CyberFair Project ID: 4139

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International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: Our Flag
Category: 6. Historical Landmarks

School: The Bancroft School
    Haddonfield, New Jersey, USA

10 students, ages 15 to 19 worked together to complete this CyberFair project on March 9, 2006. They have participated in CyberFair in the following year(s): 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002

Classes and Teachers: Sherri Colan's AM class, two students working individually with Susan Powell

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Community

Our general community includes Camden County and neighboring counties of southern New Jersey. We are a private school exclusively serving students with multiple disabilities through both day and residential programs. Located in the town of Haddonfield, New Jersey, we are just a few miles east, across the Delaware River, from the historic city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and about an hour away from the Atlantic Ocean. Our community includes the families and hometowns of our students, many of whom come from nearby towns. This area of South Jersey is both residential and commercial. Geographically it is primarily flat, with small creeks and marshes feeding into the Delaware River.

2. Summary of Our Project

We began the topic of Our Flag by discussing symbols in general and the roles they play. We viewed a video about our flag, and learned more details from web sites (early flags, our flag’s history and changes, proper handling and care of the flag, associated traditions like the Pledge of Allegiance and our national anthem). We talked about what our flag means to different people, and the various occasions and places where it is displayed. We discussed how our flag may continue to change in the future.

We took a trip to the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A local high school JROTC group visited and talked about proper flag care. They answered questions, demonstrated flag folding, and assisted students in folding the flag.

Some students interviewed parents about what the flag meant to them. They also interviewed local celebrity Lauren Hart who sings the national anthem at area events, and Robert Heft, the man responsible for the current flag’s star arrangement. After learning that the first flags with 13 stars had no designated arrangement of stars, students developed their own 13 star designs.

We learned about some flag companies (Annin, SuperFlag), and details about the first flag on the moon.

While walking around our school campus and the local town, we took photos of flags. Towards the end of our project, students also made a flag pizza.

Students participated in choosing web site colors and special fonts. Two students helped prepare graphic images and photos, the opening page design, and the title banner. Students viewed constructed web pages and gave feedback.

Per our confidentiality practice, and after acquiring written parental permission, only students’ first names were used within the project web site (exception of last initials being used by two students’ with the same first name).

3. Our Computer and Internet Access

A. Percentage of students using the Internet at home:more than 50%

B. Number of workstations with Internet access in the classroom:1

C. Connection speed used in the classroom:dedicated connection

D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:4-6

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

One of the people we wanted to interview, Lauren Hart, was unable to visit our school due to a very busy work schedule, but she agreed to answer questions via email.

Several of the original images we had wanted to use were not clearly available for public domain use. We resolved this by finding alternative images or using our own photos. Since all our students have disabilities and a range of academic skill levels (some of which are significantly lower than those of chronological aged peers), teaching staff needed to frequently reinforce information and learning throughout the project. This was primarily done through weekly review, guided group oral discussion, and the use of pictures and concrete examples whenever possible. Vocabulary was simplified. Some areas covered were not investigated to the full extent which non-disabled students might explore. In preparation for interviews, staff assisted students in brainstorming what questions to ask, sometimes by providing verbal models or examples. For the JROTC presentation, students relied upon index cards with their written questions. Students who had difficulty reading were given verbal prompts to help them get started.

Content for the web site was obtained through both large group guided dictation, and independent writing by some students (with prompting and guidance from teaching staff).

Web pages were deliberately constructed to be clean, uncluttered, and simple with obvious navigation so our students can enjoy viewing and navigate with more independence.

5. Our Project Sound Bite

“I felt very interested in the CyberFair project . . . it was fun learning about our flag.” (by Michael S.)

“I enjoyed meeting (Sgt.) Henry and the cadets. . . flag pizza . . . folding and unfolding the flag.” (by Melissa)

6. How did your activities and research for this CyberFair Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?

Our project addressed the following New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards: Computer Information and Literacy (skills related to computer use, Internet, email); Technological Literacy (computer and information literacy); Visual and Performing Arts (use of arts elements and arts media to produce products; process of critique); Language Arts Literacy (reading, writing, speaking, and listening standards); Social Studies (Civics, US History).

Our overall school program particularly stresses providing all our students with opportunities to generalize social, communication, and other skills through authentic, real-life situations. Our project gave students a chance to do this through interviews, interaction with the JROTC cadets, and the field trip to the Betsy Ross House. Other skills included experiences in group collaboration and numerous computer skills (keyboarding, Internet searches, printing, graphic software, email). Some students also had the experience of interviewing their parents and then sharing this information and related photos with class peers.

Project Elements

1) What information tools & technologies did you used to complete your CyberFair project?

During our project, we used the following tools: PC computer, Internet, email, printer, scanner, fax, cameras (traditional and digital), software (MSWord, Adobe PhotoShop 5.5, Adobe GoLive).

Other tools included a video, numerous information web sites, JROTC visit/presentation, a field trip to the Betsy Ross House, interviews (email, fax, in person). Students wrote thank-you letters to the JROTC and also other interviewees.

As in past projects, any tools involving visuals, concrete examples, hands-on tasks, or personal interactions were particularly enjoyed by our students and further enhanced their learning.

2) In what ways did you act as "ambassadors" and spokespersons for your CyberFair project both on-line and in person.

Students had various different opportunities to act as ambassadors representing our school. When the JROTC cadets came to visit, our students took turns introducing themselves and asking questions. They followed up this visit with thank-you notes to Sgt. Gantt. Students interacted with tour guides during their field trip to the Betsy Ross House. Students also interacted in interviews either in person or through email. After web pages were completed and uploaded, students then had the opportunity to share and discuss more specifics of their project with family and friends. The web address was also advertised in our school's Daily Bulletin so other students and staff could view and share our project. We sent links to resource people who provided any direct information (JROTC, local interviewees, Lauren Hart, Robert Heft, Dave Martucci).

3) What has been the impact of your project on your community?

Through our project, we have encouraged a greater appreciation and understanding of the history and traditions of our flag. The flag is such an important symbol in our country. Since 9/11, more people and businesses have made a point of displaying the flag. Our students have been recognized by other students, teaching staff, families and friends for their work on this project. These people will continue to share links with extended families and friends. Our students take special pride in seeing their own work on the Internet. As with previous CyberFair projects, our work presented opportunities for others to meet and interact with our students. For some people, this may have been a novel experience interacting with teenagers having special disabilities. Both the trip to the Betsy Ross House and the visit from a local JROTC group gave face-to-face opportunities for this. Likewise, email interviews with Lauren Hart and Robert Heft provided similar experiences. Such positive experiences continue to help gain acceptance of individuals with disabilities, and help others realize that people with disabilities are interested in the world around them and can contribute to this world. Our project served as a public relations opportunity within the community for our school.

4) How did your project involve other members of your community as helpers and volunteers?

Contacts we made within our community were very positive. Sgt. Henry Gantt, a teacher and JROTC leader at a local public high school, graciously visited our school with his cadets, answered all our students’ questions, demonstrated flag folding, and assisted our students in folding the flag. Lauren Hart quickly answered emailed interview questions. Robert Heft answered interview questions within an hour, and mailed us some additional information including photos to use in our project. When we located an online photo of an antique 13 star flag, we emailed asking permission to use it and within a day Dave Martucci emailed back with full permission. Several parents and the Supervisor of our Elementary Program agreed to interviews, and provided photos. The guides at the Betsy Ross House were very informative to the class group who visited, and a man in colonial costume posed for photos with the class. Learning Consultant Susan Powell worked with two students creating some of the computer graphics, rollover navigational elements, and provided guidance while they wrote some summaries. She constructed the web site pages using her home computer.

5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)

We enjoyed learning how Robert Heft designed the current flag star arrangement when he was in high school. When we came across an email contact for him while surfing the Internet, we decided to take a chance and email him some questions. We weren’t sure if it was even a valid email address, or if he would respond to us. He answered back immediately within the hour, and mailed us some additional information and several photos. Likewise, we had an immediate positive email response from Dave Martucci who runs a web site about flags. What a small world – he said his wife had worked years ago at one of our school’s programs. Another point of interest was learning about how NASA had to make a special “flag pole” for the astronauts to make the first flag on the moon look like it was waving in a breeze. A special highlight of our project was when the JROTC cadets from Lenape High School visited and presented how to fold the flag. Our students were quite impressed. They really enjoyed meeting these young cadets dressed in their official uniforms, hearing them speak, watching the flag folding demonstration, and then having the opportunity to fold the flag under their guidance.


View our CyberFair Project (Project ID: 4139)

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