“Chromebook”ing a Neighborhood- Brochure and More –Grades 4-8

Chromebooking for Sector 5.jpgAs an educator grades 4-8, one of the latest multi-content mandates is to engage students in comprehending and correctly interpreting real world functional documents such as passports, coupons, leases, credit agreements, tuition agreements, medical and school release forms and others.  While the need to teach students in upper elementary and middle school how to use these documents is clear, how these skills can be authentically and engagingly presented to middle school students in ELA and other content is not immediately apparent.  Often well meaning districts and test publishers offer abstract exercises engaging students in interpreting disconnected from their reality functional documents such as credit card agreements and gym membership forms.  Chromebooks if used strategically toward the purpose of functional documents can inform, teach and engage students in the study of these documents by involving them in using the range of Chromebook features to develop a functional document that they own, a guide to their own neighborhoods.  This functional document can also assure student outreach and offer students a real-world purpose, audience and emotional positive as they master functional documents.

Product courtesy of Chromebook use:

Students create a functional document brochure to introduce their neighborhood to others. They select important places and aspects of their community to present with the brochure.  They can use Google maps to get maps and images of places on community or actually photograph or hand illustrate them on their own.  All these images can be saved to photos and students can also voice their own narration or even better with permission get actual neighborhood residents to narrate it. The presentation is accomplished through brief descriptive passages and images that the students either create themselves using digital photos or by researching and downloading appropriate images from the web.  Teachers can curate the images themselves and screen those students select for appropriateness a for age and grade.

The format of the brochure is a 3-fold, 2 sided 8 ½ X 11-inch page.  The finished brochure involves inserting photos, writing and placing captions, and creating effective headlines. The finished piece also involves designing a pleasing and effective look and feel for the brochure, which should be both attractive and a functional way to organize and present these elements to readers.  The Chromebook becomes the repository and evolving portfolios for stored images, student interviews, research, maps, audio files, and if desired video of the project process.

Here’s how to make this brochure a classroom reality for your chromebook user class:

  • Show the students some examples of travel brochures and discuss their reflections and conclusions about them. Students can also identify online by visiting site Chamber of Commerce and other tourist or residential real estate broker sites how their neighborhood is advertised and promoted.  They can also look at a series of positive online news media and videos about the neighborhood which the teacher has selected…
  • Students grades 6-8 should focus on and form opinions about how travel brochures influence people to visit the destinations that produce them. Further, have them focus on the types of things that appear in travel brochures to interest people and how they are presented. Ask the students to volunteer their ideas about the better aspects of the brochures they examine and those they feel could be done better. Ask them further, how they would improve the brochures. They can develop a file in their neighborhood brochure folder where they redesign a brochure or promotional neighborhood flyer and support with details either graphically or in words their redesign.  This can become part of their Chromebook functional document real world learning portfolio.
  • 3, Inform the students that they will be creating a travel brochure for their own neighborhood and that they should think about the things they like to include how they will present them. Students should also identify the audience for this brochure- whether new residents or tourists or others.
  • Have the students draw up a list of things they’d like to share with others about their neighborhood. What things do they like to do in their neighborhood? Which places to they like to visit and spend time at? Are there stores, parks, secret places, interesting building and other things that they would like to share with others to convince them to visit the neighborhood? Students can take and upload to their chromebooks photos and even do videos of favorite places and perhaps interview with permissions adults who own or also frequent or can offer information about the recent history of these places.  The chromebook will allow this digital and multimedia data to become part of the information for the brochure.  This is already helping to make the functional document experience one that is owned by the students.
  1. For each place listed, have the students visit that place to take a digital photo of it, research and collect a photo of it from the web, or draw their  impression of it and scan their drawing.  All these can be uploaded to the student’s chromebook file and reviewed and privately commented upon by the teacher.

6.Next, for each place, have the students write up a short description of each of the places they chosen to include in their brochure. The description should reflect why they feel it is a neighborhood highlight, why they feel it is special or appealing.   This is actually functional document writing since a brochure is meant to draw visitors and residents into appreciating a neighborhood.  This is also persuasive writing and argument writing.  Using the Chromebook management console, the teacher can access these required skills.

  • The students insert the graphics, text in text boxes, and headline text on each side of the brochure adjusting the size, style, and location of each until an effective, attractive design is achieved for a neighborhood travel museum that includes as many of the students ideas as is practical and that presents that in a way that communicates them effectively.Using the Chromebook classroom and invited adult community network, local chamber of commerce persons, peers, and community persons invited by the teacher can offer useful comments about the brochure design. 

Finished brochures may be displayed exhibition style on a bulletin board or empty wall or may be reproduced in numbers to be distributed.   Of course, they can also be shared with a broader school or distant peer network and selected local news stations or local governmental offices via the Chromebook network online.

 Beyond just engaging students in learning and in working with functional documents, this brochure design addresses all the standards below:

Standards Alignment

Common Core Standards in ELA  
Reading: Literature and Informational Literature Key Ideas and Details: RL._.1RL._.2RL._.3
Craft and Structure:  RL._.4RL._.5RL._.6
Integration of Knowledge and Ideas:  RL._.7RL._.8RL._.9
Range of Reading and Complexity of Text:  RL._.10
Writing Text Types and Purposes: W._.1W._.2W._.3
Production and Distribution of Writing: W._.4W._.5W._.6
Research to Build and Present Knowledge: W._.7 –  W._.8W._.9
Range of Writing: W._.10
Speaking & Listening Comprehension and Collaboration: SL._.1SL._.2SL._.3
Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas: SL._.4SL._.5SL._.6
Language Conventions of Standard English:  L._.1L._.2
Knowledge of Language:
Vocabulary Acquisition and Use: L._.4L._.5L._.6
for Students
1.       Creativity and Innovation: a – b
2. Communication and Collaboration: a – b

3.       Research and Information Fluency: a – b – c

4. Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making: a – b – c

5. Digital Citizenship: a – b – c

6. Technology Operations and Concepts: a – b- d

Using Chromebooks so students can literally “book” into their functional document the very places they frequent in real time, neighborhood resident images, voices and input, and work as a team from a pool of web and secondary source information to evolve a brochure; makes the brochure “construct” a joyous MY NEIGHBORHOOD MY WAY vision for students.  Projects like this expanded and redefined by Chromebook use facilitate actual student current and future enthusiastic and knowledgeable functional document comprehension.  That’s a function and reward of Chromebooks, educators and students can get behind.  Fully charged chromebooks ahead for functional document teaching and genuine student perspective neighborhood brochures!!

Gary Soto Neighborhood Odes

Veronica Chambers, Mama’s Girl

Mark Goldblatt, Twerp

Mark Moran and Mark Sceurman, Weird New York

Online Articles:
America’s Best Neighborhoods (Forbes): http://www.forbes.com/2010/11/03/americas-best-neighborhoods-2010-business-beltway-best-neighborhoods.html

What Makes a Good Neighborhood (Urban Shapers online magazine): http://urbanshapers.info/live/?p=526

Dr. Rose Reissman,

Academic and Grant Funding Director for Sector 5

About Sector 5,

Sector 5, Inc. (OTCQB: SFIV), is a Proud American Corporation, that sells, manufactures and develops new innovative consumer electronics under Sector 5 and other brands. The Company markets its partnership with Google approved Chromebooks to educational organizations, other B2B and B2C sales channels, with retail sales on Amazon. It is in development of several new products to serve the educational, business and retail markets. Follow the company on http://www.twitter.com/sectorfiveinc and http://www.facebook.com/sect5 and find further information at http://www.sector-five.com. For Sector 5’s Forward Looking Statements, click here.

CONTACT: contact@sector-five.com.

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