Sparking Student Motivation Summarizing and Video Fun: Ancient Egypt Part 3

What!  More than one blog post in a week!  I know... I know... I can hardly believe it myself!  I'm really trying to sit down and do some reflection about this blog, and I'm resolving to spend a little more time here, even if that means writing and scheduling some of my posts ahead of time.
Today I'm linking up with one of my BBBs, Joanne at Head over Heels for Teaching.  Joanne is fabulous people!  I had the wonderful opportunity of meeting her in the summer, and her positive energy has helped me out many times!

If you've managed to read my posts this week, I've been blogging about the Ancient Egyptian tomb that my smarties put together.  If you are interested, you can read Part One and Part Two.

One of the things I loved about this project came at the end.  We had been practicing a lot of informational reading and writing skills throughout the unit.  Some of them we were teaching in ELA, and others in our social studies class.  We focused a lot on one sentence summaries when we were reading books about the subject. During that reading time I would pair my students with other smarties that were studying the same topic for the research portion.  This gave them a chance to make connections with other people who had similar topics.  It was a great way to reinforce key conversation skills.  At the end though, for  the last piece, I mixed it up a bit.  I had students pair up with anyone of their choice.  Naturally, they gravitated back to their buddies, but that didn't matter.  The challenge I gave them was to create a summary paragraph that connected their two topics.  WOW!  I got some amazing, powerful  paragraphs.  My students had to think about connections that weren't obvious. It was mind blowing to watch what they came up with:

One pair of students had to summarize how the Nile River connected to mathematics.  They wrote about how the Egyptians were responsible for creating a calendar similar to the one we use today, and they used it to mark the flood patterns of the Nile.  I know that doesn't sound like much, but they were into it because they could work with a friend! They also had to come up with pictures and create a collage that complimented the paragraph.  <I love that I could use the paper tablets I bought on clearance at Walmart for 3.00 for this project!>

Here is another example.  In this one, one student had Egyptian medicine, and the other had agriculture.  They wrote about how the Egyptians actually had to learn to grow and cultivate plants that had medicinal value!  Holy Moly Batman!  That's critical thinking!   Take that NYS ELA assessments!
Here is another picture of the projects on the wall.  Our benchmarks for social studies are above them.

Finally, to keep them motivated, I showed them some silly Egyptian videos along the way.
Have you see this one?  It is The Bangles Walk Like an Egyptian put to Michael Jackson's Remember the Time video:

and I have to save the best for last... there can't be Ancient Egypt without Steve Martin!


  1. Love these projects! The kids must have had so much fun and it looks like they really did some thinking. Fun videos too!!
    Beach Sand and Lesson Plans

  2. I am so glad King Tut by Steve Martin is being shared with the younger folks! =D How many HOURS did we listen to that LP back in the day!?!?

  3. This is great! I think being able to buddy/pair up for research is a powerful way to get students excited and engaged during learning about a topic. I love how you were able to incorporate all subjects into one project. I am sure the students enjoyed every second.
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

  4. I love that project! My mind is racing of what topics I can use in my classroom-I loved the ending project and how your students tied it together! That requires some critical thinking and creativity! Genius Michele! How many different topics did you have for this assignment? And, how long did they have to complete it? (I must know more!) :)
    Thanks for sharing and linking up my friend!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching


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