Saturday, October 29, 2011

New Year New Citizenship Curriculum

Well it is the end of October, the temperature is cooling off here in Manitoba but it is rising inside the Grade 8 classes at Sargent Park School.  We are embarking on our fourth year of Teaching Citizenship and we have added a few new twists.

One of the first twists is that we have asked the students to participate in an activity called Halloween for Hunger.



We have had 3 meetings with the students so far.  Of the 140 that we teach between 60 and 70 are willing to do this activity.  Wow if each student brings in 10 items for our food bank that would be over 700 items.  Our class food drives have been successful so far and we have brought in between 100 and 200 items.  I am proud of our students.  Great cause too.  Helping hunger at Halloween instead of helping tooth decay.

This year we are a We School.  This means that we get to participate in We Day in Winnipeg and do activities for Free the Children.  This has opened up many opportunities for our students to see the power of youth in action. We get to take 45 students to this event.  So they are showing us actions they are doing to be chosen.  Sadly there will be lots of competition. and not enough seats.  The rest of the rooms will watch the simulcast on Much Music back at the school.


Here is what we have done so far....

To inspire the students about the power of humanity we showed this X-Factor Australia clip. If  you have not seen it you need to. Warning you will need some kleenex at the end.  Powerful stuff. When showing this to your students stop it at the 50 second mark.  Talk about what they have seen then play the rest of the video.  (The crafting of this video by X-factor is also worth noting.  For a film class it is amazing how powerful the soundtrack and editing is)



Our first We Day activities focused around Spencer West and Craig Keilburger.  Spencer is a motivational speaker for a group called Me to We.  It is affiliated with Free the Children and pushes youth to become active in their community and around the world.  We showed a video of Spencer


Following that we had the kids read a biography of Spencer we had found online.  The students read the biography and highlighted the key words.  We are going to have them put all the words into a Word splash like a Wordle.

Once the students complete this task they are doing a few different activities, found on the second page of the document.  Most importantly we want the kids to go from I COULD to I WILL statements.  Following the I WILL statements we will take a photo of the students eyes and I WILL statement over their mouths.  This will be made into a movie and photo mosaic like the one found at this Ewan McIntosh post. Instead of hands we will use our I WILL statements.  It should be powerful.
http://yfrog.com/kljbhxuj
We also introduced the students to Craig Keilburger.  In my opinion one of the most important Canadians of all time.  At such a young age Craig is the founder and spark behind the Free the Children Organization.  This is a group he started when he was but.... 11 years old.



As we were studying and learning about Craig the idea was to draw parallels between his life and the lives of my students.  We used a 3 column approach to attack this issue.  I found a biography of Craig online and the students read and watched the video to find out key characteristics about Craig's life and passions. It was interesting to see all the interest in what he had accomplished and to see them struggle to see similarities between what their lives are like and what his has been.  Once the students had done this note taking we asked them to choose 4 character traits they admire in Craig and write a few sentences explaining why they had chosen them.

Lots of work for a morning but it was amazing.  I had two classes in my room.  That is 70 students.  All of them were on task and talking about what we were doing and the people they had just met on video and print.

We will continue this lesson on Monday morning.  Following this we will show Pay It Forward and inspire the students to do Random Acts of Kindness!! Wow they will really start to change soon!!

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