1. Description of Our Community
Lewiston is the second largest city in Maine. It is located in central Maine on the banks of the Androscoggin River. In the early 1900's the city was a booming textile community. Today it is undergoing urban renewal and trying to regain a position of leadership and economic growth in the State of Maine. Lewiston is focusing on expanding its leadership role by inviting new businesses to locate in the central business district. L.L.Bean has a telephone catalog center that employs over 1200 customer representatives during the holiday season. Andover College has opened a campus in downtown Lewiston. The textile mills which once made Lewiston a booming community are being renovated for new businesses, training facilities, banking operations, college facilities, as well a variety of restaurants. Our community is growing in economic and educational opportunities. Our population is becoming more diverse with a large number of immigrants selecting to relocate on the in our community.
2. Summary of Our Project
Our project is all about how citizens in our community are actively involved in making Lewiston, Maine a better place. During, social studies students learned that citizens have responsibilities to obey laws and to participate in the democratic process; however, this is not enough. A good citizen needs to be active in the community. Good citizens give back to the community by sharing his/ her skills and time. One way to accomplish this is by volunteering. Volunteering can be as simple as walking a neighbor’s pet, being a reading book buddy, just giving a helping hand. Teenagers can volunteer to0 as candy stripers in hospitals or be a Big Brother or Big Sister at a nearby elementary school. Our project highlights some of the ways volunteers are very important in our community. We will share with our readers some of our favorite places and how we can make sure that these places stay in our community. While working on our project our class has seen how students can help others. Students learned to knit and crochet hats and scarves as a community service project. Others worked on sorting and labeling items for Waste Share. Students have seen how busy adults give their time to help make our community a better place. Why volunteer? Volunteering empowers citizens to help others, to see what needs to be done or should be done in the community. This knowledge is power. Responsible citizens are active citizens with the power to make changes. Responsible citizens are empowered citizens who make the communities a better place. Students decided the best way to prepare for the future was to be active in the present. Responsible citizens are citizens who make their communities better places. Students decided the best way to prepare for the future was to be active in the present. They want to empower themselves with the knowledge that what they do, does, and can make a difference in the community in the present and to continue in the future as adults.
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:more than 6
C. Connection speed used in the classroom:dedicated connection
D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:more than 6
E. Additional comments concerning your computer and/or Internet access (Optional):
One problem was the high level of background noise in the classroom during video taping. Staff and students no longer notice the constant hum, whistle, and banging made by the heating system during the school day. However during editing the video interviews these noises became very noticeable. Several interviews were video taped a second and third time in hopes that the noises could be eliminated. Unfortunately wind chill temperatures of -20degrees Fahrenheit, the heating system was constantly working, and there was no way for us to remove the background noises.
4. Problems We Had To Overcome
Students used video taping as means of creating their project this year. Many students in our class have a wide range of reading and writing skills. In order to facilitate participation for as many students as possible, students used Clicker 5 and NetTrekker as a means of listening to the information, creating questions, and video taping interviews rather than writing reports. Students wrote interview scripts and practiced, practiced, practiced until they could read every word and understand the questions they were asking, and the answers they received. They taped themselves asking questions, evaluated the video for value of questions, students posture and gestures, mannerisms, and articulation before inviting the interviewees. Self-esteem, pride in their appearance, and reading skills greatly improved. As the project grew behavior issues decreased. Students wanted their efforts to be taken seriously by everyone involved and to “place their best foot forward” so to speak. Student security guard prevented anyone from disrupting taping sessions. Tele-prompters were set up to help students who might forget the questions they had worked so diligently to create. Students united as a class to encourage each other and to praise students as they made noticeable improvements.
5. Our Project Sound Bite
Jacob: “I felt like Matt Lauer as I interviewed my aunt Ann. It felt strange calling her Ms. Gosselin.” Ms. Doe: “It has been a pleasure working with students, they asked insightful questions, and they certainly did a lot of work for the Waste Share Organization.” Thank you. Sare: “I did not want to read so many lines in my script but now I’m glad that I did. I looked really good on camera.” Kayta: “Let’s make big posters of the questions. Some of us can take turns holding the posters.” Dominique: “I felt important.” Tyson: “Knitting is hard. I like doing the Waste share counting and sorting better.” Gina: “Mom and Dad asked ‘Where did you learn to knit?’’ They liked the scarf I made. Special Education Teacher: “Wow this class has bonded into a supportive working group.” Gemma: “I like video taping much better than writing an essay.”
6. How did your activities and research for this CyberFair Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?
The State of Maine's Learning Results require that all-third grade students study their local community. The CyberFair project provided an interesting and motivating way to cover the existing curriculum requirements in Social Studies, English Language Arts, Visual and Performing Arts, as well as Science and Technology. The project extended well beyond the required curriculum standards including developing communication skills, organizing photos with text: editing: writing: designing: and publishing skills: computer skills: keyboarding: scanning: creating animated graphics: cutting and pasting: video taping, making QuickTime movies with the use of i-books. These skills were necessary for students to create their web page. In fact it would be very lengthy to list all the specific content areas, standards, and performance indicators listed in the State of Maine Learning Results. In addition to all these state standards, Lewiston also has local assessment that must meet quarterly. The most exciting aspect of this project was how differentiated learning was. Students with low reading levels, speech problems, behavior issues, and students who have “an allergy to pencils” (avoid written task at any cost) began to work together to create meaningful scripts. They bonded together helping each other practice, understand ideas, and write “thick” questions for their scripts. Students had to read, listen to text via software, and become experts on the interview topic. The most exciting aspect of this project was that students practiced and mastered so many skills while enjoying themselves. The idea of restating in their own words was very difficult for these eight-and-nine year old students. For eight-and-nine year old students copying verbatim was writing their own work. Learning about plagiarism and giving correct references was a new concept. This was a wonderful learning experience disguised as pure pleasure.