This week we had the pleasure of talking to Patrick Magnus, an ELL instructor for the French Bilingual Program.
He created an amazing authentic learning project which combined literacy, mathematics, gamification, and entrepreneurism and solved a huge need for tired teachers in the morning.
Without further ado here are his responses.
1. What did you want your students to know or understand?
The main idea I wanted the students to understand was that money is a finite resource and it must be managed properly.
The process of learning how to accept, track, and buy supplies is powerful for them to have when they become young adults and I wanted to at least plant this seed with them at this early stage.
2. What skills did you want your students to gain?
There were two main goals.
For literacy, it was the acquisition and authentic use of vocabulary involved in the basic business and finance.
Additionally, I wanted them to be able to use dialogue in text and use proper punctuation within it.
For mathematics, I wanted them to be able to read, analyze, and use graphs to measure growth and then communicate their findings.
A basic skill, but very powerful for their future.
3. How did you teach this lesson in the past?
To be honest, this is the first time I have taught it (overachiever) …
Yet there are already things I would like to change for the future. For example, we waited until the scripts for the commercials were perfect, but this took a lot of time.
However, when we shot the commercials, the scripts didn’t match the message we wanted.
Thus, we had to start over.
4. How did you problem-solve and be creative to come up with this new method for this lesson?
I actually started with the WIDA teacher resource.
It gave me the following:
Unit – MONEY – READING
Like I mentioned above, I wanted the students to gain a mastery over financial terms, so that is where I started.
This got me thinking about how I could actually bring this to life.
So I created a provocation in the form of a narrative (connection to the previous lesson) about the script of the “Two Cats’ Business” which mixed the vocab from the current unit in a story which described getting a loan from a “shadowy figure” as their business was not making money.
The goal was for the students to think of how they could help the Two Cats’ so they could make a profit and pay off the loan.
Of course, the end prize was the “The Glasses of Coolville” (who made anyone who wore them 100% cool).
I found they actually had a lot of difficulty with it in the beginning, so I reached out to the Grade 4 team to see how I might “gamify” the vocab.
This led me to Classcraft, where I made challenges based on vocab exercises.
The students really liked the “Boss battle” which assessed their knowledge of vocab, but they had the opportunity to collaborate and learn other ways to study the vocab. This helped them gain confidence.
Next, I did some gentle nudging and asked how they could use this vocab in the real world (Patrick raises his hand with a fake mug to his mouth)
Thus “The Activator” and “The Cool Coffee FBP” delivery businesses were born.
The students took on all the roles of both creating and running a coffee delivery business where they did everything – logo creation, writing commercial scripts, recording commercials, marketing, management, and customer fulfillment.
Business is booming, and the students are in the black (profit).
Patrick said he would have liked them already breaking down the charts and graphs, but this will come at the end of the delivery phase, as there are so many other things to be done to “run the business” right now.
Lacking some energy in the morning?
Reach out to the Grade 4-5 FBP classes if you need a “cup of joe” to add a pep in your step!
WIDA – Reading charts
Common Core Standards