LESSON PLAN: Oh, Go Fly a Kite!
Devonshire, H. (1992). Science through art-flight. New York, NY: Franklin Watts, Inc.
Dixon, M. (1991). Flight. New York, NY: The Bookwright Press.
Gibbons, G. (1989). Catch the wind! All about kites. Boston, MA: Little, Brown and Company.
Kaufmann, J. (1980). Fly it! Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company.
Marks, B. and Marks, R. (1980). Kites for kids. New York, NY: Lothrop, Lee & Shephard Books.
Schmitz, D. (1978). Kite flying. Mankato, MN: Crestwood House.
World Wide Web Sources:
Childers, B. Kid Kite Web, 1996.
Kites for Kids Only.
Ellis, D. Kids, kites and
education do mix!, 1999. Kite history.
Ellis, D. Kids, kites and
education do mix!, 1999. Contents.
Ellis, D. Kids, kites and
education do mix!, 1999. Kite names.
St. George’s Preparatory
School, Bermuda. 1996. Kite Rules.
Staplehurst, J.A. 20 Kids * 20
Kites * 20 Minutes, 1997. Big Wind Kite Factory.
TIMELINE & COURSE OUTLINE:
Perhaps the greatest experience is that my students discover each and every time that these ‘toys’ depend on science and math in order to work.
I also include some basic
non-fiction texts such as Catch the Wind! All About Kites by Gail Gibbons because the
information is basic and presented in a simplified language format so that it is easier for the lower
level language learners to find a measure of success in developing research skills.
Technology as Facilitator
of Quality Education Model Components Highlighted in This Activity http://www.intime.uni.edu/model/modelimage.html
Following the Model of Technology as Facilitator of Quality Education Model, I feel that the Principles of Learning that were highlighted in the video included Active Involvement. This activity could not have been done if the students were not actively involved in all aspects of research. They did the brainstorming, questioning and even decided who was going to research each aspect. Active Involvement was also required in the information sharing aspect of their research.
This activity also included Patterns and Connections. There was one instance where the concepts of the forces - drag, lift, and gravity were unclear in their application to kite flying. As the students went through the day, they found that as they flew their kites, there is a clear application of these forces to kite flying. One student said, “If there wasn’t gravity, it wouldn’t be fun to try to fly a kite,” - and this was the same student who said earlier in the day, “I don’t like gravity because it always makes my kite crash.” These Connections are critical to see the importance of research.
The students designed their own kites and then attempted to fly them. After they flew their kites they spent some time with their journals reflecting on their experience and what they learned. This aspect of the activity involves Direct Experience, Reflection, Informal Learning, and Frequent Feedback. As the students brought in their kites (they had made them previous to the videotaping), they shared their designs and why they chose them. They gave each other a lot of feedback in the form of questions about their kite designs. As they flew them, they helped each other and also added a lot of feedback. As the teacher, I also provided a lot of feedback as they were doing their research.
I feel that the Reflection on their kites and how they flew is about as much of a Direct Experience as possible. They designed them without any other assistance, other than materials being provided, and then they had to make their materials lists for me so that I could find them. They researched information about flight and kite flying after they had built them, so this experience involved a lot of flexibility of thinking.
The students learned a lot in the formal learning environment as well as informally in their outdoor experience. They were actively involved throughout the activity, whether it was working with reference material or going outside to fly their kite, they were learning.
With Information Processing, I believe that all of the aspects of the model were highlighted. Appreciation was established when the students chose the topic for research. Presearch was done by using the K-W-H-L chart to establish what the students knew as a group and what they wanted to find out about kites and flight. The students divided up the questions to share the research, in which they used a variety of sources to Search for information, and then when they came back to the group, they had to share their information. There were some interesting moments when Interpretation was touched on, as several students found different dates for when the first kites were built. There was as much as 3000 years difference in the dates. They had to interpret the data and decide how they would use it in their report. They then had to decide how they were going to communicate their data to their audience (the second graders who will be learning about kites). This activity also included a lot of self-evaluation, and accountability for the final product. They were going to be the teachers of the next group of kite researchers and they wouldn’t want to share a mediocre product.
This activity involves a lot of language skills - oral, written, listening, reading. These are outlined in the National ESL Standards. These standards involve both informal, or communicative language skills, and a formal, or cognitive/academic language skills. See: http://www.tesol.edu/assoc/k12standards/it/01.html
The part of the model that I find the most interesting to respond to is the Tenets of Democracy. I strongly emphasize in my classroom that it is a safe place where we can be free to make mistakes, and no one will be put down for trying. Students take Individual Responsibility for their own learning and are given a great deal of choice in their topics of study. I use a lot of cooperative activities that involve Thinking Together and Making Meaning.
The one part of these tenets that is the most interesting is the Critical Thinking and Decision Making. Because of where they come from, some of my students have never experienced Democracy in the classroom. I have had a number of students who come from Communist or Socialist countries - and even if this political philosophy no longer stands, the effects can be seen in the classroom. There are some cultures that teach that the teacher is the giver of information and not to be questioned… To ask for clarification is likened to insulting the teacher, because their only job is to absorb the information and then be able to use it to answer questions on a test. Other students are taught to question everything. It is a challenge when both philosophies are in the same class! The class in the video was comprised of a Japanese student, a Mexican student, a Chinese student and a Chilean student. Only two had a common first language and all four have different philosophies about learning.
My responsibility here is to teach them about the American system of education and equip them with the skills they will need, both linguistically and culturally to find success in the American mainstreamed classroom.
I usually do this activity in the spring with my second grade students because it ties in nicely with their study of the weather in their science unit. This year it will also tie in with art, as we will have an artist in residence who is a kite builder and our art teacher has recently spent some time in Japan studying their art of kite building.
When I do this unit with older students, as I did in the video, it is intended to be a group building activity. Although it is not academically challenging, and kites can be a lot of fun, so the emphasis changes to building research skills, questioning, compiling information, sorting data, and putting their research into useable form.
With the cooperative aspect of this activity, the students who have different philosophies can learn a little about how things are done here. It also gives them a safe situation where they can experiment with some activities that might not be so comfortable to them, but will be necessary, as they become more a part of the mainstream.
Evolution of the Activity:
One area that has fallen behind, however, that I would like to bring back, is the person-to-person contact. In the past students called or visited businesses and experts that specialized in kites to find some of the information needed. This required them to use different language skills than what they use when doing classroom research, and gave them experience with using their developing language skills in public. It is easy to forget this aspect when the Internet gives you access to all of this information without leaving the room.
(Learning activity format adapted from National Educational Technology Standards for Students Connecting Curriculum & Technology http://cnets.iste.org/index2.html)