Thursday, October 8, 2009

Let it Snow! By Kathy Sanders and Gwen Pavelski

I was very intrigued while reading this article! It is amazing to think that this project was conducted by a group of second graders. For those of you who haven't read this particular article, a group of 19 second graders engaged in a collaborative project and displayed a partnership between their teacher and the library media specialist. This project came about when there was a record breaking snowfall in Cottage Grove, Wisconsin. They researched a natural event in their community and met multiple learning goals in a new and authentic way. Throughout this project they met many of the NETS standards as well as Wisconsin's content standards. They were fascinated by the idea that they were witnessing and were participants in history by living through frequent and record breaking snowfalls. The students started off by researching and reading fiction and nonfiction books about snow to gain a general knowledge. From there they formulated questions and did research and experiments to answer these questions. With technology, they drew snowflakes using digital drawing tools and then compared theirs to that of an actual snow crystal. The next phase of this project was conducting interviews to hear from different perspectives. They interviewed the superintendent of the school, a local meteorologist, and a head custodian of what their job consisted of and how it is influenced by the weather. The students were able to connect what they had discovered in their own classroom to a larger scale with their community. The students created a web page to document their snow project with the use of digital photography, digital video interviews, a blog, computer art, and voice threads. It amazing to know that they also used spreadsheets and Internet searches that helped the students learn the importance of data collection. Shockingly, they found that the total snow depth was of that compared to two second graders standing on top each others shoulders. These visual representations is a good tactic and tool as the learners can see the snow totals in a concrete way. As far as assessing these students of their understanding, the teacher used rubrics and reflection narratives to test that. This activity and project reinforced multiple literacy's including visual, spatial, kinesthetic, reading, mathematical and expressive. Feedback from the students is of most importance and one students who completed this assignment commented that, "This was my best day of school ever".

I really enjoyed reading this article and kept questioning how old these students were. I am still shocked to know that these second graders were able to conduct all of these interviews and use specific technology tool that for I haven't even used. I am sure there was a lot of teamwork involved as well as assistance and guidance from both the teacher and the library media specialist. I think this would be a wonderful end of the year project that most students will always look forward to doing. After reading the article, I would allow 2-3 weeks to complete the given project as it involves a lot of time and effort on both the students and the teachers. It incorporates a wide array of technology tools and also multiple literacy's. This would be something that I would definitely use when becoming a teacher. You can even change the concept of snow to rain, tsunamis and so on. It all depends on your location and what is typical of these places so the students aren't shocked and unaware of what it consists of. This article provided snapshots of certain web pages created by the students but am curious to see the entire project. All in all, I am very impressed with these second graders and give the teacher and library media specialist praise for helping and guiding these students!


  1. wow! the teacher really must know how to use the technology very well so that she was able to teach her second graders how to use it. unfortunately we don't get snow . we barley get water each year. but i bet we could find some other kind of thing to look at. but that teacher must of had the resources and the time to be able to have the children do such a large and complex assignment. but i guess if you have the time and resources to do something likes this than do it. the kids will able to get a great education and have fun.

  2. That's pretty impressive, like you I can't believe a group of second graders completed this project. I like how the students were able to use so many forms of technology in this project, it seems like a lesson/project like this takes a ton of preparation. It would be interesting to see how much work the teacher put into this project and then how much the second graders did on their own. Sounds like a great project - but a lot to take on. BRAVO for the teacher! sounds like a great article.