow. The diagrams and illustrations that compliment this work will be scanned images of student drawings and photographs. These will be shared with other classes via attachments using email.

3. Language Skill Development

At the primary level, writing is a collaborative process. Teachers often write stories on flip charts. Students often provide the teachers with ideas and contribute to the content. Since Project Groundhog is a teacher directed activity, letters to other students will be written by the students, but typed on the computer by the teacher. Essentially, the computer screen will replace the flip chart. Through the activity, teachers will be introducing writing concepts.

4. Art and Computer Imaging

One Project Groundhog involves sending pictures via the Internet. Scans of student artwork can be sent to schools via email attachments. At Gander Academy, the artwork will be added to the schools webpage devoted to the project.

Intended learning outcomes for Technology Education

The use of computers and computer related equipment will require students to learn basics computer skills such as using a mouse, keyboarding, using Windows, navigating the Internet using a web browser, image processing and writing with a word processor. The work will stored on the network server. Through their participation, students will learn the fundamentals of networking. All computer related activities will be monitored to ensure that the expectations as outlined in the sections on the nature of technology, communications technology and production technology as presented in A Curriculum Framework for Technology Education; Living in a Technological Society are accomplished. This Stellar Schools project will help students to:

  • demonstrate knowledge of the nature and evolution of communications tools and processes
  • use a variety of communications technologies and tools
  • use communication tools to access, evaluate and select appropriate information and to create, modify and disseminate information
  • choose and use appropriate tools
  • develop a vocabulary of the language and terminology of selected production technologies

  Resource Connections

School Resources

Project Groundhog will enhance the weather unit covered in the primary grade. It will give Gander Academy students access to certain Internet resources. This will compliment the ones that exist in the school’s and town’s library and the resources teacher have collected over the years.

Other Resources

The training required for this project will draw on the resources of the school based computer resource teacher for Gander Academy. Inservice sessions are planned for mid-January shortly before the project is to begin.

  Evaluation

This project’s impact on the school and curriculum could be evaluated in the following ways:

  • through student feedback, both oral and written
  • through observations and suggestions from students while participating in various challenges within the project.
  • observations on student’s knowledge of how information obtained on the Internet can be downloaded or printed for future use.
  • observations on how information can be sent via email over the Internet.
  • evaluation of objectives of the various curriculum areas that correlate with this project.

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