Working in collaborative teams, the 8th graders run a grade-wide campaign to encourage their peers to vote for their "candidate" (AKA a charitable organization) as the class cause. Through interviews, web-based research and site visits, students develop understandings about their organization in order to create a complete marketing strategy and compose persuasive speeches. Starting with class primaries, continuing with town halls, and eventually by conducting a grade-wide convention, students develop their verbal, written, and graphic communication skills, all while raising awareness about important issues such as homelessness or the refugee crisis.
Teachers know the difference between the days when kids are struggling and the days when it comes together seamlessly. Those seamless days fill teachers and students with contentment and positive energy. I have to say that during this unit, the days where I left the classroom bursting with positivity and pride far exceeded my expectations. The students drove the learning and felt empowered by the process. The campaign was authentic, skill-development driven, and heart warming.
We are making a real difference to local charities through our fundraising efforts and service hours. While I engaged in and developed numerous projects in the past, nothing compares to this experience. It is the type of project that continues to grow for the students on a personal level, despite the fact that it officially ended weeks ago. We will visit these organizations through upcoming field trips and support them through our STEAM projects.
In the attached documents and student work samples, you will see the skills students developed, assessment tools we used, and creative products they developed. You will not see, though, their enthusiasm. It is hard to capture that on the page. You also won’t see the sort of empathy the students practiced, questions they asked, and collaborative skills they used. Take my word for it, it was a project that worked.
Thank you for taking the time to support and encourage this type of learning.
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