- Sponsorship -

Technology turns biography reports into multimedia efforts

Related Black History Month stories

Underground railroad module turns fourth-graders into historians

Students reflect on play where a young Gerald Ford and black teammate tackle a racist policy

It required a few takes for Parkview Elementary School third-grader Yaretzi Martinez to record her presentation in front of a green screen, so she shared directly with a visitor the details about Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas.

“Gabby Douglas showed us to follow our dreams because she followed her dreams. Gabby won the gold medal when she was 16,” Yaretzi said.

Yaretzi and her novice tech crew, including third-graders Aiyana Velez and Yamileth Ramirez, were recording in the school hallway. She completed her piece after a couple snafus: poor lighting, an accidental press of the delete button and a few noisy passersby.

Third-grader Manuel Gomez Perez plays his finished presentation on Harriet Tubman on an iPad

“She got hurt and didn’t give up,” Yaretzi said of the Olympic champion.

Students in teachers Julie Tessier’s and Michele LeMieux’s classrooms took a multimedia approach to writing biographies. After researching and writing about historical figures and famous people — including Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, Michael Jordan, Johannes Brahms, Helen Keller and Amelia Earhart — they recorded their work like mini-broadcasters.

They edited in photos of their subjects to be projected behind them on their recordings. They used iPads, a green screen app called Do Ink, a teleprompter app and a website called Flipgrid to create their work.

Many students chose African-American historical figures, tying their work to Black History Month.

Parkview Elementary third-grader Yaretzi Martinez records her presentation on gymnast Gabby Douglas in front of a green screen

Third-grader Manuel Gomez Perez chose Harriet Tubman. “She led 300 slaves to freedom,” he said.

About using the green screen: “It’s fun!” he said. “There’s a giant picture behind you.”

Tessier said she wanted to challenge her students to bring their projects to life, combining writing and technology. She said many of her students studied people who overcame remarkable obstacles, offering a message of perseverance for students.

Multimedia tools support learning in a way students — savvy in technology — are used to. “This is the world they live in,” she said.


‘If I Can Do it, You Can Do It’


- Sponsorship -
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese is associate managing editor and reporter, covering Byron Center, Kentwood, Wyoming and Grand Rapids Community College. She was one of the original SNN staff writers, helping launch the site in 2013 and enjoys fulfilling the mission of sharing the stories of public education. She has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers, On-the-Town Magazine and Group Tour Media. Read Erin's full bio or email Erin.


Fourth-grade hockey fan gets a magical hour on ice: ‘I made the shot!’

Raised as a Red Wings and Grand Rapids Griffins hockey fan, Jackson Solow lights up while skating on an ice rink wearing his favorite hockey jersey...

‘This time it is continued learning’

One school’s switch from in-person to virtual education last week was nearly seamless, especially when compared with the forced school closure in March...

Foundation grants $28,285 in fall funding requests

Virtual phys ed and art experiences, materials to improve classroom focus and books on social issues aimed at middle-schoolers are among the grants approved this fall...

Latest school closings expand on state-ordered high school mandate

More Kent County districts continue to announce temporary school building closures, as schools contend with a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases in Kent County and Michigan...


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

Babysitting an apple

Ninth-graders wrote apple adventures during the weeklong “35 Ways to Babysit an Apple” project in English teacher Jeremy Schnotala’s class. The writing project inspires creative narratives and lots of drama...

Class of 2021 has ‘test-optional’ choice when applying for college

Most schools in the state of Michigan have become SAT/ACT-optional for the Class of 2021 for admission purposes. There are, however, pros and cons for students...

Schools in nine districts announce closures as COVID cases spike

New temporary school building closures were announced by nine school districts in Kent ISD this week, as schools contend with a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases in Kent County and Michigan...
- Sponsorship -


Engagement: The Most Important Measure of Student Success

Polls find that students’ engagement in their school work declines as they ascend the grades. Tests that don’t relate to their real-life experiences exacerbate the problem...


Food ‘angels’ support hungry kids through pandemic

They work all across Kent County, guardian angels with peanut butter on their hands and crumbs on their shirtsleeves...
- Sponsorship -


Maranda Where You LiveWGVU