Over the past few years, I’ve become convinced that today’s kids are best motivated as learners when they are tackling a real-world issue in a meaningful way. That’s why my #sugarkills blog and my classroom microlending project have been so successful.
As Marc Prensky says, technology gives today’s students power that they’ve never had before. It’s our job to help them learn to use that power to change the world in meaningful ways.
To that end, I spent the day whipping up a new cause for my kids to tackle during a school-wide enrichment period that starts next year. Our cause will be called Speak Up Salem and our goal will be to push for a school culture where bullying isn’t tolerated by generating influential Public Service Announcements that pair provocative images with interesting quotes.
Here’s a sample:
The notion of creating influential visuals ties directly to several of the language arts goals in the sixth grade curriculum — and learning to use visuals to be persuasive is probably one of the most important skills for grabbing attention in today’s information-soaked world.
I’m also excited about the fact that this lesson will give me a chance to introduce students to the Creative Commons — a new form of copyright where photographers, musicians, writers, and artists are granting other users permission in advance to use their content.
If this sounds good to you, here is a simple overview of the lesson that is designed to help other teachers get a sense for what I’m going to do:
And here are the materials that I’ll be using when we start the project:
Speak Up Salem Quotes and Statistics – http://bit.ly/speakupsalemquotes
This link connects to a Word document with several statistics and quotes about bullying that students can use when creating their Speak Up Salem slides. Encouraging students to select a quote or a statistic from this collection will save time in the creation process simply because they won’t have to find their own statistics and/or quotes connected to bullying.
Speak Up Salem Slides – http://bit.ly/speakupsalemslides
This link connects to a PowerPoint presentation with 67 different Creative Commons images that students can use when creating their own Speak Up Salem slides. Encouraging students to select an image from this collection will save time in the creation process simply because they won’t have to find their own CC images to use in their final products.
Speak Up Salem Directions – http://bit.ly/speakupsalemdirections
This link connects to a set of technical directions on using PowerPoint to create an influential visual. At a minimum, it can help you to better understand the kinds of things students will need to be able to do when using PowerPoint to create an influential visual. You may also want to share one set of directions with each student group OR train a few student leaders that can provide technical support to their peers.
Speak Up Salem Scoring Rubric – http://bit.ly/speakupsalemrubric
While I don’t plan to grade the work that my students do on this assignment — honestly, I get sick of living in a world where everything has to have a grade tied to it to be considered worth doing — I DO plan on having my kids evaluate the overall quality of their final products with this scoring rubric.
Hope this helps — and more importantly, hope you’ll stop back and give me feedback if you use this lesson with YOUR kids! I’d love to know about any changes that you make.
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