Students at the Norris School in Massachusetts worked on a short video project at the start of the school year called Dream Scenes, in which they imagined something they hope will happen in their future and how they can attain it.
Our class was part of the Many Voices for Darfur Project, which brought together young people from around the world to press for peace and the end of genocide for the Darfur region of the Sudan in Africa. This was an amazing project. We wrote persuasive paragraphs about how to help the people of Darfur and then some of our students recorded their pieces for a podcast.
Here at the Norris School in Massachusetts, we have been studying the origins of the English Language and as part of our study, we created some new words that we would like to see in the dictionary. This was done as part of a wiki and a podcast project.
Our launch of the second year of Youth Radio is now underway, as students in a handful of participating schools (Mississippi, Colorado, Michigan and New Jersey) recorded a greeting and sent those files to the Norris School in Massachusetts, where students edited them into one official Welcome podcast.
Our study of listening, writing and performing poetry is slowly winding down (Mr. H will bring in his electric guitar, amplifier and drum machine next week to show students a bit about how poetry can inspire songwriting) and our classes worked on Poems for Two Voices in which two people weave their words in and out of each other. Here are a few of the poems written and performed by students.
This time of year is Quidditch Season at our school in Massachusetts. About eight years ago, a student worked with our gym teacher to devise a version of the Harry Potter magical game for our sixth graders to play. There are about five different things going on the field at the same time and the sixth graders spend an entire day (this coming Wednesday) playing the other sixth grade classes in a Quidditch Tournament that lasts the entire school day. The rest of the school comes in to watch and cheer from the stands. (Our classroom’s team name this year is ARCTIC SHOCK)
(click on the illustration of the Quidditch field to go to Flickr and learn more about the game)
This week, our students were writing poems celebrating the game or their team or some aspect of the game, and we had volunteers read their poems for a podcast.
In Southampton, we have been working on paragraph writing and we just finished up an assignment on narrative paragraph writing in which students chose a concrete object that represented some strong memories for them. We then recorded them for a podcast and we are sharing them with you. (the audio levels aren’t so great because of a slight technology glitch)
We sent our talented student photographer, Ethan, outside this week with the camera to capture a beautiful snowy day here at Norris Elementary School in Southampton, Massachusetts. And then Missy, Devon and Nicole added some radio commentary.
This past week, Norris students studied the Underground Railroad in preparation for reading the book, The House of Dies Drear by Virginia Hamilton. Our inquiry into ways that slaves found the courage to escape and the people who helped them along the way led to a project in which we created paper quilts using patterns that represented messages for those making their way to freedom. We then wrote first-person narrative of someone running away and using patterns from quilts as a guide.
Here are their stories:
Or you can listen to the audio version of the Underground Railroad stories here.
Some of our students talked about homes of either relatives or friends that have hidden rooms and areas that might have been part of the Underground Railroad (our area of the country was one of the gateways to freedom). Do you have any remnants of the Underground Railroad where you live?