Where’s the Caboose?

IMG_8618  Monday is here, a new week, a new lesson and a new hook to Teach like a Pirate. If you read my previous post, I took a trip to our local train museum this weekend and one of the features that stood out the most to us was a restored red caboose. My son, Tyler was wondering where cabooses were when he sees a local train come by. My mother-in-law told him they don’t have cabooses anymore at the end of trains. He was wondering why since they have them with his Thomas Train Sets and of course famous was like Toad and Heneretta are always with Oliver and Toby. I asked one of my students this morning if he knew what a caboose was and he said: “They use to be those cars at the end of trains.” and that was all he knew. So, putting on my pirate hat I thought up a great TLAP lesson with my little red caboose here and since this is Chromecast week I thought I would inject a little bit of Google into this lesson.

1. The teacher starts by dressing up as a train conductor and explaining what a conductor does. The teacher then explains that all students will be a train conductor for 20 minutes a day the entire week and will journal their experiences in Evernote on their mobile or desktop devices. Students are told that the conductor begins and ends his trip on the caboose and the teacher will give a brief history lesson on why cabooses exist.

2. The students are given a weekly set of assignments and must put themselves in the role of a train conductor through various time periods. 1800s, 1920, 1960s, 1980s, 1990s and finally Today. Each student must chronicle their tasks they complete for each time period they are given. This can be randomly selected for each student so it isn’t the same time period for every student on every day.

3. The students are then shown the Chromecast for train sounds and movies that reenact train conductor scenes (choices are up to the teacher) to place students in the working environment like they were really on a train doing their jobs. The catch is, since each student has a different time period they don’t have to act the same way for each situation. If the student is doing a train conductor in 2014 and the movie is from Anne of Green Gables, then the student would wonder why everyone is dressed in their best and deal with money exchange since they are in the heart of Chicago and not Nova Scotia. This is a great think on their feet scenario.

4. The last two days of the week, students will take their main parts from their Evernote journaling and present a final presentation on Friday using their PowerPoint presentation part of the App on their experiences and what they think about working and living on a train and with the caboose as their home at work.

Give it a try!

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