Tik a Tok for Colorado History Final Project

Jessica Trowbridge

Fourth Grade History Standard 1.a - d

1. Organize and sequence events to understand the concepts of chronology and cause and effect in the history of Colorado

  • Construct a timeline of events showing the relationship of events in Colorado history with events in United States and world history (DOK 1-2)
  • Analyze primary source historical accounts related to Colorado history to understand cause-and-effect relationships (DOK 2-3)
  • Explain the cause-and-effect relationships in the interactions among people and cultures that have lived in or migrated to Colorado (DOK 1-2)
  • Identify and describe how major political and cultural groups have affected the development of the region (DOK 1-2)

After gathering information from various in-print and online sources, fourth grade students who have come to the end of the Colorado History Unit, will create a digital storybook using Tik a Tok that details at least five important events or eras in Colorado History and the impact that they had on the development of the region so that it is easily read by other fourth graders.

21st Century Skills and Bloom's Taxonomy Level:
There are several different NETS 21st Century Skills that are touched on with this particular project. The first one is the facilitation and inspiration of student creativity. It allows the students to apply existing knowledge to create new ideas and products. This project also allows students to create their own original works as a means of personal expression. It also facilitates learning experiences that incorporate digital tools and resources to promote student learning and creativity. This project also reaches the create level of Blooms Taxonomy. In order to successfully complete the project the students must go beyond remembering the information, but they must understand and then apply what they have learned to making a decision as to which events were the most important in Colorado history. They then must analyze further information and create a story of their own with details of the event or era as well as what the impact may have been on the development of the state.

Overview of the Technology Tool:
Tik a Tok is an online publishing tool that allows student to create picture books that can be downloaded as pdf files or can be purchased and printed into hardcover or soft cover books. The service starts off at $19 a year and pricing goes up from there. This does allow unlimited student accounts that can be checked by the teacher at any point during the lesson to assess the students progress. The site offers several different templates for various types of projects or the student can start from scratch and create their own completely original work. The layout is simple and easy to use and projects range from Kindergarten to Sixth Grade. The projects can then easily be shared with friends, family, and classmates by being transferred to a computer or tablet. The project templates are all arranged to fit with the Common Core state Standards and for younger children include writing prompts. This is a great tool to use both at school and at home to engage student creativity.

Tik a Tok

Lesson and Assessment:
The lesson would begin at the end of the unit on Colorado History. By this point, the students should understand the development of Colorado history and be able to determine at least five events or eras in Colorado history that they believe are the most important. The students will first create a storyboard that they can use as a template with a description of the events of their choice and the way that they believed the event shaped the development of Colorado. The project can be completed either in pairs or alone. In pairs there would be the extra element of collaboration; however, if used as an assessment of knowledge acquired during the unit it would be ideal to have each student create an individual project. The students will have creative freedom with their books, they may choose to make a non-fiction story or they may choose to create a character that travels back to these historical events and give their own interpenetration of the importance. The project will essentially be student driven with guidance from their teacher to keep them on task and to assist in researching the events. The final project should include at least 5 events. Each event should have a page that includes the history and another page detailing how the event aided the development of the state. Each page should include graphics and should read like a picture book.

What is the Added Value?
The lesson allows students to bring together all of the knowledge that they have acquired over the unit and put it together in to one final project. It really allows that students to have a creative outlet, which is fairly uncommon in the traditional teaching methods, especially in history. This project allows students to determine their own process by which their story is created. They determine what events to use and how they feel they impacted the development of the state. It also takes a lesson that has been used many times in the past, the creation of a storybook, and takes it into the 21st century by creating a digital story that can be widely shared and enjoyed by fellow students and even classes in the future. This lesson allows technology to play a role in the lesson, but at the same time, not become the lesson.

What I Learned:
This lesson showed me how many tools there really are than can transform a traditional lesson into a lesson that is fit for the 21st century. There are so many tools out there that can take a lesson to a whole different level and can allow the students to really take control of their education and let creativity be something that is emphasized in every lesson. In a world where we are teaching students to solve problems that do not yet exist we must teach them to embrace thinking outside of the traditional paper and pencil lessons and allow students to see what is really possible when there are no limits placed on them. When you assign lessons like this where you outline the minimum for the lesson, the students can only work up from there and will be able to create final products that are beyond even what the teacher had anticipated for the lesson. Lessons are no longer just about the content, they are about finding solutions and bringing new ideas into the way we present and use information.