My Final Make

Hi everyone,

For my final make, I wanted to revamp  a final project for my Environmental Science students. Last year, we were required to have a final assessment for all science courses so two of my colleagues and I decided to make the ES final a project! After learning so much more about connected learning from ED677, I think this project would greatly benefit from a makeover. Last year, it was more of a summative project and most students either presented using google slides or videos. The projects were not made public because only our fellow classmates saw each others’ work. One of my main goals for the revamp is to find a way to reach a broader audience!

Project Write-Up and Rubric (I included the old rubric that we made last year on the third page as well for comparison of the before and after of this project): https://docs.google.com/document/d/13yZZv38OBa_EPP4M9TzL9z7guGC6PF3by8X1T4yK2Vc/edit?usp=sharing

Here are how this revamped project correlates to the principles of connected learning:

  1. Product Centered: Last year students had to make a presentation or a public service announcement convincing their audience to go green. It was limited because their audience was me (the teacher) and their classmates (who all learned the same topics). This year, students can choose what to make or do (it can still be a PSA). Depending on who they choose to be their audience, some students may want to make videos, hold an assembly, create flyers or brochures or hang up posters around the school, create an inventory of streetside tree health, create a water conservation tool for homeowners, etc. Even though the main purpose of the PSA is the “message”, I would emphasis product making with the students because I think the message of being environmentally friendly would come across to students naturally as they are creating their projects. They will need to have a medium to present the information they choose to share.
  2. Shared Purpose: We can reach out directly to community members and our township because we share the common goal of creating a more sustainable Cheltenham community. I recently obtained a document of the Cheltenham Sustainability Plan from an administrator and a the PI officer of the township had given us some ideas for how students can help the sustainability initiative. (The document can be found here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7cNutOM5z-hS3YxeHNhY25FYmZNY2pvQ1EwRkpUTmtGa240/view?usp=sharing) I think I can help students get in contact with local leaders like the Tookany Tacony Watershed Partnership to help them on their mission of GOING GREEN! We can have speakers come in or take trips if needed. My students will be learning among experts while addressing real world issues!
  3. Openly Networked: This year I would like my students to be able to reach the broader Cheltenham community because they are able to take action and make a difference in our district.  For those students who may still want to create a PSA, they can present to other science classes, present to other schools in the district, or even ideas to the school board. They also can use Twitter or Facebook to reach a broader audience.
  4. Interests: Instead of requiring every student to present about all of the topics that we covered during the entire year, I will allow students to choose any of the topics/content that we spoke about. I am interested to see what they come up with because I’m sure that they will be able to go into much more depth now with their projects. Also, since now they can choose to tackle a township issue, the interest level should skyrocket.
  5. Peer Culture: I assume that most students would opt to work with a group for their projects so there’s an opportunity for collaboration there. This year, I think I will try to have whole class check-ins twice a week. Each group would present their progress to the whole class and we can discuss and offer each other tips and advice. Even though we are all approaching this project from a different angle, we still have the same goal. Our feedback to each other is invaluable and I would love to see groups helping each other out to create better and better products.
  6. Academic: This project is now much more than an summative project. Students aren’t just reiterating to me what they have learned this year. Instead, they are USING what they have learned to take action! This project is much more rigorous and meaningful. Students will have to use their knowledge, social and communication skills, and creativity to address (and hopefully solve) a real-world issue.

My thoughts:

In a traditional classroom setting, students are doing labor to earn grades without enjoying the process of learning. There is no other satisfaction in school other than getting a good grade. Every student be able to pursue their own interests while learning in depth and gaining the skills they need to be successful. I’ve designed projects before and just recently this year I’ve collaborated with other teachers to create a few PBL units. My work on this project for the past few days was the first time I have used the connected learning framework to design a project and it definitely smoothed out the process! It was much easier to focus on those six aspects first and then worry about addressing content later. I’m glad that I had the chance to practice this for our final make because I will be spending a lot of time at school this summer designing a PBL curriculum for Chemistry next year. I have my work cut out for me there! Anyway, the hardest part about this was actually creating a rubric to grade their products (I wish I didn’t have to assign a grade to everyone but we’re working in a traditional high school and I have to show a final assessment grade on their report cards). Since everyone’s projects are supposed to look very different, it was difficult to figure out a fair way to assess everyone so I think my rubric needs continued improvement. I’m excited to have my students try this project in a few weeks.

 

 

 

The Enduring Maker in Me

Our Ed 677 class has been working on developing a collaborative make. It highlights our ideas about equity and connected learning that were formed throughout the semester. Below is a link to our final product:

https://goo.gl/ZM0drk

This week in Ed 677 we shared out final makes with our classmates.

Below please find a link to my final make:

My Web Page

http://confluencesofconnectedexperiences.weebly.com/

Throughout this course I found myself connecting everything I learned to my own experience of learning about thoroughbreds.

The relationship of my final make to the design and learning principles of connected learning are outlined below.

Design Principles

Openly Networked

The thoroughbred industry is openly networked. All that you need is the desire and time to pursue those networks. You can travel the country to visit tracks, meet jockeys and owners. This is what I find exceptionally inspiring about the industry; you can stand next to and interact with the biggest stars in the sport (horses, breeders, owners, trainers, jockeys, agents) as a fan. With current technologies, however you can also do so without leaving the comfort of your home. In my opinion, this is not the same as traveling to the physical locations. By sharing pictures I have taken of the places I have gone, I hope that I can inspire individuals to travel to the physical location to experience them first hand.

Production Centered

This point really hit home for me personally. I have traveled the country learning about and capturing images of thoroughbreds for years. Along the way I consumed many other individual’s ideas in order to learn what I know. The nice thing about racing is that it allows you to participate as a fan through wagering if you choose to. This is where production comes in. However, I had never organized my thoughts, ideas or images to create something in attempt to draw or connect with other fans. This class is what led me to come up with the idea of creating a website to do so. I have all of this experience and now it is time for me to produce something with it, rather than just consuming along the way. I need to contribute through making.

Shared Purpose

All individuals who pursue the thoroughbred industry have a shared purpose. Although they may be involved in it for a variety of reasons, it is my hope that they are in it for the love of the animal. I know this is not the case, but I should note that those that I follow and have connections with all share an underlying love for the animal. I hope that I can inspire a love for the animal through sharing my photos.

The animal has an unconditional love for humans. To this end, as discussed in class, the animal can give back to us and our students through equine therapy.

Learning Principles

Interest-Powered

The website is based on my combined interests of teaching, photography and horses. It is important as teachers that we allow others to pursue their interests in order to empower them as humans.

Academically Oriented

In my opinion, almost everything is academically based in the thoroughbred industry. You have the science of the animals, math of statistical analysis and business. It is just a matter of how you are able to make the connection to it.

Peer-Supported

Although I have learned about the thoroughbred industry through a variety of methods and experiences my learning has been entirely peer-supported.

Finally, as for the relationship to equity, the thoroughbred industry is a fine niche. If you come from an area of the country where horses are prominent or your friends and/or family are connected to them then you will have access if desired. This was not the case for me. Therefore, I hope that my website can allow others who would not otherwise have been exposed to the industry to access a little piece of it. I would attain my ultimate goal if I could draw at least one new fan.

Reflection

When reflecting on this experience I found it satisfying. It was powerful to hear how each individual took what they learned from the course and applied it uniquely to their experience. At the same time, it was a pleasure to have the opportunity to share my make with my classmates and to have open discussion with them around it. This supported my development of ideas around my website and how they connected to what we learned.

It is my hope that I can continue to develop this website around sharing the connections I have made to the individuals along my learning experience. Most rewarding would be meeting another passionate fan along the way.

I have to say that this was the most interactive and fulfilling online class that I have participated in. Thank you for allowing me to participate in this gratifying experience with you.

Andrew

Sharing, Producing, and Connecting

Blog posts about my Connected Learning classmates’ final makes have started to appear on our class website.  I am in awe of the depth and variety of projects that have been created.  Since I was unable to attend one of the final make discussions I thought I might acknowledge traits I admire about a few of them.  Here are my thoughts:

Samantha K’s multicultural event stood out to me as a perfect example of a peer supported project.  I appreciate that she sought input from her students as well as fellow faculty members.  The combination of food, games, art, music, and technology assures that there will be something to interest every student.

Tosch’s STEM Career Day is an event that could not exist if it were not interest driven.   His focus on making the event different form previous years’ events is obvious after reading how he wanted to make it more interactive and engaging.  I applaud his application of all of the principles of Connected Learning we have been investigating.

Selvi’s proposal to turn an Indonesian library into a community hub for children exemplifies the concept of shared purpose.  I love that her idea reminds us that connected learning does not need to be exclusively digital or online.  Her blogs throughout the semester gave me insight into a culture and location that I previously knew little of.

Jen H figured out a way to teach math more effectively through a comic book project, and as a comic book fan for the past 30 years this can only make me smile.  Her idea combines art, writing, dialogue, and purpose into a tangible  object that can be used to inform future students.  If this is not production centered learning then I think I might need to retake ED677 next semester…

In the week before we began out final makes my classmates and I were asked to contribute to a Google Slides presentation summarizing Connected Learning principles.  Each learner was asked to create a slide, with the idea being that these slides would convey our understanding of exactly what we thought Connected Learning was.  This project was academically-oriented because it was an assignment, but also because it could be used as formative assessment by our professor to determine our comprehension of the topic.   This was a unique group project for me to take part in because each contributor was allowed autonomy over his or her individual component.  It was openly-networked in that every member of the class had the right to both add to the presentation and to comment on others’ additions.  The slides are in chronological order according to the order they were completed, which means that the later someone created his or her slide the more information would already be covered in the previous ones.  “Thank you!” and “Congratulations!” to all of my fellow contributors.  The presentation looks great!

Thanks for reading,

Eric L

Sharing, Producing, and Connecting

Blog posts about my Connected Learning classmates’ final makes have started to appear on our class website.  I am in awe of the depth and variety of projects that have been created.  Since I was unable to attend one of the final make discussions I thought I might acknowledge traits I admire about a few of them.  Here are my thoughts:

Samantha K’s multicultural event stood out to me as a perfect example of a peer supported project.  I appreciate that she sought input from her students as well as fellow faculty members.  The combination of food, games, art, music, and technology assures that there will be something to interest every student.

Tosch’s STEM Career Day is an event that could not exist if it were not interest driven.   His focus on making the event different form previous years’ events is obvious after reading how he wanted to make it more interactive and engaging.  I applaud his application of all of the principles of Connected Learning we have been investigating.

Selvi’s proposal to turn an Indonesian library into a community hub for children exemplifies the concept of shared purpose.  I love that her idea reminds us that connected learning does not need to be exclusively digital or online.  Her blogs throughout the semester gave me insight into a culture and location that I previously knew little of.

Jen H figured out a way to teach math more effectively through a comic book project, and as a comic book fan for the past 30 years this can only make me smile.  Her idea combines art, writing, dialogue, and purpose into a tangible  object that can be used to inform future students.  If this is not production centered learning then I think I might need to retake ED677 next semester…

In the week before we began out final makes my classmates and I were asked to contribute to a Google Slides presentation summarizing Connected Learning principles.  Each learner was asked to create a slide, with the idea being that these slides would convey our understanding of exactly what we thought Connected Learning was.  This project was academically-oriented because it was an assignment, but also because it could be used as formative assessment by our professor to determine our comprehension of the topic.   This was a unique group project for me to take part in because each contributor was allowed autonomy over his or her individual component.  It was openly-networked in that every member of the class had the right to both add to the presentation and to comment on others’ additions.  The slides are in chronological order according to the order they were completed, which means that the later someone created his or her slide the more information would already be covered in the previous ones.  “Thank you!” and “Congratulations!” to all of my fellow contributors.  The presentation looks great!

Thanks for reading,

Eric L

Scrolling through my Facebook news feed, I discovered someone…



Scrolling through my Facebook news feed, I discovered someone commemorating and important event.

April 28,1967, 50 years ago, Muhammad Ali refused to be inducted into the US military. He was immediately stripped of his heavyweight boxing title. Nicknamed “The Greatest,”  This act in my eyes was the greatest act of his life.  He demonstrated immense courage to do this at the height of his career, putting PEOPLE, PLANET, and PEACE before profit.  “I will not go 10,000 miles from here to help murder and kill another poor people simply to continue the domination of white slave masters over the darker people of the Earth.”

Above is my drawing of Muhammad Ali.

Here’s a video clip about the event:  http://abcnews.go.com/US/video/muhammad-ali-refuses-army-induction-1967-39593864

Here’s a link describing the event and his life: http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/muhammad-ali-refuses-army-induction

A Shared Gathering – My Experience

This week in class, we met online through a group hangout in order to share our final makes and to provide feedback on each other’s work.

The most exciting part of this experience for me was being able to share my project with an audience. I was very happy with how the final version of my project document turned out, and being able to share my screen and talk about my work with my classmates felt rewarding. I suppose that this is related to the connected learning principle of being openly networked, as when individuals present/share their work on a larger scale they are taking true ownership for it and pride in it. I think that my classmates felt this way too.

I noticed that everyone (including myself) was so dynamic in talking about their work. Although I am more introverted, I was excited to talk about what I did because I am passionate about it, as I will be able to use my project in my own classroom. Thus, it was interesting to see the interest-driven aspect of connected learning through this lens.

I also received some amazing feedback on my work (to see my final make, click here). One of my classmates (who had done something similar with her students) commented on the production-centered nature of my project and how students will find having a copy of the final product so rewarding. This reminded me of times in elementary school when we would create little projects (such as a plate for Mother’s Day) and I would always be so excited to take them home and share them with my family. Another classmate suggested offering students the option of using comic-creating websites to support their chapters if they have aversions to drawing. Since I have a trio of desktop computers in my classroom, this is something that I will certainly keep in mind. Yet another classmate commented on how powerful it was that I was incorporating art into a STEM subject. I hadn’t even thought of this! Finally, my favorite piece of feedback was the suggestion to assign roles to students that will help ensure the overall flow of the story in the comic book. Since students in my classes are of all different backgrounds, I see this as a fantastic opportunity to differentiate. As a result of this feedback, I will be having students who complete their chapters with additional time to spare volunteer to take responsibility for additional components of the comic book such as designing a cover page and supporting/guiding students who may be struggling (thus taking on a peer mentorship role).

Some questions that were raised for me as a result of this gathering were a) Where else can I do this? and b) What if all teachers did this? I think that it would be so cool to confer with a network of sixth grade math teachers through a hangout and share/receive feedback on ideas. As much as I love working with the sixth grade math teachers at my school, I think that we could all benefit from conferring with those in different locations and with different student populations so that we could gain different perspectives. When we discussed the need for a network of online ESL teachers, I found that I really wanted the same for my focus area as well! While these connections do exist through Twitter, blog postings, and professional gatherings, I think that it would be so valuable to be able to speak live with a small group about a particular topic–everyone would have something to gain!

My main take away in terms of equity in connected learning as a result of engaging in this process is that peer support by way of feedback allows us to grow and refine our ideas in ways which we may not have been able to do independently. I have gained new perspectives on my work as a result of our gathering, and feel more empowered about my project as a result. In addition, having the freedom to design and create a project that was relevant to individual needs and areas of interest fosters passion and enthusiasm, resulting in more meaningful work. Not all of my classmates were classroom teachers– however, everyone still had such powerful thoughts to share because they were tinkering with ideas that they were passionate about. We all taught each other something in this way. I thus think that equity is driven by our passions–both among each other and in terms of inspiring our youth. I know that I feel more motivated and capable of taking my own steps towards allowing all of my students’ voices to be heard.

Just as we met through this group hangout with a shared purpose of receiving feedback on our work, another exemplification of shared purpose can be found here, where my classmates and I each summarized our key takeaways about connected learning and equity.

Thank you for reading!

-Jen H.


In class this past Friday, I was talking about how just because…



In class this past Friday, I was talking about how just because we are wired/wifi-ed does not mean we are connected. In many ways, we have become more disconnected. This sign captures the frustration of many who recognize the ways in which technology has sometimes been a source of isolation, alienation and disconnectedness.  That night as I scrolled through my Facebook feed, quite paradoxically, this picture was posted by my cousin who was asserting the opposite:

“Here’s the thing, I remember 1993. I remember exactly how socially isolated I was back then, as I had been for most of my still-young life. It seems like a million years ago now, because my world (inner and outer) changed so much since then, it’s so much richer and full of deep, powerful connections to other humans. But in 1993 it was not nearly as much, and I remember that vividly.

And you know what changed between then and now? The internet. This amazing world of new passageways and portals to each other’s humanity, that suddenly opened up before us. Along with my hip-hop and radio (and Prince fan) communities, this magical space we share right here gave me what I for so long believed impossible: a life where I never doubt that I am seen, and heard, and connected, and loved. There are no words for how badly I wish I had this in 1993. I think about it all the time, how different my life, and self, could have been. So yeah, IMO whoever wrote that thing is just wrong about the internet, and wrong about life.”—-Jay Smooth

His Facebook post can be found here:  https://www.facebook.com/jsmooth995/posts/10154741256372137

One of his friends commented on his post and I agree with here:

“Sitting with the pains of being human can be difficult. Sitting with loneliness and isolation can be a challenge, too. Online social connection isn’t a substitute for the real thing. Yeah, I said it…real thing. As a relationships researcher who studies the impact of technology on well being I will be the first to admit the many positive implications of virtual connection, but not the first or last to say that it often also leads to more isolation, more loneliness, and a decline in overall well being for many people. If this song I’m singing seems questionable, jump into the research and swim around a bit. Fascinating. Also, there is a reason why social anxiety, depression, and a host of mental health issues have been on the rise since…you guessed it.”

Her post can be found here:  https://www.facebook.com/jsmooth995/posts/10154741256372137?comment_id=10154742170492137

Alienation, isolation and feelings of disconnectedness plague Western society. If we could learn from the wisdom of indigenous societies, these problems could be eradicated. Malidoma Some talks about this in his book, “The Healing Wisdom of Africa.”

I see my life as a journey of discovering connections. Dr….



I see my life as a journey of discovering connections. Dr. Howard Thurman pictured in my drawing here was someone whose work has had a tremendous influence on my thought. He mentored The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  He believed in the connectedness of everyone. He said that the way you realize this connectedness is by going deep down into your self.  You go so deep that you reach a place like an underground sewer system whereby you come up inside everyone else. He stated the following: “If I can’t sense in you that which is in me, then my sniffer is off and I need to work on my sniffer.”   You can find a posthumous Facebook page for Thurman here:  https://www.facebook.com/HowardThurman

My classmate, Selvi talked the other night about transforming…



My classmate, Selvi talked the other night about transforming her library back home in Timor into a place of deeper connectedness.  Tonight as I scrolled through my Facebook newsfeed, I came across a post that can be found here:

https://www.facebook.com/upliftconnect/photos/a.316895231780798.1073741828.303661393104182/1022450131225301/?type=3&theater

It features this quote and photo of Alan Rickman. Underneath the photo, in the comments I discovered the following photo

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=464614480596966&set=p.464614480596966&type=3&theater

Which led me to the incredible concept of human libraries/human books!

There are public libraries in the world where you can “check out” live people!  My mind is racing with connective energy right now, so excited…..

My Final Make – Bringing it all Together

Introduction

For my final make, I designed a comic book project that I plan to use at the end of this school year with my sixth grade math students. I chunked the project into four parts (chapter proposal, rough draft, peer feedback/revisions, and final draft) in order to guide students’ work and to provide an outline for the tasks in which students will be engaged during class time. The main premise of the project is that students will be placed into pairs in order to create a chapter of a comic book that will relate to a math topic that was learned during the school year. At the completion of the project, all final chapter drafts will be joined together, forming a class comic book that will be shared with next year’s incoming sixth grade students.

My Connected Learning Process

Before I begin to describe how this project relates to the connected learning principles that we have explored in class this year, I wanted to briefly discuss the implications of pose/wobble/flow and how I was a connected learner throughout the task of creating this final make. First, I posed an end goal of wanting to create a project that would allow for my students to engage in connected learning and that would promote equity in my classroom, as this was the focus of my class inquiry question (“How can we promote equity in the mathematics classroom when students come to us at all different levels?”). I turned to some of my networks via online resources and connections within my school building in order to gather and then refine my ideas.

I was originally inspired by Jason and the Matha Lisa (which I later found out is being sold on Amazon!), as I felt that having students all contribute a chapter to a book exemplified the connected learning principle of shared purpose (see #5 in my last “Find Five Friday” here.) However, I wobbled with the idea of how best to adapt this project to my own classroom environment. I knew that I wanted to make this a culminating project for my students, allowing them to reflect on all of the topics that they learned in math this year–but aside from that felt a little stuck. I sat down with a grade-level department colleague and laid out my thoughts. While she liked the idea of having students create a book, she reminded me that gaining access to a computer lab during one of the last weeks of school would be quite difficult to do. She then suggested having students create comics, as students would not need to word process. I immediately thought about how we learned this semester that technology, though oftentimes useful, is not a necessary component of connected learning. From there, I was reminded of Nick Kremer’s (2014) testimony in Teaching in the Connected Learning Classroom about how well the use of comics can align to the connected learning principles. Thus, the idea of having students create chapters in order to build a comic book story was conceived through input from several different connections–all of the pieces were coming together!

Another one of my inquiry questions from Week 6 was, “What does assessment look like in a connected learning classroom? How can we hold students accountable for their learning in such a setting?” I knew that by creating a project for my students, I would have the opportunity to tackle this question. I turned to RubiStar as a resource as I wobbled with how best to assess my students. RubiStar has templates of rubrics for all subject areas available. I felt that the categories available for math suited my project nicely. I was able to select a handful that I felt were best aligned to the goals of the project and the skills in which it would have students engage. Two of my selected categories are related specifically to the academic content, one is related to collaboration, one is related to task completion, and one is related to how neatly the final product is organized. The RubiStar template contained descriptions for each of the point domains regarding each category. While I adjusted a few words here and there to specifically suit my project, the main ideas that appeared in the template remain. Thus, through my tinkering, I found RubiStar to be a useful tool in my exploration of how to assess work relating to connected learning.

My small moves of designing this project and relating it to the connected learning principles (and thus to the promotion of equity in my classroom) are where I feel that I have achieved a sense of flow (see below).

My Make

Check out my project here: Math 6 End of Year Comic Book Project

I have included comments on the side inside of the document listing my rationale for certain elements of the project as well as more detailed explanations of various project components–please make sure to click on the comment bubbles on the right hand side of the document in order to read them!

Although students are working in pairs, I am planning on having each individual student turn in one of the above attached documents in order to hold them individually accountable for their participation and contributions.

My Make and the Principles of Connected Learning

Interest-driven. This project is interest-driven because it provides students with the freedom to choose their own setting, characters, and story-line for their chapter. This allows students to flex their creativity muscles and to design a story that has personal meaning to them. This will in turn make the work more engaging, allowing students to bring their ideas to life through their writing and illustrations. Students will ultimately be proud of their work because they will have ownership over it.

Peer-supported. This project is peer-supported on several levels. First, students will be working in pairs in order to create their chapters. This will require students to communicate, collaborate, and compromise in order to reach agreements as to how they would like their story to flow and what they would like to include within it. Within their pairings, students will need to work with each other’s strengths and weaknesses, determining how best to divvy up tasks and responsibilities. These types of collaboration skills are the same that are required across careers and thus will empower students both inside and outside of a classroom-based environment. In support, Kremer (2014) writes, “…when teams of students are employed in the act of creating a comic together, a range of twenty-first-century skills, such as leadership, collaboration, conscientiousness, and adaptability, are cultivated in a messy, play-like environment that all-too-accurately mirrors the real world… (p. 52). I think that my project takes this idea even one step further. By allowing students to engage in these types of collaborative efforts, I will not simply be preparing my students for their future. Rather, I will be showing them that their contributions are valued in the present—a notion that I highlighted in one of my recent blog postings and that I feel is key to achieving equity.

This project is also peer-supported by means of peer feedback. By incorporating a peer feedback component into the project, students are able to reflect on each other’s work as well as revise their own work based off of the ideas of their classmates. This further conveys to students that their contributions are valued. It also drives home the notion that each class of students has total ownership over their completed product.

Academically oriented. This project is academically oriented, striking what I consider to be a perfect balance between academic content and connected learning practices. Through the creative and collaborative (yet personalized) process of creating a comic book chapter, students demonstrate their mathematics content knowledge. Students are required to include three worked out examples in their comic as well as explanations of key terms. Students will have to tinker in order to determine how best to integrate these concepts within their chosen story-line.

Production-centered. This project is production centered, as students are creating individual chapters that will ultimately be joined to form a class comic book. By the end of this project, students will have completed a tangible piece of work that will be shared with others.

Openly networked. The tasks in this project are openly networked in several ways. First, as students work on their chapters, they will need to confer with peer groups outside of their own in order to both a) gather feedback and b) ensure that the story flows from chapter to chapter. In addition, students will be sharing their final product with future sixth graders. This makes their work meaningful and purposeful. My hope is that the incoming sixth graders will page through these comic books and become more inspired to learn and engage with the mathematics as a result of seeing the amount of effort that these students will put into creatively explaining each topic.

Driving a shared purpose. Shared purpose is evident through this project by how students’ chapters will be combined in order to form a whole comic book which will be shared with incoming sixth grade students. Each student has an essential role in the completion of the project, contributing to the final product. The final product will thus shine with the voices of all of my students, providing everyone with a chance to be seen/heard.

Conclusions: My Make and Equity 

This project supports equity because it allows students to engage in the principles of connected learning. As I have discovered through my work this semester, connected learning forms a pathway for promoting equity among students. In specific, the comic book project will empower my students by allowing each of their voices to be heard and each of their ideas to be valued. By being interest driven, students will be able to make a comic including a setting and characters that they are passionate about—they will be free to tell their story, claiming ownership for their work. In addition, this project will allow student strengths to shine that may normally not receive attention in math class (e.g. drawing, writing, etc.). By being peer-supported, this project will encourage students to value the ideas and feedback that they receive from each other, further empowering them to view their contributions as meaningful. In addition, the 21st century skills in which students will engage as they complete this project (e.g. time management, communication, collaboration, planning, providing and receiving feedback, etc.) will be applicable far past classroom walls alone. Accordingly, Kremer (2014) writes, “Equity in the classroom can be realized further by providing structured opportunities for peer collaboration, and comics inherently present unique opportunities for social connection that mirror the exchanges students actively seek in their everyday lives” (p. 52). By being production centered and openly networked, students will have the opportunity to take pride in a completed, collaborative piece of work which will live on well past the end of the school year. Finally, the shared purpose that my students will enact in creating the final comic book will bring them together as a community of learners for an authentic purpose.

Thus, it is my hope that through engaging in this project, my students will make small moves towards existing in and consequently leaving my classroom feeling confident and empowered, ready to tackle oncoming challenges that may come their way. My hope is that they will realize that their contributions matter—that THEY matter and that they can make a difference!

-Jen H.

References

ALTEC at University of Kansas (2008). RubiStar. Retrieved from http://rubistar.4teachers.org/index.php

EL Education (2017). Jason and the Matha Lisa. Retrieved from http://modelsofexcellence.eleducation.org/projects/jason-and-matha-lisa

Garcia, A., & O’Donnell-Allen, C. (2015). What it means to pose, wobble, and flow. In Pose, wobble, flow: A culturally proactive approach to literacy instruction (pp. 1-15). Retrieved from https://via.hypothes.is/http://marginalsyllab.us/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/PWFlow-Intro.pdf

Kremer, N. (2014). Writing with pictures: Comics and connected learning. In A. Garcia (Ed.), Teaching in the connected learning classroom (pp. 49-52). Irvine, CA: Digital Media and Learning Research Hub. Retrieved from http://dmlhub.net/wp-content/uploads/files/teaching-in-the-CL-classroom.pdf

Pennsylvania Department of Education. (2014). Mathematics assessment anchors and eligible  content aligned to the Pennsylvania Core Standards: Grade 6. Retrieved from http://www.education.pa.gov/Documents/K-12/Assessment%20and%20Accountability/PSSA/Assessment%20Anchors/2014%20Grade%206%20Math%20AA.pdf