After doing this project, there are a few things I think went really well, and some things that could be improved upon. First, let me start by saying that I will be doing this project with the 4th grade students again next year, however there will be improvements made. When I look back and think about what we could improve on, it mostly comes down to organization. By having the students complete their planning and rough drafts on paper, this made it possible for worksheets to be misplaced or taken home and forgotten about. Next year, I will have the students complete the worksheet in Google Docs and type their rough draft. After they complete their rough draft, I will show them how to use spell check and have them have at least one classmate critique their story before saving it as the final draft. Another organization issue was in using the Legos. With the way my schedule is, I only had 25 minutes with each 4th grade class every 4 days. This is really not enough to complete even one scene, so the first classes I had using the Legos saved their creations to complete later. This meant that there were not enough Legos for the other classes to complete their creations, and we forgot which bins the Lego pieces came from. To solve this issue I combined my 4th grade classes. Where I usually had one class working on Legos and another checking out books, I simply combined them and let them pause to check out books at a time that worked for them. Next year I will begin the project with a combined class as it seems to make the project go much faster. Finally, in using the Legos I did not leave enough time to clean up so the boxes did not get sorted back to the way they were at the beginning of the unit. Luckily I have some 5th grade girls that will help me out, but next year I will need to spend part of a period explaining how the Legos should be sorted and be more vigilant as the students pick up.
Now on to the great things that have come from this project! First and foremost, the students were having fun learning. The students learned a lot of things, but the thing they will always remember is being able to "play" with Legos in the library. This Lego project allowed me to combine language arts, technology, and art into one lesson. It built community through collaboration as groups of students worked together at Lego bins. It built confidence as students found something they could be successful in, and ultimately, it made the students feel good.
(More pictures to come.)