Kicking off the Year with Fun Class Projects

Looking for a way to bring real-world learning into your classroom with projects? Well, there are tons of things you can try out this year, from a small, one-time project, to a year-long project. Some contain extensive use of technology while others have very little. I’ve found some great ones recently I just had to share with you…I’m looking for classrooms willing to try one or more of them out!

Projects with Jen

Jennifer Wagner organizes on projects all year long with teachers around the world on her Projects with Jen Ning (and yes, this is probably blocked at school…but don’t worry…it’s safe). The third grade at G.W. Carver participated in one of her projects last February called From Me To You 2008. They really enjoyed it, so I’m trying to get other teachers to try out some of her other projects. Here’s a few upcoming projects that really caught my eye:

O.r.e.o. (Our Really Exciting Online) Project 2008!

  • Runs from: Sept. 15-Oct. 10
  • Could be completed in 1 or 2 class periods, but includes enrichment ideas to take it further.
  • Entails stacking Oreo cookies and comparing results from around the world.

A Room with a View

  • Runs all year long with a picture and a writing assignment once a month.
  • Teachers will learn to upload digital pictures to a picture sharing site.
  • Students take a picture from a window in the classroom/school once a month and write about what they see. The share their pictures from classes around the world to see how seasons vary.

Gingerbread Man 2008

  • Runs from Nov. 1- Dec. 20.
  • Contains a variety of activities to go with the Gingerbread Man story, most of which require only a little bit of technology skill.


For older grades, Storychasers might be a fun way for your students to improve their writing skills while learning more about their families and community. It is described as “a multi-state (and potentially multi-national) educational collaborative empowering students and teachers to responsibly record and share stories of local, regional and global interest as citizen journalists. There are a variety of types of stories your students can collect, including biographies, careers, and (the one that REALLY caught my eye) ghost stories.

Ghost Stories with Story Chasers

  • Would like to do this project around October. Will take at least 3-4 class periods.
  • Students will collect and share local ghost stories via a podcast or digital story.
  • I’ll be really actively involved in assisting with this project in my schools, especially when it comes time to record and share stories.
  • More info to come.

Regions of Virginia Project

  • This project is open to 4th Grade Classrooms in Virginia. It meets 4th Grade Virginia Studies SOLs and Writing objectives. This project will run from Oct. 1-April 24, 2009. Registration is open now until Sept. 29!!
  • Students will collaborate with other 4th graders across Virginia to describe, compare, and contrast regions. They will use a Wiki, Google Maps, and possibily other technology tools.
  • This project is being coordinated by a group of ITRTS, including myself. I’ll be activly involved in assisting with this project. If you teach 4th grade at one of my schools, I’ll be bugging you about this very soon!

Ocean Threads

  • Will be open to all grade levels. Great for habitats, ocean animals, camoflauge, and other topics.
  • Students will formulate questions, as a class and in collaboration with other classes, to ask Meg Swecker. Meg will be embarking on a scuba diving expidition, and will answer the questions using actual pictures she’s taken underwater.
  • I’ll be happy to help teachers in my school learn to use Voice Thread and assist you with recording your students questions. As you collaborte with other classes to create questions for Meg, I’ll help facilitate that for you.
  • More info to come as Meg plans her next trip!

Math Zoo

  • This is a project is in the piolot phase and will be open to 3rd graders in select Salem City, Roanoke County, and Roanoke City schools. G.W. Carver and East can participate! It will target Math and Science SOLs skills with Mill Mountain Zoo activities.
  • More info to come! Let me know if you work with 3rd graders at one of my schools and are interested.

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