Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Final Project Lesson Plan, Note to Administrators

Below I have detailed the steps and processes for my 6th grade Social Studies class's final project, in which I will ask students to explore various election issues and to evaluate and synthesize information to present to their classmates. The reason is two-fold: we will teach students the skills necessary to research online and also to create a video. In addition, we want to make our students better citizens. Hope they have fun with this and are truly engaged.

Aim/ Objective:
SWBAT research various social issues and the stances by the two presidential candidates. Students will also create a script and a newsvideo synthesizing and reflecting on these findings.

NYS Learning Standards addressed:
Standard 1: Students will listen, speak, read, and write in English for information and understanding.

Standard 2: Students will listen, speak, read, and write in English for literary response, enjoyment, and expression.

Standard 3: Students will listen, speak, read, and write in English for critical analysis and evaluation.

Standard 4: Students will listen, speak, read, and write in English for classroom and social interaction.

Standard 5: Students will demonstrate cross-cultural knowledge and understanding.

Prior Knowledge/Motivation:
Students have discussed relevant social issues, responsibilities as a citizen, and the election to some extent previously.

Materials/technology used:
computers with Internet access
Windows MovieMaker
video camera
rubric (located at

Procedure: This unit will take three class sessions, but students will be expected to work collaboratively outside of class in order to complete the activity.

Session 1: Introduction

In preparing the students for the final project, I will assign students to a group of four students, ensuring each group is balanced in terms of English language proficiency and project-related abilities. I will ask students about the election and about what they understand the important campaign issues to be. Through informal discussion (brainstorming exercise), we will elicit students' background knowledge.

Once a list of topics has been generated, I will introduce the assignment, in which each student group will focus on one campaign issue (of their choosing, however each group will have a different issue). Groups will have a few minutes of classtime to explore the website and choose the issue they would like to examine for their project.

This predetermined and comprehensive list of choices includes:

Budget & Spending
Civil Rights
Crime & Punishment
Energy Policy
Family Values
Foreign Policy
Gun Control
Health Care
Iraq & "War on Terror"
Jobs & Unemployment
LGBT Rights
National Security
Social Security
Trade & Globalization
Welfare & Poverty

Session 2: Continued research, introduction to script-writing and MovieMaker.

The day's mini-lesson will introduce script-writing and I will show a clip of a newscast, in order to set the tone for students to create a newscast on their issue. Students will be introduced to the rubric for the project at this point, which reminds the students that they must use the professional tone and attire of a true newscast.

As groups continue to research and begin creating their scripts and newscasts, I will conference with each group to answer any questions and to make sure students are on-task and cooperative! These individual conferences will allow me to gauge if groups need directions repeated, for example, or an additional mini-lesson. They will most likely need time outside of class to finish their script and practice, and I must be flexible to giving the students more time in order to do their best work (three sessions is rather rushed for the quality of work I would expect).

Session 3:

In class, each group of 4 students will come up (one group at a time) and I will record their newscast. We will not do re-takes, because the students will be editing their videos later with Windows MovieMaker.

After all groups record, I will give a mini-lesson on Windows MovieMaker, showing this video:

After each group has edited their video, each group will present their completed video to the class. The group will then field questions about their campaign issue and how they made the video. The rubric requires them to be prepared for these questions. This should be a fun class period seeing everyone's work:)

Publishing and Assessment:
I will embed each group's finished video on this blog for evaluation. Although students will have paid attention to their classmates' videos, they will be able to access all the videos in order to evaluate eachother (using Surveymonkey or something similar.) These peer-ratings will be considered when I give the final grades for the project.

Further steps:
This discussion of the election will continue throughout Election Day. I will bring in relevant articles and will also require students to bring in an election-related article to share every two weeks. I look forward to engaging students in this important election-related dialogue.

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