Wednesday, June 17, 2009

CES: Authentic Learning - Science, Language Arts, ITL

Today I was honored to be the audience for 4 presentations by the owners and employees of 4 different fitness centers. Each presentation focused on the special features that made their health and fitness center an excellent choice for anyone interested in special exercises, diet and individual attention. Although these companies were "not real" and the owners and employees were 5th graders in Ed Wolf's class at Coleytown Elementary, it only added to the obvious learning and sophisticated display and presentation of information. The "owners" presented their companies' missions and special services AS IF their fitness and health centers were legitimate companies.

It all began several months ago when Mr. Wolf wanted to have his students apply their prior knowledge of using wikis (See blog entry -- Jan. 21st - Community of Learners -CES) to a new project dealing with their study of the human body. Instead of researching the systems of the body, he wanted his students to have a strong purpose for using the researched information. He engaged the students in a proposition --
Can you create a "real" website using a wiki for a "real" fitness and health club that provides specific health, diet and exercises for specific people with certain needs, such as a 60 year old man recovering from a heart attack or a 15 year old soccer player?

The Mission Accomplished group, a doctor, diet specialist, fitness specialist and orthopedic specialist spoke about the yoga classes designed for a 23 year old leukemia patient. They described a selective diet with lots of fruits and vegetables. They said that whoever came to their gym received one to one time, and the staff would create personal connections with everyone. They created online diet tables with pictures. They also brought in a former client "Mr. Malon " [aka Mr. Wolf!] who provided a testimony to the great work done at Mission Accomplished!

The Groove Fitness and Health group expalined that their club was more social than any other gym.They offered a special individualized program for every person, and even provided children's programming. They detailed special programs for a 10 year old gymnast, a 40 year old Survivor participant and a 65 year old recovering from a heart attach. They offered cardio workouts, stretching plans and diet recommendations.
The !BAM! group explained that every professional who works in their gym focuses on the needs of the individual. They stated that the staff values respect and responsibility. They worked closely with a 10 year old dancer and provided real videos of turns, leaps and dance routines for their client to use at home. They embedded these videos within their website, and used them to illustrate how they worked closely to meet their clients' needs.

The Shock Fitness and Health group presented their plan for providing ONLINE personal training programs. The strength and diet experts talked about their recent experiences with a 10 year old tennis player, a 65 year old heart attack survivor, an obese 10 year old and a 50 year old smoker. An easy to read grid was organized to tell and show each client various foods and exercise programs. Pictures of the lungs after smoking, and before and after pictures of some clients were shown.

After the incredible presentations which focused on all of the major systems of the human body and what they need to stay healthy, the students answered my question:

What did you like best about this project?

and they responded:

  • I learned some incredible presentation skills.
  • I learned how to research in a group.
  • I liked pitching and presenting about my company.
  • I liked gathering information and putting it to GOOD USE!
  • I enjoyed creating my own clients.
  • I liked working together and getting to know the people in my group better.

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