PBL and eClass in Electives: Pop Up Greek Mythology Museum

This article comes from Brooke Webb, a Language Arts teacher at Lanier High School.


Project Based Learning (PBL) empowers students to take control of their own learning through self-directed research, creation, revision, and innovation. As a language arts teacher, I find that PBL lends itself very well to the high school language arts classroom as we have the choice to cover our standards via a plethora of avenues. This year, I am teaching a language arts elective class that focuses on ancient cultures’ mythology texts. Having never taught an elective class before, I decided that I would try something new in my teaching path and use only PBL projects to assess my classes’ mastery of the standards.

My classes read the novel Heroes, Gods, and Monsters of Greek Mythology by Bernard Evslin, and I wanted to plan an event to remember! My class has students in 9th-12th grade and from each of our four academies (CDAT/STEM, Multimedia and Fine Arts, Global Business and Leadership, and Life and Health Sciences) .  Thus, I wanted to design a project that would allow the students to work collaboratively on a common theme yet also focused on their own academies.

I thought that doing an actual walk through museum with exhibits would be awesome and align with what I hoped to accomplish. A colleague suggested creating a Pop Up Museum, and after doing research and deciding on the standards on which to focus, I formulated an overview for students. We then used 360cities.net to view different exhibits at museums around the world.

Students were a part of two teams: a novel group and an academy group. In their novel group, students were to come up with an exhibit for their novel section (gods, demigods, nature myths, and fables) that showcased each individual’s end product and was cohesive with all other groups. Each student had an assigned role in the group. The group had two days to brainstorm and three days to create and innovate.


Formative deliverables included a brainstorming page for the first day and a floor plan of the layout of their exhibit; these were submitted to an eClass discussion forum created for each specific novel group.

Then students were regrouped by academies, and each was charged with researching some aspect of a real museum. Their task as an academy was to relate their academy focus into our museum. For example, how do real museums use multimedia? Or, how can business and leadership be applied to a museum? One Global Business & Leadership group marketed and promoted our event through social media campaigns on Twitter and Instagram while another created voting boxes to poll museum patrons on which exhibit students liked the best. The data collected (votes in the form of tickets) was then analyzed and the exhibit with the most votes got a prize.

The Multimedia, Communication & Fine Arts groups decided to write a script for a commercial to air during our school’s morning announcements—we never got to film it due to time constraints, but they did a great job! A  CDAT/STEM group decided logistically the best set up/lay out for our museum, flow of traffic, and positioning of tour guides to make the event flow well and the museum reach maximum functionality. Our Life & Health Science group used the health pathway to research types of foods that ancient Greeks would have eaten and the calories for the items, and they created an ancient Greek foods menu.

Our Pop Up Museum came to life over the course of two days. During their class times, my students presented their individual webb-students-4displays. During Academy Time and all lunches, volunteers from my classes were tour guides and walked classmates and faculty through the museum and answered any questions while explaining certain aspects of the exhibits.

The end products produced by my students were high quality because I allowed them to create through a medium with which they were comfortable and excited about. Some students were living exhibits dressing up as their characters, some created poems that could be accessed via QR codes, some painted collages, while others used Legos to re-enact important plot points in the myth. A couple of students even crafted their own replicas of the Minotaur’s horn and Medusa’s head.

Lastly, we reflected. I gave each group time to reflect in a peer evaluation sheet that only I see so the student can give honest feedback on group members. I also tried something new: giving the class ownership of creating their own tailor-made rubric that I would use to assess their individual end products. After pulling several project rubrics off of BIE. Org, I gave the groups copies of the rubrics and we voted as a class on which features were important to keep and which to discard. I created the class’ rubric in eClass and used that to assess the end products.

This adventure to test out PBL with an elective class was successful. I have a few areas that I want to redesign for next year, but what a fun and engaging learning event for my students and for me!


Rocking Adobe Spark Video at Pinckneyville Middle School

This article was written by Lisa Kasko, a 7th Grade Language Arts Teacher from Pinckneyville Middle School.

Sherrie Disco, Pinckneyville Middle School’s Local School Technology Coordinator, popped into my room and said, “Kasko, you just have to try Adobe Spark Video. I just learned about it and think you could rock it!” and left a post-it note on my desk with the website and log instructions on it.


We had recently talked about using student-brought devices (BYOD) to supplement the one laptop cart we had available to focus on collaborative learning via technology. Intrigued by how Adobe Spark could help us, we decided to have students use either the free Adobe Spark app they could download to their devices or the website itself. 

Adobe Spark Video lets you share your learning or growth in a really slick, professional way. Our plan was to have students cite textual evidence of a literary device in action, record themselves reading the quotation from the text,  and analyze the author’s purpose of using that literary device. Differentiation is endless with Adobe Spark Video: students can start with templates like show and tell, promote an idea, or tell what happened, or they can start from scratch.


My favorite component is hearing them record what they have to say in their own voice. Using touch recording, they easily capture their voices and use their voice style to connect with their audience in their own unique way. Then they bring the project to life by finding the perfect imagery: icons, images–they can even upload their own photos–to match their story’s mood and message to help create the theme of their project. To top it off, they select the perfect soundtrack that enhances their presentation. The BYOD option allows them to use music they already have stored in their devices and make even more of a personal connection.


They don’ t know this yet, but these Spark Videos are going to be the “sparks” for their next writing piece. Their prewriting phase is done: they already have cited facts accompanied by recordings of their own voices arguing their support and analysis. But, their prewriting doesn’t stop there–they have visualized the author’s purpose of their piece with the imagery they selected and topped off the mood of their argument with music. I’m pretty excited to see how this impacts their writing!




Spotlight: GaETC 2016 Favorites

2016_gaetc_email_banner3eCLASS Instructional Specialists headed to the 2016 GaETC conference  and discovered more great ideas to share with their schools. Here’s a link to all of the concurrent sessions.

Here’s what one of our specialists loved–we’ll post more over the next few weeks!

Kishina Woolfolk, Elementary Specialist

Bashie Ebron’s presentation on “Google Slides: Interactive Adventures Integrating ELA and Social Studies” provided a new spin on an old format. Do you remember the Choose Your Own Adventure books you read as a child? Google Slides is a great way to have students create their own version of these interactive books.

The presentation taught us how to have students create their own interactive historical adventures. After the teacher taught plot structure and social studies content, the students were ready to get organized! They were provided with several graphic organizers to plan out their adventures. Each individual also created numbered note cards based on the graphic organizer to create the entire version of the adventure from start to finish. Both the graphic organizer and note cards were used as a starting point for their Google Slide presentation. Each slide had at least 2 choices that led to resolutions that were on other linked Google Slides.

This activity could be used to provide alternate endings to events in history, and could also be used to explain science topics and related choices. Are you up for an adventure with your students? Then check out www.Bit.ly/ebronsadventures for more information.

Spotlight on GaETC Favorites 2016


eCLASS Instructional Specialists headed to the 2016 GaETC conference November 2-4 and discovered more great ideas to share with their schools. Here’s a link to all of the concurrent sessions.

Here’s what one of our specialists loved–we’ll post more over the next few weeks!

Becky Mathews, Middle School Specialist

Google Gimmicks

  1. Adding your Bookmark Bar!  (I had it, but good to know for teachers who don’t have theirs)
  2. Editing the Bookmark Bar.  Love this!
  3. Adding shortcuts to my tool bar.

Getting the Most out of Formative Assessments (link)

I hadn’t used GoFormative in a while, but I loved the reminder. I had never uploaded a document and added questions to the document using GoFormative. Can’t wait to try this.

My favorite part of Thursday was being asked by Snellville MS to participate in the Escape Bus. It was a great activity! Twelve people worked together to escape the bus using problem solving. I especially liked that even if I didn’t know the answer to one part, someone else helped solve a part and I could contribute in a different way.

Coach Them Up was well put together and presented. I especially enjoyed getting to be interactive through PearDeck. I can’t wait to try this tool.

Making Media Stick, Tony Vincent

Several resource takeaways from Tony Vincent that I can’t wait to try and use include:

Tara Finco, High School Specialist

Jeff Utecht’s session “My Wikipedia is Better than Your Textbook” was an inspiring look at how this much maligned site (needlessly so!) has a lot of possibilities as a research tool where students are the creators rather than the consumers.

His focus was on how Wikipedia IS a good, reliable, and accurate research tool, and he provided authentic research activities for students. For example, in one assignment, students choose any page they want to help revise. They find missing content, join the Talk page to discuss it with other editors, and then post it. If it stays a week, they get a C; two weeks, a B, and if, after a month, their content has not been taken down by the moderators, they get an A.

Students could also create their own pages–this could be a great research project for something in the local community that doesn’t have a Wikipedia entry; students can do the research, develop the citations, and create the page.

For more info on the intricacies on using Wikipedia in the classroom, see his notes on his website: http://www.jeffutecht.com/gaetc/

Stacy McKibben, Elementary Specialist

The Wonderful World of Web Widgets
Presented by Tony Vincent

Teachers are always on the hunt for new widgets to embed in their class pages! Tony Vincent shared a few ideas that you might be able to use to draw more people (students and parents) to your class page. Check out the Learning in Hand website to view a complete list of the widgets he shared. Here are a few that stood out to me:

1. Polls.cc: Teachers can quickly create a multiple choice question that easily embeds. To see students’ answers, click View Results. Teachers can use this as a quick ticket in the door or students can analyze the results to determine which answer choice had more, less, or the same.

2. Tick Counter: Use this widget to count down to special events or to count up to the 100th day of school!

3. Free Dictionary: This website has an auto-updating game called WordHub. Students are given 7 letters and will make as many words as they can with those letters.

4. Surf Net Kids: Are you looking for widgets that update daily? This is the site for you! Choose from daily facts, jokes, coloring pages, or educational quotes.

Katie Newman, Elementary

Here are my takeaways from the conference!

Google Extensions    Free Google Extension Link

  • Google Read & Write – Will read any web page aloud, highlight text tool, line tracking toolWill
  • Google Translate – translate any text into a variety of languages

Workshop Model


Language Arts



Virtual Tours


Handy Websites

Professional Development