Well---my students are well into their social action/awareness projects. We finished reading MLK Jr's Letter From a Birmingham Jail on Thursday, completed a Socratic Circle over the text, and students composed RAFT Writings (Role, Audience, Format, Topic) where they selected a role to write from the perspective of, a targeted audience, and an appropriate format over some topic within the Civil Rights Movement. They turned them in today, and of the ones I've read--I've been impressed. One student re-told the story of Emmitt Till to an audience of current students from the perspective of the cousin who was with him at the grocery store, another student wrote a journal entry about wanting to be white from the perspective of one of the little girls killed in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, AL--the student imagined the journal entry was written just hours before her death. Another student wrote a letter to the University of Mississippi from the perspective of James Meridith (first African-American student to enroll at Ole Miss). It was a cool way for students to exercise their creativity and show me what they learned about specific events within the Civil Rights Movement.
While students composed their RAFT Writings, I conferenced with each one of them about their social action/awareness projects. I've been so impressed with several students. Of course, there are a few bumps on logs who will do bare minimum. But if even five students gain from the project, then I think it's worth it. I have two students who are putting together a soup supper benefit for a community member who has a rare blood disorder, three students are investigating the security of our facilities and recommending ways we can become more secure in order to prevent school shootings, five students are putting on a run/walk to raise funds for the American Cancer Society, two are planning a tire-changing workshop (how to change a tire) at a local dealership, three more are having a bake sale to raise funds for the Perkins County Humane Society, and one is interviewing students and teachers about their thoughts on respect and then is putting together a multi-step process of how to be more respectful. I love talking with students who are passionate about their projects; it's invigorating.
We are currently in the process of planning our English 9 Project Night scheduled a week from Thursday where they will display these projects to community members, parents, and teachers. I'm not going to lie---it's stressful! But, I'm so excited for this opportunity. I hope there is a good turn-out for the kids--especially those who have worked their rears off already.
I'll post more later!