At the heart of the learning commons are the values of collaborative planning and inquiry in a responsive space that deepens learning and ensures students have access to quality learning opportunities. To cultivate this environment, my leadership at MidSun began with fostering effective relationships by creating a highly visible and easily accessible presence and seeking out meaningful interactions. I build relational trust by treating everyone with integrity.

In November 2015, a grade 8 Math/Science teacher approached me looking to collaborate on an upcoming water systems project for approximately 250 grade 8 students. The teacher wanted students to create a news clip on a global water issue. Immediately, I recognized the cross-curricular connections to humanities and asked if he would consider an interdisciplinary approach, an approach new to MidSun School. Working through the idea, he agreed, and we approached the humanities team. As a group, we developed the task, arranged a guest speaker and collaborated on assessment.

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An overview of the task is below:


Oceans, Water and Climate

Using a selected news article from the website Newslea, apply your knowledge from our Fresh and Saltwater Systems Unit, form a team of three to demonstrate an in-depth understanding of one concept within the unit and how it applies to a current issue.

Goal:

  • Your task is to become and expert and communicate information about a world issue related to the Fresh and Salt Water Systems unit and climate.
  • Your basic goal is to effectively build background knowledge, research, link this topic to a concept from the Fresh and Salt Water Systems Science Unit, and report on the chosen global issue.
  • The challenge is to script, film and edit a news report communicating this issue including actual interviews
  • Work in a group of three to generate a news report to communicate the issue being researched

Role:

  • You are journalist with a firm deadline; your boss is expecting you to participate in an investigative journalism piece.
  • In teams of three, you have been asked to create a news clip – audio and/or video – on a chosen topic.
  • Your job is to…
    • Learn about the topic
    • Research the topic – create a reference list
    • Write a script for the broadcast
    • Film the broadcast and use other video clips and still images to support your topic
    • Edit your film and present to your audience
  • One obstacle to overcome will be to identify the cause of the global issue and what is being done to solve this issue.

 Audience:

  • Your target audience is the general public.

Situation:

  • The setting you find yourself in is a broadcasting studio, and you need to meet a firm publication deadline.
  • The challenge involves dealing with connecting a current global issue on oceans and/or climate to current learning in your Science class and then presenting this in an engaging format.
  • You will showcase your news piece in class for your journalism colleagues to view.

 

Project Progression – Each stage must be signed off by your teacher

Product, Performance & Purpose:

Task 1 – Level 1 – Build your background knowledge (Knowledge Building)

  • You will complete a pre-planning stage to show your understanding of the global issue and science concept. This pre-planning stage involves:
    • Completing a reading comprehension task and graphic organizer in humanities.
    • Create a web of the information with questions for further research
    • List Vocabulary that is particular to this topic

 Task 2 – Level 2 A – Build detailed knowledge of the topic (Investigating)

  • Develop a plan for your research
    • List the questions you have about the topic
    • List resources you could use (work from general to specific)
    • Start the research with general information first (ie. Online Encyclopedias, Wikipedia, Online dictionary, …)
    • Refine your vocabulary list and add to your web (use a different colour to show new information)
    • Researching further information about the topic

Task 3 – Level 2 B – Create a plan for your communication of your knowledge (Planning)

  • You will planning stage to communicate your understanding of the global issue and science concept. This planning stage involves:
    • Complete the graphic organizer showing the main idea and subtopics of your Issue.
    • Sketching out a draft storyboard to plan your broadcast structure.
    • Write script for Introduction, body (3 parts) and conclusion
    • Collect more supporting information –
      • data,
      • interviews,
      • images

Task 4 – Level 3 – Film and edit your news broadcast (Creating and communicating)

  • You will create a news broadcast on your topic. Be sure to include:
  • An introduction and overview of your topic as well as the problem associated with your topic
  • An interview with an expert in the subject area
  • Data that supports the issue
  • How the problem can be or is being addressed

Task 4 – Level 4 – Share your broadcast with your target audience (Sharing and Demonstrating)

  • You need to present your news clip to your Science class.
  • Broadcasts will be showcased with all of your colleagues (peers).

 

With the number of teachers involved, we were able to provide students multiple choices for task completion, personalizing learning. For example, initially it was thought that students would create a video. However, green screen and voice recording options were incorporated to provide student choice. Teachers could assist students in multiple classrooms according to their strengths, and I was invited into the process to support.

A positive impact resulted, as evident through high completion rates, student reporting on positive task efficacy, and an increase in students achieving above grade level. Upon project completion, staff engaged in reflection to determine what went well and needed to change for future interdisciplinary projects. Specific feedback was documented and areas for my support – digital citizenship education and iPad workflow professional learning – were identified.

Below is an exemplar of completed work.

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