Sixth Grade World Community Project
Students will study how geography, topography, climate, weather, and natural resources affect the social, political, agricultural, economic, and cultural development of world communities. Template Island, a microcosm of social structures, was created to aid students in the study of a community's economy, government and culture and how external factors create push/pull effects within a society, thereby affecting the community's development.
Subsequently, students will use Sid Meier’s Civilization IV software to further experience the development of social structures by utilizing strategies as simple as basic survival skills and as complex as understanding the impact of various political structures. Students can collaborate and/or compete with other sixth grade classes through an online environment. Information literacy skills, the grammar of the internet, and how to validate information on the Internet will be taught so that students can effectively use the Internet to locate and access primary source documents, lessons, and teacher resources.
Demonstration of Mastery of Skills: Students will use Knowledge Community (KC), a web-based tool for student/teacher collaborations that requires students to identify their thinking strategies. Data, stored in a database, facilitates reports on class, group, or individual use of thinking types. Groups of students from two schools will communicate and collaborate, using Knowledge Community, to research and study a world community.
Students will also use Google Earth, Voice/Video Over Internet, Video Conferencing, and Knowledge Community to communicate and collaborate with students in world communities.

Seventh Grade Project: The American Revolution, Developing a Global Perspective of History
Students will develop the ability to examine historical events from a global perspective. Students will look at the American Revolution through the eyes of the British, Canadians, and Australians.
Project Goals:
· Expand Information Literacy Skills - students become critical thinkers about information they read online and effectively learn to research, evaluate, authenticate, and validate information found on websites.
· Learn the grammar of the Internet.
· Use the Internet to locate and access primary source documents, lessons and a range of resources.
· To research American History websites in project countries to understand other students’ perspectives. Students will communicate with students in various countries via Voice over Internet and Knowledge Community.
· To examine the effects of media on public perceptions and understandings of historical events.
· To align the use of literature in the classroom with the teaching of key concepts in history.
· To use high quality, non-fiction literature and recognize the richness that these books bring to the study of history .
Demonstration of Mastery of Skills: Students will demonstrate content understandings that reflect global perspectives of historical events by developing a WebQuest, based on their research and global collaborations.


Eighth Grade Project: Digital Documentaries
Teachers and students explore the methodology and practice of Marco Torres, educator, producer, media artist, and Instructional OIT consultant and explore how digital documentaries can engage students, deepen their content understandings, and improve their communication skills.
· Tools of multimedia are introduced through projects in several different formats: documentaries, music, experimental video, advocacy/selling ideas, and storytelling/feature production.
· Content of the projects comes from the students and is based on a curriculum related topic. Using up-to-date presentation of learned information makes for realistic, contextual, emotional connections to what is learned.
· Media is the language of kids. Students who may not take to learning by reading a textbook or listening to a lecture often jump at the chance to understand complex concepts by presenting finished products in the form of a film or a Web documentary or a PowerPoint® presentation.
· Students learn the four P's. The first P is planning, the most critical part. In the planning, that's where students write the script, the timeline, and the storyboards. The second P is production. Students shoot video footage or start to collect the information needed to do the project. The third part is a presentation. This is where they actually present the information. The final P is project assessment, evaluating the final work using rubrics.
Demonstration of Mastery of Skills: Students produce digital documentary that can be showcased at a Film Festival.

Robotics: Making Curriculum Connections
Teachers will learn how to build and program robots. Professional development will be informed and rooted in constructivism, which emphasizes a hands-on problem solving and project-based approach to learning. Founded in the belief that individuals learn in unique and complex ways, this approach offers students an opportunity to conduct their own research and experiment in the pursuit of knowledge, while challenging students to think creatively, apply concepts and actively "construct" meaning. Teachers begin by using basic robotics kits and purchase additional more complex components, as their need grows. Schools use one of more of the following robotics kits: Lego, Vex, or hand built and all compete in various regional and NYFirst competitions.