Project 2: Language Arts Project
The current Grade 9 Language Arts programme at G.C. Rowe Junior High has four units of work which students complete during the year. We have two generic units, "The Novel" and "Drama" (organized by genre), and we have two thematic units "Struggles" and "Relationships" (organized by theme). During the Struggles Unit students research "heroes" and write reports about their findings. This current project will provide students Internet research access and with a Canada-wide and even global interactive collaborative learning opportunity that uses e-mail and on-line newsgroups or discussion groups. It will also be a means for publishing and sharing results through the creation of a web site.
Main curriculum areas addressed by the project include:
During the study of conflict in the Struggles Unit, students will discover real-life instances of conflicts, turning points, climaxes, and resolutions. The Struggles Unit is one of four units which Grade 9 students study at G.C. Rowe. Keyboarding and Wordprocessing is introduced in Grade 7 and continued into Grade 8 and Grade 9, and is an on-going part of the entire Language Arts programme.
In preparation for their work with both CD-ROM and with Internet, students will brainstorm in the classroom to develop a list of possible "search words". They will use these search words or terms to search for items about heroes in The Canadian Encyclopedia Plus. One of the components of the Struggles Unit asks students to use The Canadian Encyclopedia Plus CD-ROM to do a search for heroes and to read any five of the items found in their search. Students will also check the dictionary definitions provided by The Canadian Encyclopedia Plus.
Students will create a discussion group or newsgroup of students on the Internet to get feedback about heroes and to put their own tentative definitions up for review or discussion.
After having completed these tasks, students formulate their own definitions for heroes. Students are then assigned "task cards" describing the next step. Cards vary in difficulty and ask students to check one of several paint sources for an article or story about a hero. After having read the piece, students write a summary of what happened in the story and then have to test out their definitions of a hero against the selection they have read. Students will then post these results in the newsgroups or discussion groups and wait for feedback.
While students are awaiting responses, they will use some of the same search words they used with the CD-ROM in various Internet Search Engines. There, they will search for a story about a Canadian hero, one distinguished during war time.
Students will write the results of their findings into a four-part report: 1) definition of a hero, 2) summary of story about first hero, 3) summary of story about second hero, 4) explanation of how each matches students definitions.
Students will design a Web site for Our Canadian Heroes, and each of their reports will be posted at this site. We also hope to use Global SchoolNet, SchoolNet, RINGS, and Web sites to locate other schools with similar projects and to share ideas with these schools.
Intended learning outcomes and how they relate to the provincial learning outcomes
The STELLAR Schools connection will enhance the Our Canadian Heroes project within the Struggles Unit in a number of ways. It will provide an opportunity to share ideas with and gain new insights from other students on the Internet. It will provide technological resources. It will demonstrate to students that the results of a Search depends on what search words are used. Other resources being utilized include print materials available in our school's Learning Resources Centre and The Canadian Encyclopedia Plus on CD-ROM.