Our Classroom Projects
In Project Audubon Super Heroes, students chose what kind of super hero they wanted to be and voiced how they wanted to "pass their powers" on to the Audubon community through their exhibition. Students transformed themselves into super heroes at Audubon using characteristics researched from biographies and interviews of significant leaders who were influential to society past and present. Students created a comic strip using their self-made super hero. Their comic strip contained story elements (i.e. characters, setting, problem, solution, sequential order). Students also designed their own costumes. For exhibition, students “passed their powers” on to other Audubon community members during a presentation of their comic strip.
In Project Saving Sea Life we explored the environmental issues that effect endangered sea life by students choosing their own endangered sea animal and deciding how they wanted to communicate the issues surrounding sea life to the community. We explored the ways that we can reverse this endangerment of sea life through a partnership with non-profit organizations like Cabrillo National Monument, New Ocean Blue, and Teresa Espaniola, who were currently doing work in this area.Teresa Espaniola served as our local expert artist who taught us how to create artwork about endangered sea animals using recycled materials.The students also wrote vignettes from the perspective of their endangered sea animal encountering marine debris. For our exhibition, the students' artwork was on display at Cabrillo National Monument and community members were invited to either donate or purchase the students' artwork in support of Cabrillo's efforts to protect endangered sea life.
In our Family Project we celebrated our place in our families and shared our hopes and dreams with them. We created a collage of pictures, words, and other images that expressed our hopes and dreams for our families. We then wrote a personal narrative about a special time we had with a family member of our choice after interviewing them with questions we wondered about. During a food filled exhibition, we invited our special family members to read our stories and present our collage to them as a gift. I used this project to discover how my students' voices in their families impacted their voices in the classroom.
After reading H.A. and Margret Rey's beloved Curious George books, we used this project to be little monkeys and pursue our wonderings. After collecting questions we wondered about on our Curiosity Wall, we formed teams that had similar topics. After deciding to teach the kindergartners in our school through a big book, we used our own questions to guide our research. We wrote what we learned in paragraphs and used exit cards to voice what we needed more support with. We used critique from each other and our fifth grade buddies to help us revise our writing, our water color painted illustrations, and presentations. At exhibition, we taught kindergartners about our topics and asked them to give us feedback about what they learned and if they had fun learning from us. This project empowered us to see how our curiosities can be used to teach others.
Can we grow our minds? After learning what causes growth and fixed mindsets at a Deeper Learning conference workshop based on Carol Dweck's book Mindset, I was inspired to enable my students to redefine "failure" through Project Fail. We first wrote a reflective piece about a time when we failed and what happened to make us believe we failed. We then collected questions about our brain: how it memorizes things, what the different parts do, and how we can help our brain move short term memory into long term memory. We then created a pastel class mural of a brain with messages of encouragement in the face of failure. We also wrote stories of failure and triumph from our lives. For exhibition, we decided to create a video to teach other students to become "brain masters" by conquering failure through perseverance. Our Project Fail video will be part of our Dream School Project.
In our Dream School Project we brainstormed what our school could be if anything were possible. We then walked around our school to discover the common areas we loved the way they were and the areas that we would like to improve. We then combined our dreams and what we wanted to change into one project. We formed teams based on a project we were passionate about changing. Our dreams were planting grass and trees, painting a mural on a wall, creating the Project Fail Video, make the front of our school safer, make more activities for recess, and improve the lost and found area. We wrote why we wanted to change these areas and how they would benefit all Audubon students. 9th grade students from High Tech High North County supported us in the journey of our project so that our dreams would come true. We created postcards inviting possible stakeholders to our exhibition. Our hope was that the invited stakeholders would partner with us in making our dream school a reality.
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