Phase 4: Plan B

Plan B began to take shape, and I had learned a lot from the early stages of the FOSS Structures of Life unit. Fortunately, I would have to change my direction in regards to the Science content with this project, but not the ISB TAIL standards and my ideas for integrating technology. Here is a brief overview of the (new & improved) unit:

Students observe and record some of the structures of a crustacean, the crayfish. They establish a feeding and maintenance schedule for the organisms. Students investigate crayfish behavior by creating an enriched crayfish habitat. They map where the crayfish spend their time within their habitat. Students investigate crayfish territorial behavior.

The Science content looks like this:

• Crayfish have observable structures such as legs, pincers, antennae, eyes, swimmerets, a tail, and mouth parts.
• Crayfish have certain requirements for life, including clean, cool water; food; and shelter.
• Habitat is where an animal lives.
• Behavior is what an animal does.
• Some animals claim a territory that they protect from other animals.

We began by taking a short look at crayfish (thanks to this TeacherTube video), which many of the students hadn’t been exposed to before. It really got them interested, so that once the critters arrived in the classroom, the kids were ready, and super excited.

Looking back at the ISB TAIL standards, I realized that they would still connect (in a meaningful way) to this project. I was afraid I would have to either force it, or start over. But, the link was natural and I have a pretty clear idea of how this will go in the classroom after the break.

Here are some of the modifications I will need to make:

TAIL Standards:

Effective Learners

E.L. Standard 1: Students efficiently gather, critically evaluate, and effectively use information.
Performance Indicators:

  1. Students inquire about their learning to make connections to prior knowledge, determine relevance, and deepen understanding.

Students will be connecting their learning about crayfish with what they already know, and hopefully going a lot deeper, by asking questions, collaborating, and making connections. They will critically evaluate the information they have gotten from classroom activities, as well as independent exploration and questioning. They will then summarize and present this information in a series of slides. The challenge will be for students to not only give information about crayfish structures, behavior and habitats, but to also explain the important of how these 3 concepts are important to the survival of crayfish.

Effective Communicators and Creator
E.C.C. Standard 1: Students use appropriate media and environments to effectively communicate ideas, knowledge, and understanding to audiences ranging from local to global.
Performance Indicators:

  1. Students communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using media and format appropriate to both the task and the audience.
  2. Students use technology and other information tools to organize and display knowledge and understanding in ways that others can view, access, and use.

Notebook will be the application used by most of the students. They will also have the option of using VoiceThread. Basic skills will be taught (or reviewed, as they have seen me modeling this application), but from there collaboration will drive the process. Students will work together to learn how to share their learning, and which tools within the program work best to suit a specific purpose. The strength of this application is how it encourages students to be creative, including images, drawings, links, text, and color. Collaboration will be encouraged through the blog, at a local level (other students, parents, staff) and global, as the blog shares our learning with a global audience.

Effective Collaborators
E.C. Standard 1: Students connect with peers and recognized experts to collaborate, develop their own understanding, contribute to the learning of others, and contribute to the global society using a variety of media.
Performance Indicators:

  1. Students interact, collaborate, and publish with peers experts, or others using a variety of digital environments or media.

As mentioned earlier, collaboration will drive this task. Students will realize the importance of working together to learn how to share their learning, and which tools within the program work best to suit a specific purpose. They will need to teach and learn together. I will be there to guide and facilitate …


Goal: To produce a visual representation (slide OR short slideshow) using the Notebook application which explains the important of crayfish structures, behaviors and habitat to their survival.

Role: Students will be responsible for collaboratively producing a brief digital representation of their understanding of crayfish structures, habitats, and behaviors, and how these three concepts work together to help crayfish survive. They will need to carefully record their observations and understanding using words, sketches, diagrams, and digital photos to support their explanations.

Audience: Local and global. These will be posted on the class blog.

Situation: We will begin by focusing on crayfish structures, as it is an easy starting point for students to analyze. Then, we will expand our views to include the behaviors and habitat of crayfish, continuing to link our understanding to what crayfish need to survive, and why.

Product Performance: A Notebook slide or slideshow.

Extension: Students will be challenged to analyze the effect humans can have on crayfish habitats.

The Six Facets of Understanding:

Explain: Students will explain the importance of crayfish structures, as well as habitat and behavior. They will attempt to explain how crayfish have certain requirements for life.

Apply: Students will try to make connections, predictions, and inferences based on what they observe.

Interpret: Students will attempt to explain different aspects of crayfish behavior.

Perspective: Discussions based around crayfish structures, habitats and behaviors will encourage students to share their perspectives … and make them aware that there isn’t a “right” or “wrong” answer.

Self-Knowledge: Observations and understandings will be communicated and explained through discussion (student to student as well as student to teacher) to gauge depth of understanding. Knowledge (and experience) of Notebook will lead to more independence, and a chance to learn from each other as well.

Empathize: Students will develop an attitude of respect for life, and understand what crayfish need to survive.

Now it is time to implement Plan B …


~ by yamaguru on April 14, 2010.

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