think we really inspired them!"
-Jayme, 6th grade, Soldotna Elementary
It was an
important meeting, the kind where all the chairs and desks are pushed
to the side. It was a meeting where I had to introduce an idea in such
a way that would peak their interest, enough so that they would make it
their own. By the end of that meeting it felt as if a weight had been
lifted. They were inspired, I just needed to provide a bit of direction.
As a sixth grade teacher I had stuggled to find a way to truly reach my
students. How could I help these students find a deeper connection to
what they were learning, allowing the ownership piece to occur? Could
a project based on community activism really help them escape the cliques
and disconnectedness so common to sixth graders in our school?
This year as part of my Carnegie research project, I have documented the
journey of my students and I as we identified and addressed a need in
our community. This web page is being designed to reveal the pedagogical
strategies I as a teacher used to allow these students the opportunity
to feel true ownership of their learning. But more importantly, I have
organized this web page to highlight key turning points in the process
of watching eleven and twelve year olds grow from passive learners to
inspired citizens. Click to read an introductory
essay to this project, a reflective essay
on the Kenai River, and information regarding
the piece of land we worked with, or click for a 13-minute
video overview of this project.