Karen Niegelsky, our 6th grade Humanities and 8th grade Composition teacher, has developed an intriguing 21st Century unit based around the principles of Heidi Hayes-Jacobs' Innovators' Challenge. She describes it below:
Students are usually cautioned about using Wikipedia as a source for academic papers, but when doing “real world” research, many of us head to this popular website to find information to everyday questions. Rather than simply dismissing it as an unreliable resource for “real” research, Canterbury eighth graders will spend the second trimester exploring its virtues and producing their own contributions to an actual Wikipedia article.
Each eighth grader will choose a topic to research thoroughly and then produce a Wikipedia-style article that is fluent, reliable, and non-biased. In completing this project, students will gain experience in writing for a real audience and in dealing with criticism and suggestions that may come from readers other than fellow students or their teachers. Finally, they will get the thrill of seeing their work online. (Their privacy is protected; Wikipedia authors are anonymous.)
Students should be able to use much of their work to meet the requirements of the Canterbury portfolio project including
· Develop a fundamental understanding of emerging ethical issues and dilemmas regarding new media and technologies.
· Respond to an experience of failure in a way that acknowledges that innovation involves small successes and frequent mistakes.