Guest post from Mote Ambassador Leader - Alex Isaacs, EdTech Specialist in the Long Branch Public Schools District.
In today’s ever-changing landscape of education, one thing remains constant - the importance of forming meaningful connections with our students. Educators impart knowledge to diverse learners while building competency in different content areas. Still, we must inspire, motivate, and guide our students toward becoming lifelong learners. Developing this agency and self-regulation in children can sometimes be challenging for teachers, which adds even more importance to establishing those strong relationships at the beginning of the school year.
As a middle school math teacher, I found that some of my most memorable moments in the classroom took place when I offered creative opportunities for my students to share about themselves. I got to know them better due to these activities, and the choices I offered influenced students to share their voices in a way that suited them best. The path to building a better rapport with learners is ongoing, and I am excited to share this Mote Autobiography activity idea with you that will let their creativity shine! It’s a fantastic mini-project for teachers to get to know their students while offering them a fun way to create an interactive timeline about themselves!
What is a Mote Autobiography?
This Mote Autobiography activity is not a traditional autobiography task; rather, it’s a dynamic, interactive, and engaging way for students to share their life stories with others. This mini-project helps learners make connections between their personal experiences, family history, and educational journey. With Mote audio players and other multimedia elements, students’ interactive timeline narratives become more engaging than the traditional written word. It also allows students to speak authentically by utilizing verbiage and inflection that doesn’t always translate in writing.
One of the more important aspects of a Mote Autobiography is the element of choice. Learners decide what parts of their life story they want to share, allowing them to take greater ownership in creating their Google Slides timelines. It also empowers learners to focus on the aspects of their lives that are most meaningful, causing them to be reflective of their accomplishments and identities.
Activity Details & Benefits
This activity involves an interactive Mote message response for each timeline event and family interview. Students will begin their Mote Autobiographies by creating a slide presentation of their lives. These timelines can include images, text, videos, and Mote messages to chronicle and expand upon important ‘Mote’ments the students feel compelled to share. Multiple options are available in the template slides, including details about one’s birthplace, name origins, educational highlights, or other significant achievements. Learners can even use this template to set SMART goals for the school year while sharing more about their passions and dreams.
After creating their autobiographical timelines with Mote audio explanations, learners will interview a family member or important guardian using the Mote extension. This aspect of the mini-project elevates it beyond their own solitary experience. Instead, students’ family members and guardians add unique perspectives about their lives. Again, multiple types of questions are available in this Mote Interview template, and they can be adapted depending on the relationship between the children and their guardians. The student’s selected family member should record Mote messages responding to the questions asked, and learners can use these audio recordings in their timelines and on the interview page. The involvement of students’ families in this activity strengthens home-school connections and helps weave generations together by sharing fond memories.
The Mote Autobiography is more than just a mini-project; it is also a means to build stronger connections, nurture self-expression and creativity, and foster a love for learning. It brings classrooms to life with rich stories from students with diverse backgrounds while empowering them to reflect on their life journeys. By embracing the innovative approach of incorporating a Mote Autobiography in our beginning-of-the-year activities, teachers can unlock many more positive outcomes in our classrooms where learners feel valued, heard, and more connected with their peers and teachers! Make a copy of this template, let your students discuss their most meaningful ‘Mote’ments, and have a successful 2023 – 2024 school year!