Interacting with History

After teaching fourth grade for the past 20 years (!), I was getting a little tired of assigning (& reading) a typical California missions report. I just discovered Thinglink, an interactive platform that can make learning come alive!
Fourth grade's history/social studies standard 4.2: (3) Describe the Spanish exploration and colonization of California, including the relationships among soldiers, missionaries, and Indians and (5) Describe the daily lives of the people, native and nonnative, who occupied the presidios, missions, ranchos, and pueblos. Students researched information & took notes about their specific mission before I introduced Thinglink. Next, they wrote a rough draft about each required section.

To use Thinglink, students first chose an image of their mission to use as the main background image.

Next, they created a tag for each required element by clicking anywhere on the image. Elements included mission architecture, Indian tribe at the mission, workshops, etc. Students can type information in a text box, as well as insert additional images to enhance their information. (This is all in the free version of Thinglink)
 With the paid version of Thinglink, students can also insert audio and video.
To view a finished mission project, click on the image below. Take a tour of Mission Basilica San Diego and click on this student's tags to get a feel of how Thinglink works.
For a copy of the directions and grading rubric in Google docs, click on the rubric below.
The kids loved this project and it was less daunting to them than a full written report, although it covered the same standards. Now I'm excited thinking about how else to use Thinglink for next year! Let me know if you give it a try!

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