Hands down the best workshop I attended over the 3 day period was titled "Teaching with Social Justice". I cannot thank the presenters Karen Goering (@kbhawki) and Lindsey Camacho (@lindseyscamacho) enough for sharing their brilliant ideas! I also attended a great session on project based learning. I couldn't wait to incorporate both concepts as soon as possible!
My seventh graders was in the middle of a unit on vacation and had just written a paragraph describing their ideal trip. I was looking for a good transition, so I created a lesson where I asked them to plan that ideal vacation. I gave them this spreadsheet to fill out, which sent them to Mexico's Kayak.com for some authentic reading. Throughout the research, I was amazed by the great questions students asked. They truly had never thought about any of this before, and were so eager to learn more. Here are some of their reflections:
The next day, a group of girls came running into my room in excitement to tell me that they were planning a bake sale to raise money for our loan! They planned it all themselves, got permission from the office, and raised over $100! They were so proud of themselves!
When we went to go donate to the person we had selected, we saw that almost everyone we had researched had already been funded, so we picked another person. The kids were so overjoyed that their original pick has been funded that they didn't even care that their money was going to someone else. One student claimed "Who cares! At least we know he can pay for his surgery now AND we get to help someone else go to school!"
I could not have been happier with how this project turned out and it makes me want to rewrite all my lessons to include some element of social justice!