The Richmond Justice Initiative recently posted some of my student work on their official Facebook page. This work is related to last year’s Project Based Learning activity related to human slavery. Check out student pictures and work at Prevention Project; Pictures.
The Project Based Learning Activity entitled “Raising Awareness of Modern Day Slavery (Child Labor)” focuses on twenty-first century skills such as creativity, innovation, collaboration, problem solving and critical thinking, teaching others, ethical and emotional awareness, cultural competence, managing time and resources. My two middle school classes created the driving questions for their projects. My grade six’ class decided to create a driving question of “How can we create a commercial to raise awareness of child labor?” Grade seven’s driving question was “How can we create a story to raise awareness of child labor?” (click on attached Renae Townsend G21 PBL Project)
My students followed three rubrics from Buck Institute, the creativity & innovation rubric, collaboration rubric, and presentation rubrics to help them understand and apply the project expectations. Throughout each class period, students had a project work report where they signed a group contract, created a project calendar, decided on task roles, coordinated a presentation day checklist, and completed a self-reflections on their project work (both daily and final project). You can access all of these handouts at following Digital Destinations wiki space, entitled the PBL St Kit Project Management Tools. During this project work report, my students reflected everyday in schoology under the class group that I created. The schooogy interface offered direction for my students so that they could see what each group was doing and could provide feedback to each other.
The reproducibility of the project by others was implemented when the GMS Language teachers asked my students to participate in the Language Fair. This amazing opportunity allowed for a public presentation of my student projects, even when the technological parts of their projects were not entirely finished. Fortunately, my students had done the majority of their research, so they were able to present their information in an oral presentation during the fair. They also supplemented their oral presentations with a “hands on” activity of having their audience create pinwheels and write down specific statistics related to child labor on the pinwheels. The impact of the learning for my students was emphasized when my one student, Cassidy, stepped to the front of the room and made a spontaneous and “improvised” presentation to her audience. What was remarkable about her presentation was the knowledge she demonstrated of the content and the enthusiasm she showed.
Finally, the impact technology had toward learning is demonstrated in the fact that my students were able to create multimedia presentations on an i-pad or the computer using several different apps in the workflow which incorporated planning, creation, and authoring or publishing on the one device. On the SAMR model, I believe that my students achieved the modification and possibly the redefinition level. They created i-movie commercials and a power point story, which they hope to display publically in the following ways. One, they will visit classrooms to present their projects to classmates. Second, they created QR codes that they will put up throughout the hallways of the school, to draw attention to their work and to spread the word about child labor. Finally, they will publish their stories on the Richmond Justice Initiative website, which will be displayed to the general public. The work will be sent (with parental consent) to RJI as soon as it is signed.
The advice I would provide for a colleague wanting to undertake this same project is to be willing to make changes or supplement materials while students are completing the project. Sometimes I had to tailor the scaffolding for specific groups with very short notice. For example, I noticed that students really struggled with was the creativity requirement of the project (especially my seventh grade boys). I had to provide scaffolding for them throughout the project. For example, I helped them create a story line diagram with plot/climax/etc, provide them handouts on power verbs/adjectives to insert into the story. While my sixth grade girls worked amazingly well together as collaborators, I noticed that my seventh grade boys had no knowledge of how to work together or collaborate. My solution was to create a separate activity for them where we focused on the language of collaboration. See Collaboration_Scaffolding_Worksheet. We also created a word wall so that the boys could refer to the language of collaboration while they were working. Both groups of students really struggled with sequence; or where to insert their research and authentic expert information into their projects. ***Remarkably, the authentic expert information for seventh grade was gleaned from the first hand experiences of one of my Mexican students who had first hand experience of crossing the border.
Additional advice for colleagues wanting to undertake this same project would relate to my own experiences as a teacher in implementing the PBL. When I actually decided to implement my lesson plan with my students, I experienced some anxiety. For the first time, I wasn’t in charge as a teacher and I had to force myself to “go with the flow.” My students decided the “driving questions” and they “set the calendar dates,” which was contrary to everything I’ve ever done as a teacher. Again, my biggest challenge was to know when I was required to step out and let my student’s take charge and when I was required to step in and provide scaffolding or additional exercises for my students.
What I might change about the experience, as documented in my plan is the following. First off, I would suggest that a teacher actually spend more time observing and understanding the ins and outs of a PBL before they implement it in the classroom setting. Perhaps they could visit other classes and collaborate with other teachers before they implement the project in their own class. I didn’t have this experience and it would have helped me in the implementation of the PBL in my classroom. Before implementing the PBL in my class, I spent a lot of time viewing videos of other schools that are implementing PBLs, researching Buck Institute lesson plans, gathering the rubrics, understanding what a driving question was, and understanding how to create a “Project Wall.” The PBL course that Dr. Hendron offered this past winter made this experience possible. I spent a lot of time outlining the PBL lesson; but the learning curve for me was greater than I anticipated.
Here are two of the finished products:
I’ve blogged about the Social Justice/Preservation mural projects that my students created. As a result of our trips and presentations to different classes, both students/teachers have asked us to do more.
My ESOL High School students are invited to visit Ms. Exum’s AP Spanish Class to continue our oral conversation skills in both Spanish and English and to continue discussions about social issues/conflicts/concerns. We are planning a trip to Ms. Exum’s class on Thursday, May 1st, to discuss religion and different points of view. I hope that this collaboration continues as it’s a great way for my ESOL students to practice oral conversation skills.
Two students from Ms. Ray’s 6th grade class requested that they come and conduct follow-up “interviews” with my ESOL students regarding the mural projects and the Social Justice/Preservation subjects that they presented to the class. One of these interview regarding the mural project “Preservation of the Environment” was broadcast on the GMS morning news, Earth Day, April 22nd. A second interview regarding the mural project of “Poverty and Human Trafficking” will be broadcast on the GMS morning news the week of May 5th.
I have been delighted at the interest generated by students and teachers. This goes to show that when students are inspired by things that are bigger than themselves and when they can tangibly discover the connections to what they learn, the spark of exploration is generated. Once lit, teachers only need to stand back and watch. Students take charge of their learning!!
This past month, my students wrapped up with the second step of the 2014 G-21 project. Part 1 of our project consisted of discovering the history behind the Mexican Revolution and analyzing the art of Diego Rivera “Dream of a Sunday Afternoon.” To tie into the theme of murals, students created digital murals through the use of technology in Part 2, G-21 project.
This part of the project involved extensive research and written artist statements, which tied in elements of literature such as universal themes, symbolism, and imagery. Each student chose social justice or preservation issues. Students were required to demonstrate how they are involved in addressing the problem through the creation of personal images or symbols in their murals. They created their murals in three separate drawing templates on google docs.
Finally, students demonstrated knowledge of their research by preparing presentations and presenting their murals to classes throughout GMS and GHS. Thanks to collaborating teachers, Ms. Ray (English 6), Ms. Brooks (English 6), Ms. Falconer (Social Studies 6) Mr. Rooke (GHS World Languages), Ms. Exum (GHS World Languages), and Ms. Kimberly (GHS World Languages). Each teacher graciously allowed my students to present their murals in their classrooms. Thank you to the Goochland County students at GMS and GHS who were incredibly respectful and supportive of my English as Second Language students-many of which have accents and limited English. Because of such amazing student support and interest, students confidence was boosted.
Attached are the WIDA templates I created that tie VA SOL (Standards of Learning) to the WIDA ELD (English Language Definition) standards.
Speaking: Mural WIDA_Rubric_3
Also, attached is the step-by-step worksheet that students used to complete this project, the rubric used to grade them and Goochland County’s G21 Rubric.
Following are abbreviated student podcasts of their murals, followed by their digital murals.
“It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees.” Emiliano Zapata quotes.
For my annual G21 project, 2013-14, my ESOL students and I studied the Mexican Revolution through the mural art depictions of Diego Rivera. To access the entire lesson plan, plus student handouts, go to PBS.org “The Storm that Swept Mexico.” The first part of this lesson consisted of having students discover the history behind the Mexican Revolution and analyze the art of Diego Rivera “Dream of a Sunday Afternoon.” Students researched one Mexican Revolution hero and created jigsaw posters which each student shared with the class.
The final step of this project consists of having students create a mural through the use of technology. All murals will be composed of public domain digital images that can be used/modified. Students will need to choose topics that pertain to circumstance (or problem) in their personal life, school, community, or country that they would like to address or improve. They will be required to demonstrate how they are involved in addressing the problem through presentation of personal images or symbols in their murals. They will create their mural in three separate powerpoint slides on google docs. Finally, students will compose a written artist statement and demonstrate knowledge of their research by presenting their murals to different classes throughout the school.
This project involves extensive research and written artist statement which ties in elements of literature such as universal themes, symbolism, and imagery.
Attached are the WIDA templates I created that tie VA SOL standards to the WIDA ELD standards.
Research (Informational material.anaylsis) Mural_WIDA_Rubric
Writing (Informational writing, informational, explanatory, analysis) Mural_WIDA_Rubric_2
“It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees.” Emiliano Zapata quotes.
For my annual G21 project, 2013-14, my ESOL students and I are studying the Mexican Revolution through the mural art depictions of Diego Rivera. To access the entire lesson plan, plus student handouts, go to PBS.org “The Storm that Swept Mexico.” This lesson consists of having students discover the history behind the Mexican Revolution, analyze the art of Diego Rivera “Dream of a Sunday Afternoon,” and finally create their own artist statement and mural through the use of technology.
The High School and Middle School ESOL students have just completed the first steps for this G-21 Project. After being introduced to the mural “Dream of a Sunday Afternoon,” and key vocabulary pertaining to the Mexican Revolution, students (and myself included) completed a jigsaw poster activity in which they researched and presented on key figures of the Mexican Revolution; Porfirio Diaz, Pascual Orozco, Francisco Villa, Francisco Madero, and Emiliano Zapata.
Following are pictures of my students and I presenting our posters to each other. During our presentations, we filled out own jigsaw handouts. Finally, I held students accountable for the information by providing them a small assessment/essay at the end in which they wrote about their most favorite revolutionary person and defended their reasons why.
Check out John Hendron’s blog post: The Essentials of a Good Project