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Templates & Lessons

January 19, 2022

My Favorite Pear Deck Lesson: The Travel Blog

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Stephanie Rothstein

Picking my favorite lesson is like picking my favorite child — it’s a nearly impossible task. However, I do have a lesson that helps my students find their creative voices and see their own abilities as writers. I call it “The Travel Blog.”  

“The travel blog” lesson

After reading The Odyssey, I introduce students to the concept of travel blogging and have them work in teams to create their own modern travel adventures. Their next instruction is to “follow” the path of Odysseus and his crew — and each team member takes the lead during different stages of the journey. The goal is to create a tour that would appeal to families and help them experience the “real” Greece, while weaving in historical connections.

Step 1: Interview

The first step to this lesson is for students to interview people with travel experience and ask them what makes their most memorable trips. Based on these answers, each team decides what elements will make up their group’s travel experience.

Step 2: Research

Students then dive in and research Greece's cities, land, people, food, experiences, adventures, hotels, and travel costs.

Research also includes reading other travel blogs and watching travel vloggers for tips and takeaways. This helps them figure out not just what to include in their travel experience — but also how they can share their findings in a way that appeals to readers.

Step 3: Create!

Each team creates their own travel website that includes a written blog, a series of vlogs, a map and itinerary of their journey, and pictures of their family edited into each location of the trip. Finally, they must include short bios of each traveler.  

Using Pear Deck for comprehension

Pear Deck is essential to this lesson’s success. While reading The Odyssey, I use Pear Deck presentations to break up the reading into smaller segments. Getting my students to understand the hidden meanings and metaphors can be a lot to take in. Pear Deck allows me to help students focus on particular parts of the text and reflect on its significance.

Adding Audio, Maps, and Interactivity

I love that I can include recorded audio in Pear Deck for reading out loud. I always include maps with draggables so students can find exact locations for added context. Then I ask clarifying questions to help them reflect on their adventures. This type of interactivity can help inspire their own desire to travel — while allowing them to digest these adventures in multiple ways.

Pear Deck Draggable Map Slide
Try the Pear Deck for Social Studies Template for a map that students can use to identify locations!

Embedding Other Websites and Videos into Pear Deck

With Pear Deck, I can also embed other travel bloggers’ websites and videos into my lessons. This gives my students the opportunity to look at and learn from other sites, see what works, and reflect on their own writing goals — all in one location.

I observe...Describe what you saw or what happened writing slide.
Try Pear Deck’s Critical Thinking Templates to get your students thinking critically.

Drafting, Reviewing, and Editing in Pear Deck

As we move to the actual task of travel writing, Pear Deck is a great way for students to draft their travel blogs. Often, I find that students want to jump to posting their writing directly on the travel website. However, using Pear Deck for the draft stages allows me to provide my students feedback along the way. When students need to refer to their drafts or copy and paste a polished version onto their site, they can refer to it on Pear Deck.

Pear Deck: The "glue" that makes it work!

I love teaching “The Travel Blog” lesson because students can modernize a classic adventure, be creative in their own travel choices, and grow as effective communicators. Students love creating the travel site, developing their creative writing voice, and using technology to put themselves into each adventure. And throughout each lesson, Pear Deck acts as the glue, providing me the tools to support every student through their individual creative process — and that’s why I’m always happy to use it.

Author thumnail image

Stephanie Rothstein

Teacher

California

Stephanie is a teacher at a K-12 district of 30 schools in Northern California. An educator for 19 years, she has taught high school English, AVID, and yearbook. She was also the co-chair of a Design Thinking pathway for more than 10 years. Stephanie is a Google for Education-Certified Innovator, Coach, and Trainer; Adobe Creative Educator; a proud Pear Deck Coach; founder of Global Google Educator Group (GEG); and creator of CanWeTalkEDU. Her TEDx talk, “My Year of Yes to Me,” is published on TED.com, and her chapter in George Couros' Because of a Teacher published in 2021. You can find out more on her website or on Twitter and Instagram @StephRothEDU.

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