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Horizon fifth-graders relive Camp McDowell experience in movies

With the breakfast/brunch loaded with food, Horizon fifth-graders presented iMovies about their activities at Camp McDowell in Winston County. (CONTRIBUTED)
With the breakfast/brunch loaded with food, Horizon fifth-graders presented iMovies about their activities at Camp McDowell in Winston County. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – Fifth-graders at Horizon Elementary School were so engaged at Camp McDowell that they perpetuated those experiences back in Madison.

Horizon fifth-graders take an annual field trip to McDowell Environmental Center, or Camp McDowell, in Nauvoo. For three days, 85 fifth-graders “were immersed into nature learning about Alabama plants and animals, raptors, Native Americans and conservation,” Dr. G. Lauren Harrison, fifth-grade science teacher, said.

Back in Madison, the students’ appetite fed more discussions, writings and research about Camp McDowell. Harrison instructed students to prioritize their interests. Soon, collaborative project groups with four students each formed.

As research continued, the fifth-graders compiled what they had learned and validated their materials with websites like the Alabama Virtual Library. Media specialist Gina Ashley arranged sessions for students to improve research skills and to use Dropbox and iMovie apps on iPads.

For about two weeks, students used camp photos, online images and audio clips to record iMovies. The information gathering “covered so many of the Common Core standards — too many to list. Not only science but also language arts, math, public speaking, writing and leadership skills were demonstrated,” Harrison said.

Students prepared presentations with their iMovies for families and guests. Teams worked on e-vites (electronic invitations), printed invitations, the menu and decorations.

On Dec. 13, each fifth-grade class had a time slot to broadcast their iMovies to their families and guests in the media center. As parents sent in food for the presentations, the fifth-graders prepared the items for serving.

Everyone “enjoyed a student-prepared brunch or luncheon. This included homemade waffle sticks, homemade flavored butter, yogurt parfait, mini sandwiches, dips and pudding parfaits,” Harrison said.

A student emcee and technical assistant led each presentation. “Our goal was to have this project-based learning process to be student-driven and student-led,” Harrison said. “The students learned how to form similar interest groups, work together collaboratively, leadership and presentation skills, etiquette on hosting an event and research skills.”

Horizon’s fifth-grade teachers are Joanne Coomb, Terrica Johnson, Chassity Smith and Harrison.

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