Subject: Social Studies
Project for INTEGRATING TECHNOLOGY TO ENHANCE STUDENT LEARNING
May 9, 2000
Unit for Human Behavior-Creating a Healthier Culture
Why do this?
It is critical that everyone understand the importance of the culture we find ourselves in because that culture impacts our behavior. It is not only important that we understand the impacts, but that we also understand we can change that culture and in the process change behavior. For their entire lives our students will be living in, reinforcing, and creating cultures, and sometimes those cultures will not be necessarily healthy ones. They must realize that we are a product of our culture, and culture is determined by choices we make.
To make the content more meaningful the concept of Service Learning will be incorporated. Service Learning is combining learning plus meeting a community need. Students will select a social problem they want to correct. They will learn what the cause and consequences are of the problem and then implement a program to lessen the problem. This serves another educational purpose, that we are here to help students plan their lives. Part of that plan will hopefully be to make the world a better place. It is my desire that students will select a topic that will start them on the way to a lifelong commitment to a cause.
Each of our District's essential learnings will be an integral part of this unit.
Effective communicator-All students will be frequently discussing with their group, teacher, or community personnel some aspect of the project. They will either be gathering information or relaying it to another. They will be writing almost on a daily basis to relay information to their group or teacher. They will be outlining their schedules and goals, and the final product will be the real test in how effective their communication is because it will hopefully encourage people to take action.
Self-Directed Learner-Each student and group will establish daily, weekly, and monthly schedules and goals. They will check the attendance sheet upon entry to class and are expected to begin the task they have established for that day without instructions from the teacher.
Critical Thinker and Problem Solver-The material researched will need to be used carefully in designing a program to solve a social problem. They will need to be complete and thorough in researching. They will need to be cautious in checking the accuracy and reliability of the material. Of course the final product is how our communities can solve a problem that exists. Life is a problem solving process. Let us begin.
Collaborative Worker-Each student will be working closely with several other students in researching and making decisions on how to use the material to produce a program. Occasionally they will need to communicate with other groups whose problem may overlap with theirs. The students will also be working more closely with the teacher and other adults in the community than what is normally done. Because they do not have answers given to them but they are in search of answers they will be forced to work more with others.
Knowledgeable Person-The research and subsequent use of the material in a meaningful manner will help the student retain the actual content, and the communication skills acquired are also the signs of a person who has at their disposal knowledge of how to communicate. Communication skills are improved when one has worthwhile information to communicate.
Quality Producer-The fact that the end product will be public and that they are doing a public service will encourage quality, much more so than writing a paper or taking a test that will not see the light of day outside the school.
The assessment will include the following:
The student shows effective communication by:
1. making valuable contributions during group discussions
2. keeping the teacher informed on their individual and group progress
3. helping their group make decisions
4. relaying needed information in a timely fashion to the teacher and their group
5. writing papers, goals, and schedules that are easily understood
6. speaking clearly and knowing what they want to say
7. willingness to ask and answer questions
The student indicates self-direction by:
1. indicating presence by checking attendance card
2. establishing an ambitious work schedule to meet stated goals
3. achieving goals established on their schedules
4. beginning work without being told
5. finding alternative work schedules if those planned do not work
6. being constantly productive, regardless of others work habits
7. taking risks, having initiative, and not needing constant teacher input on work to be done
8. checking the web pages for assignments after being absent
Critical Thinker and Problem Solver
The student shows they are a critical thinker and problem solver by:
1. evaluating their work
2. not being satisfied with the first effort
3. questioning the information found and answers given
4. asking questions
5. understanding the importance of what is being done
6. willingness to push themselves to understand before asking questions
7. searching for words to more accurately explain their thoughts
8. applying learned information to their lives
9. using a variety of resources for information
The student shows they are a collaborative worker by:
1. working with their group to achieve a common goal
2. willingness to reach reasonable compromises
3. willingness to arbitrate differences
4. doing their fair share of the work
5. volunteering to do the necessary tasks
The student will demonstrate they have learned content by:
1. discussing with the class the causes, consequences, and cures for this problem
2. establishing a service project that will improve community awareness and implement a new program or aid a present program that will improve our communities
3. answering questions accurately when asked
The student will demonstrate they are a quality producer by:
1. speaking articulately
2. writing clearly
3. being thorough in their research
4. evaluating and then improving their first effort
5. putting in the time needed to find good information and translate that to a quality product
Practice Activities and Instructional Strategies
Class routine emphasizes the process far more than the content. As such, class will not be teacher centered. It will be centered on a process. That process is gathering useful information, communicating with the appropriate personnel, and then deciding how to use the material in a meaningful manner. The classroom will be equipped with several Internet stations to facilitate access to this invaluable tool. Students will not be confined to the classroom. They will make their schedule and then they are off around the building meeting the goals they have set. On a given day I envision the following activities happening by different students: research on the Internet, silent reading, group discussions, teacher conferencing, music selection and recording for their cable television program in the music room, telephone calls to set up appointments, conducting surveys in other classes, writing script for a brochure, interviewing. It is my goal to organize class to meet the essential learnings established by our school district and to make school more like the work world, which is to produce a product or provide a service.
Class will be organized to permit:
1. all students easy access to information according to their daily and weekly schedules. This includes Internet, word processing, telephone, library, teacher, community people.
2. groups of students to conference as needed.
3. the teacher to conference with students as needed.
Students will be instructed on the use of the technologies necessary to implement this project, such as, Internet, camcorder, digital camera, student planner, student notepad, and web pages. The teacher will have access to each student's file to check on their progress and to answer any questions they may have.