Project: 2012 Fall - Writing with Impact

Teacher: Cameron Shinn
School: Preston Middle School
Location: Fort Collins, Colorado USA
Start Date: 09/05/2012
End Date: 12/28/2012
Project Plan
Unique Requests of
Participating Mentors:

We are especially interested in working with mentors interested in helping a student develop his research, project management, collaboration and reflection skills. We are also interested in helping the student realize the importance of sharing his work with an authentic audience. Students have taken part in a Civil Discourse Symposium (CDS) where they have had experience in talking about controversial topics and trying to learn how to listen and appreciate different perspectives and opinions. The purpose of the CDS was to teach students how to disagree, not argue, but also learn how listen and understand when people are different. The other element is that student learn to discuss real issues, and eventually figure out what in the world they would like to change, rather than letting the world dictate life to them. This is where they need help: how to bring about the change they would like to see in the world.

Description:

Students will team with mentors to find the intersection between their interests, natural abilities and a real issue as identified by real professionals. 1. Research a REAL need in the community. 2. Determine how writing can positively impact and address that need. 3. Develop a plan with the mentor's help. 4. Execute the plan. Make it real. Students will identify and leverage expertise from mentors and topic experts.

Benchmarks:

The effective use of cognitive processes to generate and link knowledge across the disciplines and in a variety of contexts. The process of identifying, locating, selecting, and using resource tools to help in analyzing, synthesizing, and communicating information. The identification and employment of appropriate tools, techniques, and technologies are essential to all learning processes. Students locate, select, and synthesize information from a variety of texts, media, references, and technological sources to acquire and communicate knowledge. Use available technology to produce, revise, and publish a variety of works. Cite references using various formats (e.g., end notes, bibliography)

Duration:

16

Grade Level:

6

Content Area:

Language Arts

Student Outcomes:

Student will maintain a digital notebook with all correspondence and products. All students will share the journey of this project with their mentors, additional local experts, and the community of people impacted by their work. The student work will go through multiple iterations of draft, feedback, draft with help from mentors. Students will reflect at minimum of twice a week. Students will reflect on their progress, their thinking, and then their mentor will respond to their thinking in order to help the student clarify their thinking and/or deepen their thought process. Students will then respond to their mentor as to what they think about their thinking and their process. Students will reflect on and share the gap between the current state of their work and the bar of quality they set at the beginning of the project. Then this process starts over again. Students will share this same word document a minimum of twice a week. By sharing the same document and using page breaks, students will be able to assess their progress throughout this process. At the end of the project, students will look at their thinking at the beginning, middle and end so they can evaluate themselves and their progress. Students will also share their pre and post views of collaboration as well as the detailed help they received from the mentor.

Evaluation of
Student Outcomes:

Student will write a 300-word letter to mentor. The subject of the letter will be a self-evaluation of the project, including what the student did well, what he would like to have done to improve upon the project, and what the mentor contributed to the process. Given the fact that each student is focused on positively impacting the world in some way, the student will also share feedback from the stakeholders who were part of that change and discuss it with the mentor. Every authentic project must have an engaged authentic audience.

Teacher Role:

Teacher's Role: Teacher will aid student in identifying research areas of interest. Teacher will help student shape research into hypotheses. Teacher will evaluate student products.

Mentor Role:

Mentor's Role Mentor will aid students in developing and researching questions related to current topics in science or social studies. Mentor will encourage student completion of project goals and edit student work before it is sent to experts or published. Mentor will also try to push student thinking, help students evaluate their work, and communicate with the teacher when the process is both going well and when additional assistance is needed.