After months of planning, and a successful two week intensive course on the Great Depression, J.D. Wilson, Jr., an English teacher at Wareham High School (MA) and I recently finished our cross district, cross curriculum Ning project (www.depressionandwrath.ning.com). It was an outstanding experience as a teacher to learn how to manage a live and active Ning. It was also extremely rewarding to see my students participate in discussions with the students from Wareham. Mr. Wilson's students were reading The Grapes of Wrath, as my students studied the Great Depression. There were discussion forums that both groups participated in and multi-media projects created by students that allowed Mr. Wilson's students a greater historical perspective while reading the book. My students were also able to read comments that the Wareham students left about their multi-media projects (authentic feedback). I had a number of students that also created discussion forums without my prompting, and were thrilled when the discussion posts started to pile up within their forum. They took ownership of the discussion and wanted to see what everyone had to say.
The most exciting part of the project was the culminating Skype call to connect both classes. The call lasted about a half hour and was a complete success. The next day students in my class were asking if we could call again because they wanted to ask another question! When was the last time students asked you if they could do more work? Here is a short video of the call:
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