The students at Summit School of Ahwatukee have had some unique opportunities recently to explore the different core subjects through the use of technology.
In the computer lab at Summit, the students of fourth-grade teachers Kelly Makay and Kyle Allen worked diligently on Wednesday on a new set of projects aimed at increasing knowledge. They recently completed PowerPoint presentations about Native American myths and legends, which they had to retell in their own words through their slides and then present to their classmates.
The students were guided by Gail Soderquist, who wrote a book called “Have You Ever Slept on Sheep’s Wool,” about her experiences teaching on the nearby reservation.
“The kids are not just learning social studies, but technology as well,” Makay said. “For this project they became an expert on a Native American tribe and had to design a presentation with pictures and original text.”
Another project they did in honor of the Arizona Centennial was to create their own website that featured an Arizona city or landmark. They had creative control over what went on the page and highlighted places like Tombstone, the Grand Canyon, and the Meteor Crater, which went online for the other classmates to view.
“I like working on things on the computer because it’s easier to find stuff if you just type it into Google,” student Finley Lecky, 10, said.
A project in Spanish took on a different form. Students got into pairs and wrote and recorded a video, half in Spanish and half in English. Fourth-graders and sisters Cammi and Cassi Bych did a weather report which they created themselves.
“We got to write our own script and it was a lot of work with a camera,” Cassi said.
The goal, Makay said, is not just to get them comfortable with technology, but to improve the overall learning experience with a medium that is more interactive.
“Teachers in different subjects get together and discuss how to collaborate to make it a richer learning experience for the kids,” she said. “We want to create excitement about what we are doing, which leads to them becoming life-long learners.”
It isn’t just fourth grade, either. The students are exposed to technology and the overlapping in subjects begins in kindergarten, Summit spokesperson Kathy Covert said.
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