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Thursday, September 04, 2008

Meet Audrey Hill: Woman with a Vision for Flattening 7th-8th grade classrooms



Audrey Hill is a woman with a vision.  She gave me permission to share this with you:

"Thank you for the links.  I am interested in creating a flat classroom style project that researches and collaborates on different issues.  I want to use "flatness" to research, discuss, debate, express and inform on various meaningful issues that affect our world... I dont' have a list of issues yet, because I'd like to interact with other teachers in my cluster to help to develop their awareness of  topical issues of the day and also work with them to get some ideas from them about issues that they are interested in (with some controls from me, since they often choose high interest/low value issues related to their favorite celebrities, etc)... My students are diverse in every way possible which gives me the ability to give them very advanced work and requires me to give some of them less challenging assignments.  Issues that I have in mind include: sustainability, health care, NCLB, violence in video games and movies, dress codes, constitutional issues (freedom of speech, search and seizure) etc.   The goal would be to pair groups of students up from other states or other countries to work on, research, debate and create product related to their issues, as with the FlatClassroom.   

I would love any help I can get in creating this program and finding partners."

Then, a few more exchanges and this work and information:

"I am setting up a wiki for this purpose now,   I see it for the second half of the year in any case, so there's time to get it established.   I've done debate projects before, but my thought now is that the project doesn't only have to do with teaching the tools and having students create products from them, but perhaps from creating a resource that other students can use... so they learn the tools and teach them, they might build a resource for easy to understand rhetorical devices, create a databank of speeches that use those devices and link to them, etc. The project end point would be to create video persuasive essays (much like political commercials) on a topic using what they learned both about the topic and how to represent it.

Here's the link to the wiki... http://www.citizenworks.pbwiki.com"

 If you're interested in this, I encourage you to join Audrey's wiki and contact her through wikimail and express your interest.  I think most great projects require 2-3 committed people who are willing to work together. Julie and I want to mentor and help others start their own projects at other grade levels.  None of us can do this all, and it needs to spread virally between us at all grade levels. 

Also, there are some discussions happening about under age 11 on the Flat Classrooms Ning (for educators not students) and if you have younger students, feel free to join in there as well.

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