Course 4: Final Project

Course 5 Final Project Ideas

Possible Writing Contest Idea

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the final project.  One of my first ideas was to do something with a Collaborative Creative Writing Contest. My husband and I have talked a lot about the strong writers we have in our classes and desire to celebrate their work more than we currently do.

It is also the 10th year anniversary of our school, so we were thinking that it might be cool to tie in a writing contest with this year’s celebration. Perhaps students would need to learn about the history of the school and how it got to where it is today. This would require them to reach out into the community, interview teachers and board members who helped start the school, etc. Then we were thinking students might collaborate to create a piece of writing or perhaps a video connected to the 10th year anniversary celebration.

Concordia 10th Year Anniversary Monthly Celebration Photo.

Maybe the final piece could even be in the form of a news story about the school’s past and present. Or we could give students a creative writing prompt and somehow connect it to the school. I also thought about having students collaborate with one of the art students to create illustrations that go along with the writing. In the end, this could be displayed or presented in May when we have a big 10-year anniversary celebration.

I still really like this idea, but ended up thinking I might go with this second idea. I’d still like to know of any writing contests that elementary international students can get involved in. Some of my students have such great writing. I’d love to find more opportunities for them to get their work seen. Does anyone have any ideas?

Social Justice Issues

The idea that I think I will go with is redesigning the current Social Justice Issues Unit designed by the former grade 4 teachers.  This is a Reading and Writing Unit in which students learn about different social issues through research and using the read aloud, “Amal Unbound.”

Students choose real-world issues and problems (gender inequality, racism, equal education access, etc.), develop ideas and theories around these issues, and pursue answers and solutions.

Some of the changes I would make to this unit are incorporating collaboration by pairing students based on interest in a topic. Students could create a website or blog to keep track of their resources and document their learning.

In the end, students will use their research and knowledge to create a collaborative TedTalk that will be presented in front of an audience of parents and students. The objective of the TedTalk is to raise awareness on the social justice issue.

Because public speaking will be new for the students, they will also collaborate with the high school communications class. These students will be able to give helpful tips and advice to 4th-grade students.

Real-World Application

Another component that I’d like to add to this unit is finding ways to extend learning through real-world application. This is one area of my teaching that I need to push myself in.

In Vietnam, students have access to many different social enterprises such as Blue Dragon, Crazy Love Foundation, and School on a Boat. Having access to these types of organizations will allow students to see how individuals can make a change. This is also one of the 6 Elements of Social Justice Curriculum Design. Students can reach out to these organizations to learn more about their work and to find out how they were able to make change through their social enterprise.

The 6 Elements of Social Justice Curriculum Design offer some guidance in how to successfully design a social justice unit.

Taken from usingtheirwords. org-Designed by Sheryl Davis at San Francisco Human Rights Commission

To meet Element 6: Social Action students will take part in taking social action. Students will need to use the Design Thinking process to tackle a problem connected to their research and Ted Talk. This is the part that will be a challenge for me. It is hard to envision at least 10 different independent projects going at the same time. For anyone that has done something similar, I’d love some advice or any insight? How do you incorporate the real-world application into your classrooms?

Continuum of New Pedagogies Effectiveness From A Rich Seam: How New Pedagogies Find Deep Learning. Real-World Application is over on the far-right. Pushing myself towards the far-right is a goal of mine.

Deep learning experiences are engaging,relevant, authentic and build the 6 C’s.

Michael Fullan 

This unit plan will take students through a deep learning experience that will promote the 6C’s and meet the following ISTE Standards.

ISTE Standards

Standard 1 Empowered Learner: Students leverage technology to take an active role in choosing, achieving, and demonstrating competency in their learning goals, informed by the learning sciences.

Standard 3 Knowledge Constructor: Students critically curate a variety of resources using digital tools to construct knowledge, produce creative artifacts and make meaningful learning experiences for themselves and others.

Standard 4 Innovative Designer: Students use a variety of technologies within a design process to identify and solve problems by creating new, useful or imaginative solutions.

Standard 5 Computational Thinker Students develop and employ strategies for understanding and solving problems in ways that leverage the power of technological methods to develop and test solutions.

5b Students collect data or identify relevant data sets, use digital tools to analyze them, and represent data in various ways to facilitate problem-solving and decision-making.

Standard 6 Creative Communicator Students communicate clearly and express themselves creatively for a variety of purposes using the platforms, tools, styles, formats and digital media appropriate to their goals.

Standard 7 Global Collaborator Students use digital tools to broaden their perspectives and enrich their learning by collaborating with others and working effectively in teams locally and globally.

Any Advice or Tips?

If any of you have taught a social justice unit, I’d love to hear how it went? Or if you have any experience with teaching students how to give a TedTalk type or presentation, I’d love to hear about it! I am also feeling a little uncertain about the real-world application part of this unit. I can’t envision how I will be able to manage all of the different things my students want to take part in. I’d love to hear from any of you with experience with these types of learning experiences.

Author: Andrea Goodrich

I am an international educator working in Hanoi, Vietnam. I have been working overseas for the past 13 years. I started my career in a bilingual school in Guayama, Puerto Rico as a fifth and sixth-grade reading teacher. Then I moved to Guayaquil, Ecuador, and taught fourth grade for two years. While living in Ecuador, I met my husband and we moved to Seoul, South Korea together. In Seoul, I taught fifth grade for two years and then moved into a literacy specialist role. We are now teaching in Hanoi, Vietnam with our two Korean rescue dogs.

One thought on “Course 4: Final Project”

  1. Both ideas for Course 5 are exciting and are centered around the idea of amplifying student thinking and their ideas. I can not wait to see it!
    I think you need to identify the audience for both projects and that will help you to move forward.
    For option 2 you may want to take a look at the ISTE SDG Playground which is happening this week. It could you give some more ideas. https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfD3X87BSc7slKVIEeAZeXOSy4WRz46JHrfDEoeeF_9H64faQ/viewform

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