Wells and Clean Water Part 2

I met with my two Fifth Grade classes last Wednesday and we started the research portion of our project. I began by categorizing the questions they came up with the week before in their KWL Moodle Forum discussions. Their questions fell into the following categories:
  • Engineers - Responsible for sharing well designs and ways to keep well clean.
  • Global Corespondents- Responsible for direct communication with the Cambodian students.
  • Health Workers - Responsible for teaching us what happens when people drink contaminated water.
  • Ambassadors - Responsible for teaching us about Cambodia and its people, with attention to the governments efforts to bring clean water to Cambodian villages.
  • Aid Workers - Responsible for reviewing the different Aid Organizations and making a recommendation to our group: Which organization best fits our plans to "Make a Difference?"
I created a Moodle "Choice" survey so students could select their groups. The next time I'll set limits to the number of students in each group and open the survey at the same time for both classes (something students in my second class faulted me for not doing). The result is that I have two engineering groups and two health worker groups, but just one group all the others. Ideally, I would have the students work "cross classrooms."

Each Team created a Google Doc for their team and shared it with me.

Lindsay and I created a Google Doc with links to a variety of resources. Students will have two weeks to complete their research.

I feel things are going well, except that I only see my 5th graders once-a-week for about 40 minutes. It's hard to maintain momentum.



  1. Renee and Lindsay,
    I've been working on posts in chronological order so my previous questions now seem really out of it; so sorry!

    The categories for your project are such good ones as are your strategies for group creation.

    You asked about maintaining momentum-- I'm wondering if your adding comments to their Google Docs and then letting them know there are comments might be helpful? Do you have ways of communicating with them now electronically when you don't see them? Do you use a twitter, twiducate, or other social media account on which you could post comments and celebrate progress, and cheerlead? Are these students in Lindsays' class on a more regular basis? Can she ask them to briefly report on progress and bring your comments to their attention?
    Might any of these jump start your own thinking on possibilities?

  2. Our challenge is that as "Specialist" teachers, we don't see our students regularly. I seem my 5th graders once-a-week for 40 minutes. I didn't see them this past Wednesday because of a field trip. Lindsay sees her classes twice-a-week. 5th graders don't have regular access to email or their Google Docs during the academic day. 6th graders have slightly more liberty. Oh yes, and we can't assign homework. I do communicate with the students via their Google Docs, which they love.
    Ideally, this would be part of the "regular" curriculum. In fact, one of the 5th graders teachers was a PLPeep last year, and did a similar project on Foster Care. It was a huge success! It wasn't possible this year, but I have hope that passion-based learning will become a regular part of the curriculum next year.