This week, we began a major project in Language Arts that combines numerous topics and skills we’ve learned so far this year (organization of writing, persuasion, speeches, research skills, infographics, etc.), and merges them into one real-world simulation activity in which students take on the role of ambassadors from a country, vying for a $50 million dollar grant to help resolve a major world issue. We call it The Grant Project.
On Monday, we distributed a webquest sponsored by http://www.peacecorps.gov that asks the students to explore various links meant to introduce them to their topic and encourage them to think critically about the problem at hand. Track 1 began this same assignment in late January/early February, and aside from a few broken links and some snow, the project went off without a hitch. As it turns out, however, the website has revamped as of today, and the webquests we were using as an introduction are no longer working on their site.
However, this assignment was never intended to be the only research for this assignment; it was simply meant to acquaint students with the topic they would shortly research. The students will probably get home today and worry about how they will get it done, and we want to set their minds, and your mind, at ease. We will not be collecting the webquests on Friday, but we strongly encourage students to investigate their answers, as being familiar with the answers will no doubt result in a better final presentation.
The questions on their webquest handouts are still awesome questions to consider, and they will no doubt help students develop a better understanding of their issue. Many of the answers can be found by searching a traditional search engine like Sweet Search (for students) and Google. Many of the links from the peace corps website are also located in the research section of The Grant Project (http://thegrantproject.pbworks.com).
We always look for teachable moments, and dealing with technology certainly leaves plenty of room for that. When dealing with free internet tools, it’s difficult to say what will work today or what might be gone tomorrow! But as we all know, we learn to adapt, and we make accommodations as needed.
We look forward to seeing how the projects turn out, as they have plenty to read and research for the project outside of just the Peace Corps introduction. This is always a fun assignment, and it’s fulfilling for us to see the students put the skills they’ve learned to practical use.
Let us know if you have any further questions.
Mrs. Hannula (Track 3) & Mrs. Barrow (Track 4)
Salem Middle School
6th grade language arts