Tuesday, January 24, 2012

C-SPAN Student Cam

Over the past several months, three groups of 8th grade social studies students have been working tirelessly and fearlessly on C-SPAN's 2012 StudentCam competition video project.  Their task was to create a video reflecting this year's theme:

After spending countless hours--both in and outside of the classroom--researching, interviewing, filming, and editing, the three groups have finally finished their projects and have submitted the to the contest.  They'll all be anxiously awaiting the March 7th announcement of the winners, but until then they can relish in the fact that all three groups created fabulously detailed and creative projects that highlight the contest's theme.

Once again, I'm amazed by what these students can produce!  It is just incredible as to what they can come up with and then create using their brains and a computer.  Check out all three group's videos below, and stay tuned to see if any of them are national winners!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Lewis & Clark Expedition Challenge

In social studies we've spent some time lately learning about Westward Expansion and groups who "paved the way" for the US's expansion into the west.  One of those groups was the Corps of Discovery, or most commonly known as the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

To conclude our journey with Lewis and Clark, students were issued a one-class period challenge: create a short movie detailing the Lewis and Clark expedition.  Students were able to pull information from the National Geographic Lewis and Clark Expedition website, from the readings and storyboard activity we did in class, as well as information they gathered from the Lewis and Clark video clip they watched earlier in the week.

The students were given 6 simple rules that their video MUST follow.  These rules were:
  1. Must use iMovie
  2. Must use the images from the folder Ms. Pepin sent you (you don’t have to use ALL of the images)
  3. CANNOT use any other images/videos other than what’s given to you!!!
  4. Must give a detailed description of the Lewis and Clark expedition (you decide how you are going to creatively get this description across in your movie)
  5. Must have music
  6. Must finish BEFORE the end of class--export and submitted to the dropbox!
Once again, I was amazed with what my students were able to produce in just 45 minutes or less!  Although they only had less than an hour to do this, I was so impressed with what they came up with, and it really showcased a culmination of what they've learned about Westward Expansion and the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

Below you can view some of the submitted videos students came up with.  Again, these were created in less than an hour...they're not "polished," or what they'd be if the students had more time to work on them, but I think it is a great example of the excellent work students are capable of producing in a limited amount of time.  Super impressive! :)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Twitter Challenge

Today we decided to approach learning about the War of 1812 a bit differently.  I had a reading planned out (check it out below), but thought it was a bit boring and dry.  Instead of just "reading" about the War and answer questions, I decided to put a spin on the lesson.
After we read as a class the above reading and annotated it--highlighting the important facts, causes of the war, events of the war, and outcomes--the students were issued a "Twitter Challenge."  They had to write a comprehensive summary "tweet" of the War of 1812 using only 140 characters.

This is the sheet students were given.  I was AMAZED with the results I got!  Although many tweets were infused with "text" and "slang" language, they all got the point across: a summary of the War of 1812.  Once again, these 8th graders continue to impress me!  And the best part: they all accepted this challenge without complaint...instead of complaining about Ms. Pepin's crazy tweeting idea, they all embraced it and were enthused about the challenge.  This could be a post-reading activity that could be done with almost any topic, and in any content area!  Maybe next time the students will actually tweet out their responses!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Active Citizen Project

To wrap up our government unit and the second quarter of 8th grade, social studies students completed an Active MRH Citizen Project that was a culmination of everything they've learned in our government unit and putting it into action.  Everything from branches of the government, political processes, jobs of the government, the Constitution and its parts, and much more that we covered in our unit.

Students were given a "menu" of choices that they could choose projects from that they wanted to complete to earn 100 points total.  Students could choose from: letter to a leader, political commercial, political process cartoon (animated or illustrated), political cartoon, editorial/news article, and political process song.

I was blown away by what the students created; I was simply amazed with the songs, cartoons, news articles, and songs the students created!  Below is a sampling of some of the amazing work the students turned in for their projects.  I hope you enjoy looking at these as much as I did!

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