(Below is a working draft of our project sketch as created by Robin after a meeting of 7th grade humanities teachers- which I will be joining next year)
How do places change over time?
What do we need to live a comfortable and healthy life?
The students will…
Understand some key issues of least one world problem (hunger, poverty, environment, conflict & peace, etc.)
Make connections between that issue globally, regionally and locally.
Recognize their roles as citizens of the world, their regions and their communities and to see how what they do affects others.
Understand that they can contribute to solving the problem, even in some small way.
The Connected World Unit consists of four separate but related projects.
1) Blog/journalling - Each of the 160+ students in 7th grade will keep a blog, using ideas inspired by Clarence Fisher. We will assign our students one of 19 regions of the world and one of 8 global social issues or problems. We will do this together because we want to make sure that among our 8 classes, we have the students divided into good working groups for the next phases of the project. Each student will work on a different issue for each region. Their blog work will consist of a series of personal reflections/journalling about what they are learning through globalvoicesonline.org and other good websites for MS students to learn about current events and blogs from other countries. This addresses Standard # 3: Research and Information Fluency
2) The second phase of the project is also inspired by Clarence Fisher. Our 160 students will create a link/resource filled 7th Grade online ‘hyperText’ book about the regions of the world. This will be a resource for next year’s students in their regional studies. Students will work online and collaboratively with their regional-counterparts in the various classes. They will work on their section of the wiki - each writing enough about their issues to put together a solid chapter on the region backed up with evidence, examples and sources. One of the sources students will be required to use is to communicate with people from the regions they are studying. This addresses Standard #5 Digital Citizenship. This also addresses Standard #4 Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making.
I am excited to be involved in this as I have a broad knowledge of the South Pacific region, and the literature from there which I know has been missing from the grade. This background knowledge should round off the team as we move into project stage.
3) The third phase of the project is based on one of the Flat Classroom projects. We would now group the students by issue, rather than by region. There could be as many as 8 students per issue, so we may divide them into smaller groups for this phase. Each group would be responsible for making a 2 - 3 minute video about their problem. Their videos will serve the function of educating others in the school community about their issues. Because they will now be working with students from different regions, they will be working together to understand the similarities and differences of how their issues play out in different regions. This will get back to the idea of making connections. They will present their videos to the 7th grade.Symposia? Standard #1: Creativity and Innovation & Standard #2: Communication and Collaboration & Standard #4 Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making.
4) The final phase of the project will have students working together once again to create a project or action plan that has the kids themselves becoming part of the solution. They will create project ideas/plans to help or address the problem (other than through education) and they will present those ideas at a project symposium to a panel of teachers (maybe experts as well) their fellow students and they will post these solutions or action plans on a publicly accessible website. This is when students will have made connections between the EQs and the EUs. They will have evaluated and synthesized research and information about complex global issues. They will have educated others and finally, they will have come up with a plan that aims to help solve the problem.
This addresses Standard #1: Creativity and Innovation & Standard #2: Communication and Collaboration & Standard #4 Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making.