I posted last week about Why I Use Google Chrome on the iPad. That post spawned from our research project on Michelangelo. And no, I don’t teach art. I teach fourth and fifth grade special education. The point of the project was to conduct a research project in a small group setting so that I could guide and model the steps an independent learner would take to begin a research project. Honestly, I struggled with the topic selection – should I choose a science or social studies topic to span content areas and address more standards? Or was it okay to choose this random artist that the rest of the world has been exposed to, but my rural students had never heard of? I decided to give my students the art. Why shouldn’t they, too, have the experience of fine art.
Now, there were several obstacles to overcome before I ever began this project. First and foremost – a lot of Michelangelo’s artwork was done in the nude. So not going there with my ten and eleven year olds! Instead, I made good use of the Pic Collage app! I found images of some of Michelangelo’s best known works - The Pieta, David, and The Sistine Chapel – using the search feature in the app, and then cut and pasted some decorative leaves for the artwork. I liked Pic Collage for this because searching for the images, cutting out the leaf, and saving my work was all self-contained. I didn’t have to go between the Internet and the app.
Next, I dropped the images I had edited into a quick little slideshow using Sonic Pics. This was only about a minute long, but let me narrate the images so that my students got a look at Michelangelo’s most famous works. The kids viewed this on their iPads and had about 5 minutes to view the other images in the Michelangelo Dropbox folder I shared with them. This way they could free explore the images and play with the zoom features.
As this was a group research project, we developed a series of questions we wanted to answer together. I then chose some appropriate websites and placed them in a folder in Google Chrome. (Yay for syncing bookmarks across devices!) We discussed appropriate search terms and practiced asking the questions into the Google microphone. We also utilized the accessibility features and speak selection options to have the websites read to us. Read more about our actual research in the prior post.
Our last activity was not techy at all, but it was awesome! After publishing, the kids painted the Sistine Chapel. I taped some paper underneath my kidney tables and my students created their own masterpieces. While we learned in our research that Michelangelo didn’t really lay down to paint the Sistine Chapel, we did it anyway just to get the experience of painting like that. The kids (an adults who visited) loved it!