In third grade, my classmates and I brought a wide range of items to school that signified the time in which we were living.
There was a black Sony walkman with padded headphones, a GI Joe figure, a Hartford Courant newspaper, a copy of Shel Silverstein’s poem “Messy Room” and a video cassette of Goonies. Yes, 1986 was a glorious time. At the end of the school year we all stood around a big hole behind school and buried our keepsakes so that they might be unearthed by a future generation. My daydreaming about this fond memory sparked an idea – weekly virtual time capsules!
The process of selecting an item to put in a class time capsule helps students to form an idea of the overarching thought or feeling of the time, it necessitates decision making, and it creates an indelible memory (as my experience at Martin Elementary did!) Let’s not limit ourselves to the creation of physical capsules. Therefore, I suggest we make virtual time capsules that will capture our students’ main ideas at the end of each week or each unit. This will enable them to conceptualize their learning, reflect on their growth and even predict what might be on the horizon.
How? Design a Time Capsule quiz to save each student’s weekly choices.
- Create an example for modeling purposes and discuss your answers with your students. Ask students to offer suggestions and personal anecdotes about the questions.
- Initiate the activity at the end of each week or unit.
- Post all the weekly reports to your class website, blog, wiki, dropbox folder or print them out and hang them on your wall.
- Revisit the time capsule periodically throughout the term so students can reflect on their growth, make connections and have some laughs.
- What is the headline of this week?
- What are two new ideas/concepts you learned this week?
- What was the most challenging activity this week?
- What do you predict will happen next week?
- What song, YouTube clip or game did you especially enjoy this week?
- What happened in the news this week?
You could use the Short Answer functionality to brainstorm questions and then vote on the ones to be included in the time capsule quiz. Add photos, videos and more! Urge students to provide you with photos, audio clips, video clips and any other form of expression that further encapsulates that week.