ISI 2015: The Little Explorers Project

A Project Prototype by Maria Paredes-Fernandez

not published

The concept of global citizenship is paramount, especially now in our increasingly interconnected world. It is so important, that Rick Steves  once said that our "national security rests upon the foundation of a well-educated electorate with a broad and sophisticated worldview. Ninety-six percent of humanity lives outside our borders — and we risk being left in the dust if we don't know how to effectively engage the world."

However, if we expect our students to effectively engage with the world, they must first be effectively engaged with our curriculum. In a workshop on January 16th, 2015 that former ACTFL President Eileen Glissan gave at a symposium offered by the Penn Language Center, she had mentioned that in the face of new ideas or information, our brains ask, "does this make sense?" and "does this have meaning?". It is through these questions that our students unconsciously ask themselves that determines whether something is learned or not.

How can we ensure that our students be stimulated in the classroom so they can understand the importance intercultural competency? The answer may lie in having them teach others about this importance. “When compared to learners expecting a test, learners expecting to teach recalled more material correctly, they organized their recall more effectively, and they had better memory for especially important information,” - John Nestojko, a researcher in psychology at Washington University in St. Louis.

Knowing this, how can our students reach out and teach others about intercultural competency? A non-profit organization in the United States, First Book, recognizes that "literacy is one of the best predictors of a child’s future success. But a child without access to books won’t have the chance to become an engaged and capable reader." This could not be more true for children that grow up in poverty where they may have limited access to books, especially those in the most rural parts of Ecuador.

Therefore, the objective of this project is to have university students write and print books for Ecuadorian elementary school students so each party can understand more about the world. The model will be similar to The Little Passport series where a piece of the world is brought to the target audience in the form of a book and where they can learn a valuable lesson on intercultural competency.

 

Overview files comments

Preparing for the Project

Awareness of the Issue and Possible Action

Getting to know their Little Explorers

The Important Elements of a Children's Book

Selection of Type of Series and Research Needed

Launching the Project

The Description of the Task for the Students.

The Creation of Their Story Outline

Managing the Project

Video Blogs on Progress

Peer Review of Outline

The Creation of Their Story

Assessment

The final product: their book

Reflection of Project through Testimonials

Implementation Info

Implementation information not specified.

Preparing for the Project

Awareness of the Issue and Possible Action

1.Through the study of another language, students will learn about: different cultures, ways of viewing the world, and make connections to their own life. However, it may be beneficial to have the students explicity research the benefits and evergrowning necesity of this to fully understand the benefits. Students will be asked to read three different articles concerning this topic and summarize them.

2. To recognize the plight of illiteracy in Ecuador:

a. students will watch this video from UNICEF to see some of the efforts being made and where their efforts fit in big picture.

b. The creation of an introductory video to the students and the school with whom the Penn students will be working. This video will highlight the Ecuadorian students reality and raise the Penn students' cultural awareness. This idea was co-constructred with the help of my colleague from Penn, Laura Flippin.

4. Driving question: How can Penn students bring the greater Spanish-speaking world to rural and impoverished communities?

Technology Tips

The use of wordle to emphasize key ideas of the importance of language education and intercultural competency.

Task Extension

After reading the three articles on the importance of language education and intercultural competency, students will summarize the key points that they have learned and use to create a wordle. This will be their constant reminder and inspiration for their stories.

Getting to know their Little Explorers

To cater to their demographic, the university students must survey their target group. Students will brainstorm interview questions as well as phrases that they will need to help them conduct the interview smoothly.

Task Extension

Analyze the results and as a class create a Google Doc to share their results.

The Important Elements of a Children's Book

After having understand the interests of their readership, students will investigate the elements of a good children's story by analyzing three children's books . Using this information, students will create the rubric for their book.

 

(This idea was inspired by the PBLL project Encouraging and Engaging Young Readers by my colleague Rachel Hernádez)

Technology Tips

Students will create the rubric using Google Docs.

Task Extension

An inspiration for this were the Good Night series, like Good Night Philadelphia.

Taken from the website: 

"Many of North America’s most beloved regions are artfully celebrated in these boardbooks designed to soothe children before bedtime while instilling an early appreciation for the continent’s natural and cultural wonders. Each book stars a multicultural group of people visiting the featured area’s attractions—such as the Rocky Mountains in Denver, the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, Lake Ontario in Toronto, and volcanoes in Hawaii. Rhythmic language guides children through the passage of both a single day and the four seasons while saluting the iconic aspects of each place."

Selection of Type of Series and Research Needed

Students will have to determine if their series should:

1. revolve around one character

2. be based off of the individual students of their target audience

3. based off of themselves

4. etc.

Using Poll Everywhere, students will vote on the direction of their series.

 

After this decision, students will pick a country that their protagonist visits where they will learn a valuable lesson about intercultural competency. In order to do this, students may need to conduct interviews and other forms of research to understand more about the country that their protagonist will be visiting.

Launching the Project

The Description of the Task for the Students.

Compiled with the help of my colleague Laura Flippin.

·      -Each student will design a children’s book to be printed and then donated to the school in Ecuador. As a class they will determine the the overarching theme of their class series and will have the whole semester to work on their assignment.  To document their process, students will create three short (1-2 minute) vlogs (one at the beginning, middle, and end of the process). After they complete their book, students will create a short (3-5 minute) reflection on their thoughts of the whole process. 

 

 

 

·     

The Creation of Their Story Outline

Students will proceed to write their story using Google Docs and frames of their story using Storyboard That.

Technology Tips

Using storyboard that for their story boards.

This website Read Write Think, provides a wonderful book review guide, story map, and plot diagram.

This website Children's Book Project provides some wonderful ideas on how to scaffold the storybook writing process for the students. 

Managing the Project

Video Blogs on Progress

Outside of class, students will reflect on their progress of the bookmaking process in three videos (beginning, middle, end)  that they will upload to our course management site Canvas and the videos will each be 1-2 minutes in length and in the target language. Students will be asked to watch each other's videos and comment on each other's progress.

Peer Review of Outline

Using an adaptation of the book rubric where the criteria are presented as guiding questions as well as this form to give feedback, students will be reviewing each other's outline and providing constructive criticism to improve it. Emphasis will be placed on the content and format (and some language and orthography).

The Creation of Their Story

Using the feedback that they received, students will create the final version of their stories using Storyboard That. This will be sent to Ecuador so it can be printed for the students. It will be requested that footage of the students receiving or reading their books be sent to the instructor so they can show their students the impact of their hard work.

Technology Tips

Storyboard That

Assessment

The final product: their book

Using a rubric, students will be evaluated on their final product. This rubric will not be new to them as they will have worked with it during their peer reviews. 

Task Extension

A great source of inspiration for the final rubric Inspiration for Rubric

Reflection of Project through Testimonials

Throughout the project, students will be asked to reflect on their learning in the form of vlogs. In the end, they will be asked to re-watch these and reflect on their experience making this book for their target audience. They can reflect on their lingustic, intercultural, personal, etc. growth.

These testimonials will be shared on the last day of class to the group as the closing activity.

Task Extension

Here is the rubric that I plan to use:

 

CRITERIA

 

 

1.  PROCESS (25%)

 

Excellent: Provides exemplary detailed analysis of how journaling has influenced one’s personal knowledge, values, beliefs and practice.

 

25-23

Very Good: Provides a very good analysis of how journaling has influenced one’s personal knowledge, values, beliefs and practice.

22-20

 

Good: Provides a good analysis of how journaling has influenced one’s personal knowledge, values, beliefs and practice.

19-18

Average: Provides minimal analysis of how journaling has influenced one’s life personal knowledge, values, beliefs and practices.

17-15

Poor:  Rarely to never provides evidence of how journaling has influenced one’s life personal knowledge, values, beliefs and practices.

14-12

2.  CONNECTIONS  (25%)

 

Excellent:  The reflection articulates multiple connections between this learning experience and content from other courses, past learning, life experiences and/or future goals.

25-23

Very Good: The reflection articulates connections between this learning experience and content from other courses,  past

 Learning experiences, and/or future goals.

22-20

 

Good: Fairly The reflection articulates connections between this learning experience and content from other courses,  past

 Learning experiences, and/or future goals, a few connections are vague and/or unclear.

19-18

Average:  The reflection attempts to articulate connections between this learning experience and content from other courses, past learning experiences, or personal goals, but the connection is vague and/or unclear.

17-15

Poor:  The reflection does not articulate any connection to other learning or experiences.

14-12

3. DELIVERY (25%)

 

Excellent: Student makes eye contact with the audience, speaks clearly; is enthusiastic; makes good use of presentation time. All visuals are attractive and support theme/content of presentation.

40-37

Very Good: Student makes some eye contact; speaks too fast or too slow; most visuals support the theme/content of presentation. Student somewhat made good use of presentation time: the presentation was too short/somewhat effectively engaged with audience. 

36-33

Good: Student makes limited eye contact; speaks too fast or too slow; part of the project is missing or the presenter is unfocused. Some visuals seem to support the theme/content of the presentation. Not enough visual elements were used.

32-30

Average: Student makes limited eye contact; speaks too fast or too slow; part of the project is missing or the presenter is unfocused. Some visuals seem to support the theme/content of the presentation. Not enough visual elements were used.

29-28

Poor: Student does not make eye contact; speaks too fast or too slow; part of the project is missing and the presenter is unfocused. The speaker does not show much interest in the topic. Little or no graphics used. The graphics that are used have little or nothing to do with the presentation.

26-24

4.  CONTENT/DEPTH OF REFLECTION (25%)

 

Excellent:  Extremely rich description with an abundance of supporting details and descriptive adjectives. Information is logically sound. All content throughout the reflection is accurate. There are no factual errors. The reflection explains the student’s own thinking and learning processes, as well as implications for future learning.

25-23

Very Good: Fairly rich description with a good amount of supporting details and descriptive adjectives. Information is logically sound. Some supporting detail or examples missing. All content throughout the reflection is accurate. There are no factual errors. The reflection explains the student’s own thinking and learning processes, as well an implication for future learning.

22-20

 

Good: More basic description with occasional elaboration via supporting details and adjectives and/or few logical discrepancies.

Most of the content is accurate but there is one piece of information that might be inaccurate. The reflection explains the student’s thinking about his/her own learning processes

19-18

Average: Very basic description with little elaboration via supporting details and adjectives and/or several logical discrepancies. Repetition of ideas; mediocre organization of sentences/paragraphs, lacking clear transitions. The content is generally accurate, but one piece of information is clearly flawed or inaccurate. The reflection attempts to demonstrate thinking about learning but is vague and/or unclear about the personal learning process.

17-15

Poor:  Minimal description with little to no elaboration via supporting details and adjectives and/or many logical discrepancies. No development of ideas; no supporting detail; little or no connection between ideas; overall, no effort demonstrated.

Content is typically confusing or contains more than one factual error. The reflection does not address the student’s thinking and/or learning.

14-12

Implementation Info

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