It is that time of year again. Time for the fourth graders to look at the 50 historical figures required by the Social Studies TEKS.  Click here for a complete list of names.

To introduce the project, students will view the video of the power of one life (used with permission from the creator). They will then watch the following portions of It’s a Wonderful Life (4:11-11:38, 1:49:40-1:52:36, and 1:56:52 to the end) to understand the driving question of this project. A backchannel using the fourth grade chat room in Edmodo will capture students’ responses to the videos while allowing them to practice good digital citizenship and proper grammar and sentence structure.

Driving Question – What effect did the life of the historical figure have on Texas, and if applicable, on my own life?

Students will be paired with a partner.  Each group will draw the name of one of the historical figures.  The group will use guided research to find information to record on their data collection sheet.

The students will produce a short essay using first person to describe their famous person and their contribution to Texas.  When the essay is complete, each group will produce a “talking head” by following these steps:

#1 One partner will video the other partner’s mouth ONLY reading the essay. They will use the iPod Touch to make the recording. They will upload the video to Youtube.

#2  The students will screencapture a picture of the face of the famous person, preferably facing forward with a full view of the mouth. Since my students use Macbooks, the screencapture is in the PNG format. In order to make the image poster size, the students will need to change the image to a JPEG format by double-clicking the image on the desktop to pull it up in Finder.  Click on File, Export, change the format at the bottom to JPEG.  Go to and drop in the image. Make the image 2 pages and choose landscape and letter. Students will print the poster, cut and tape together.

#3 The students will then create a QR Code of the video on Youtube. They will go to the Youtube video page and copy the URL. Using the QR Code generator site at, they will paste in the URL and create the code. From that page, students will screencapture the code. The students will need to drag the code on to a document in Pages to print it out in a 1″ by 1″ size to glue on the poster.

#4 The posters will be displayed in a “Famous People of Texas Talking Heads Gallery” in one location in the hallway for all students to scan.




TEKS Covered in this project:

Social Studies: 113.15(b)(2)(B)(E), (3)(C), (4)(B),(5)(B)(C), (17)(D), (20)(A)

ELA: 4.13(A)-(H), 4.15(A)(C)(F), 4.16(B), 4.17(A)-(D), 4.18(A)-(H), 4.19(A)-(I), 4.20(A)-(C), 4.21(A)-(F), 4.22(A)(B), 4.25(B)

Technology Applications: 126.A(b)(1)(A)(C), (2)(A)(C)(F), (3)(A)-(D), (4)(C)(D), (5)(A)-(G), (6)(B)(C)(D)(E)

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