Friday, January 23, 2015

Wall of Shame? Or, Wall of Fame?

On our collegial listserv, operating as an informal PLC, someone asked for ideas on a 
R-E-S-P-E-C-T  or Dignity character education lesson.  I thought I'd share my response as an example of "repackaging" a lesson into an Inquiry-based Learning adventure.  This is something that might fit our new moniker "Mininiquiry" or a short research project that can be done in a lesson or two -- as compared to a "more sustained" research project.  

The CCSS calls for research to build and present knowledge to be an "anchor standard."  Have your teachers dropped anchor in your domain lately?  Here's one idea for them! 


Original email request:

"A 6th grade teacher just came to me. She is doing a project on "respect"
and "dignity" with her class and I am trying to help her come up with a
way for her kids to research this. (She originally just wanted the
computer lab where she was going to let her kids loose on the Internet -
until I stepped in and said, "Let me teach the class").

She doesn't even know yet what the final project will be - a paper? a
PSA? a trifold board? So I don't have a lot to go on...."

Here are some possible thoughts to digest: 

* Begin with the end in mind —  You are correct that your teacher needs to
determine the final "knowledge product” (I.e. How will they show they have
learned the material - What do you want your students to KNOW or BE ABLE
* Final knowledge products should be linked back to the "big idea" - in  this case respect and dignity.
* She needs an essential question to hook the students into the relevance.
* So with all that in mind here¹s just 1 simple idea:

EQ:  If you were to build a "Wall of Fame"  and a "Wall of Shame" for
respect and dignity, who would be on it and why?   —  Build an EBC.

With an EQ like that, they are beginning with the end in mind.
  • This is student-centered. - They are in control of their search
  • They will think like “historians" - cause and effect  - historical heroes, etc. (You could align this with a historical “era" to hit a SS standard,etc.)
  • This is Inquiry based as they have choice and a voice.
  • It might help for the class to brainstorm together (Wonder) the characteristics of “respectful” or “dignified" people.  You could even activate thinking by having copies of newspapers or TIME magazines and ask them to find people currently who would qualify for either side.  Ask why?  That will incubate the thoughts of characteristics for either side.
  • These characteristics may become some of the keywords for searching.*   This also gives you an opportunity to use either a biography database, a newspaper database, or other resources and teach narrowing your search.
  • It also allows them to build an EBC (evidence-based claim) to support their answers. This correlates to ELA standards. 
  • This allows an easy way to layer technology via many different apps such as 
  • This is also not technology-dependent, if your school lacks it. 
  • The new C3-SS Standards encourage kids to get to “civic action.”  This is a perfect lesson to incubate that response.
  • Include a slogan for the school? - Create a slogan for “dignity.”  (Have them visit to create one…if it’s not blocked in your school.  Choose the English version not the German.)

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