Real Projects for Real Students

This year I’m using a project-based approach to teach my eighth grade English class.  The students are in the process of planning a multimedia site consisting of a blog, an audio podcast and a video podcast.  Here’s of rough outline of how they’re doing it:

  • They’ve already indicated to me their area of interest: blogging, audio production or video production.  Fortunately, there are an equal number of students interested in each area.
  • Right now they’re in the process of developing the mission statement of the site in order to have a clear focus when it comes time to create content.  They’ve looked at various mission statements from around the web, including the mission statement from SQPN, the model for our project.
  • After they’ve developed the mission statement, the class will brainstorm domain names and we’ll go through the process of seeing what’s available.  We’ve already done some preliminary work on this, so it shouldn’t take too long.
  • Once the domain name has been chosen, students will get into their groups to develop an editorial calendar.  The blogging group will decide on recurring content for each day of the week, and the other two groups will develop a production schedule for their weekly podcasts.
  • As they begin working on content, they’ll also have input on the appearance of the site and we’ll begin to make some decisions about what it should look like.  We’ll use freely available blog themes to begin with, as we don’t have money to pay a designer, and none of us are experienced enough with template design to make our own.
  • Our target goal for publishing our first content is October 12, but our public launch will be November 1, All Saints Day, since our school is All Saints Catholic School.  We hope to have several weeks’ worth of content before that time.
  • In the days leading up to November 1, students will learn how to market their site to the Internet community, as well as to their own school community.

This is the first time I’ve ever done anything like this, and I’m a bit nervous about how it will go, but I’ve got great faith in the students.  My job will be to function as the editor-in-chief– approving stories, suggesting rewrites and edits, helping them learn the audio and video software, and so on.

You can be sure that the readers of Teen Literacy Tips will be a part of our public launch, so keep checking back for stories of our progress.  Better yet, why not subscribe to Teen Literacy Tips.  You can get every article via email, or you can have the content delivered to your blog reader.

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4 Responses

  1. Maureen says:

    Looking forward to hearing more about their progress!

  2. Nick says:

    Thanks! We’re moving right along–they’ve written the mission statement and decided on a really cool domain name, which will be revealed in the coming weeks.

  1. October 31, 2007

    […] November 1st, All Saints Day, my eighth grade English class will publicly launch the web site they’ve been working on for the past month. They’ve been creating articles and podcasts for about two weeks now, and each one is better […]

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