Lee Hewes

is totes becoming a teacher…

Launching Project Awesome!


If you’ve read some of my previous posts you will already know that Michael, Bianca and I have been planning to have our classes working on a joint project together whilst I’m up here. Well what better time to launch it than on my first day!

This is how it went.

The driving question for the project is “What can we learn from the life stories of others?”

The project centres around learning about the life stories of others through:

a) connecting with other students in a very different part of NSW (Davidson High School on Sydney’s Northern Beaches and North Star Public School in rural northwest NSW).

b) student questions and answers between the classes via edmodo and Twitter

c) the reading of an autobiographical text

d) the creation of a visual text answering the DQ, in response to the autobiography and conversations with Davidson kids

e) video responses answering the DQ which will be shared and combined with the Davidson students’ responses to make a collaborative video answering the DQ

f) a final presentation of the video (and perhaps a speech) to parents for students to show all they have learned

A lot to get through, huh?

Anyway today was the launch and this is how it went down.

The plan was to introduce the project by talking to the North Star students about how my wife is an English teacher at Davidson and that we wanted to get the two classes discussing with each other and learning about the lives of others. We were going to show them an introductory video made by the Davidson students telling the North Star students a little bit about themselves. However the video that Bianca has shared with us was unfortunately set to private so we had to think on our feet a little and come up with a different way of introducing the project.

We decided to show the kids an interview with Anh Do <link>, who coincidentally enough is the author of the text we will be reading to get them thinking about the driving question. The students seemed to respond well, having a bit of an idea who Anh Do is and finding him interesting and funny. I should also probably say that this video introduction came after a discussion of multiculturalism (which the students will be studying more about later), and a general discussion of how life is quite different in other places.

From here we introduced the 6 word memoir. This is an activity where a student (or any participant) attempts to write their life story in 6 words. It doesn’t have to be your whole life story, just anything significant and interesting that defines the author in some way.

We introduced the activity by displaying a visual prompt on the IWB whilst I gave six examples (via Michael writing on the whiteboard) of my own 6 word memoirs.
Some examples of mine are below:

Born in Manly, moved around lots.

A wife, two kids, two dogs.

Likes to play guitar and sing.

From here we asked students if they would have a go at writing their own 6 word memoirs and we tweeted them out with the @northstar3456 account using the hashtag #6words.

Below are some of the students’ 6 word memoirs:

Want to study, be a zookeeper.

Born in Australia, likes riding motorbikes.

Playstation, rugby league, handball, annoying, cool.

Two brothers, both very annoying animals.

3 brothers, loves animals and family.

Two brothers, two dogs, 27 cows.

Thrill-seeking and not to forget adventurous.

Born in Toowoomba, rode a motorbike.

I have 4 pig chasing dogs.

Tomorrow we’re going to view the video introduction from the Davidson High School students and post the 6 word memoirs up to the edmodo group which is shared by both classes.

I think that the launch went pretty well. Particularly since I’ve never done anything like this before and both Michael and I are new to this whole project-learning thing!

3 thoughts on “Launching Project Awesome!

  1. Fantastic project idea Lee, and don’t you just love it when technology just doesn’t want to play fair…
    Born in Katoomba, it’s cold there.
    Life In Progress: Check In Later.

  2. I’m going to agree with you that the launch went well. The students were engaged and interested. They certainly enjoyed writing the 6 word memoirs and the excitement and desire to have them published on Twitter was obvious. Even when they had one published they were keen to share more.

    One of the important skills as a teacher is the ability to think on your feet. I know some teachers, experienced ones even, who having planned to show a short video as part of the introduction to a lesson, would have freaked out that something had gone wrong. But your calm suggestion to find an alternative was great and the students certainly enjoyed the interview with Ahn and are definitely going to get a lot out of this project.

  3. Pingback: My year of edu-awesome. | Lee Hewes

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