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If America Were a Village… September 21, 2010

Posted by fafeeley in Uncategorized.

The current 7th/8th grade project is coming along.

We have five classes of 7th and 8th graders combined. Two of them attend library class twice, computer class twice, and gym once per week. One class attends art class four days and gym once per week. One class attends music class four days and gym once per week. And the fifth class attends ALL five specials (library, computer, art, music, and gym) once per week. That last group has become known as the “on demand” class.

The two classes who attend library twice and computer twice (let’s call them the “library/computer classes”) have begun the project. They listened to the book while taking notes, selected topics in their small groups (8 in each class/16 in total), and have begun to draft key questions to be researched.

While planning this unit with my colleagues and mapping it out on the calendar it became clear that the goal for these two classes to create both voicethreads and glogs was unrealistic. So now the library/computer groups will research the topics using wikispaces and create voicethreads of their findings, and the “on demand” class will work in pairs to make glogs. The “on demand” group will borrow the research from the library/computer groups that has been “pushed down” to them via the student research wikis. They will add their own research as well as their own opinions to their glogs.

The art class will explore information about the 16 research topics via the wikis of the library/computer classes. They will then create artworks inspired by this research (in various formats, including “shadow boxes”) and then provide digital images of their artwork to the other classes for use in the voicethreads of the library/computer classes and the glogs of the “on demand” class.

The music teacher may also get into the game. The music glass is composing original music. If it works out that the music class also takes inspiration from this project’s student wikis, mp3 recordings of their original music compositions (with instrumental and/or voice) can be utilized in the glogs created by the “on demand” class.

The most exciting feature of this project is that the students will collaborate and contribute to each others’ success and learning using technology tools. This will occur despite a very tight schedule that places all students in their “specials” classes at the same time every day. All classes will be focused on the same range of topics related to various aspects of American life. The topics researched will certainly generate discovery and discussion of social justice issues, thereby supporting a vital element of our school’s mission. The final products will integrate skills in research, reading, writing, design, art, and music.

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Fran Feeley’s Blog by Francis A. Feeley is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.



1. Lisa Perez - September 24, 2010

Fran: What a great project! Thanks for the update. It is great that you are adapting to the needs and availability of your students while collaborating effectively. I look forward to seeing the final results.

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