Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Power of Teaching Citizenship

Well it is the end of October, the temperature is cooling off here in Manitoba but it is rising inside the Grade 8 classes at Sargent Park School.  We are embarking on our fourth year of Teaching Citizenship and we have added a few new twists.

One of the first twists is that we have asked the students to participate in an activity called Halloween for Hunger.

We have had 3 meetings with the students so far.  Of the 140 that we teach between 60 and 70 are willing to do this activity.  Wow if each student brings in 10 items for our food bank that would be over 700 items.  Our class food drives have been successful so far and we have brought in between 100 and 200 items.  I am proud of our students.  Great cause too.  Helping hunger at Halloween instead of helping tooth decay.

This year we are a We School.  This means that we get to participate in We Day in Winnipeg and do activities for Free the Children.  This has opened up many opportunities for our students to see the power of youth in action. We get to take 45 students to this event.  So they are showing us actions they are doing to be chosen.  Sadly there will be lots of competition. and not enough seats.  The rest of the rooms will watch the simulcast on Much Music back at the school.

Here is what we have done so far....

To inspire the students about the power of humanity we showed this X-Factor Australia clip. If  you have not seen it you need to. Warning you will need some kleenex at the end.  Powerful stuff. When showing this to your students stop it at the 50 second mark.  Talk about what they have seen then play the rest of the video.  (The crafting of this video by X-factor is also worth noting.  For a film class it is amazing how powerful the soundtrack and editing is)

Our first We Day activities focused around Spencer West and Craig Keilburger.  Spencer is a motivational speaker for a group called Me to We.  It is affiliated with Free the Children and pushes youth to become active in their community and around the world.  We showed a video of Spencer

Following that we had the kids read a biography of Spencer we had found online.  The students read the biography and highlighted the key words.  We are going to have them put all the words into a Word splash like a Wordle.

Once the students complete this task they are doing a few different activities, found on the second page of the document.  Most importantly we want the kids to go from I COULD to I WILL statements.  Following the I WILL statements we will take a photo of the students eyes and I WILL statement over their mouths.  This will be made into a movie and photo mosaic like the one found at this Ewan McIntosh post. Instead of hands we will use our I WILL statements.  It should be powerful.
We also introduced the students to Craig Keilburger.  In my opinion one of the most important Canadians of all time.  At such a young age Craig is the founder and spark behind the Free the Children Organization.  This is a group he started when he was but.... 11 years old.

As we were studying and learning about Craig the idea was to draw parallels between his life and the lives of my students.  We used a 3 column approach to attack this issue.  I found a biography of Craig online and the students read and watched the video to find out key characteristics about Craig's life and passions. It was interesting to see all the interest in what he had accomplished and to see them struggle to see similarities between what their lives are like and what his has been.  Once the students had done this note taking we asked them to choose 4 character traits they admire in Craig and write a few sentences explaining why they had chosen them.

Lots of work for a morning but it was amazing.  I had two classes in my room.  That is 70 students.  All of them were on task and talking about what we were doing and the people they had just met on video and print.

We will continue this lesson on Monday morning.  Following this we will show Pay It Forward and inspire the students to do Random Acts of Kindness!! Wow they will really start to change soon!!

Friday, October 28, 2011

We Day Activities Day 1

Here are some interesting videos to get your into the mood for today.
Why Free the Children


Craig Kielburger

Spencer West


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Power of Preformance

Watch the following video, stop it at the 1 minute mark. Pause reflect at what you have seen. Then watch the rest of the video, what do you think? Powerful? Some people lead amazing lives and believe in themselves. You need to believe in yourself too. what will you do to change the world, the lives around you and just be a better person.

Wow. Here are the lyrics to the song he just sang. Amazing!!

Imagine by John Lennon

Imagine there's no Heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one

We Day Dance

Part of the festivities at We Day is doing the We Day Dance.  Here are the dance moves you need to learn.  Teach a friend, teach a teacher... just have fun.

Keep practicing

We Day 2011

A fabulous event is coming to Winnipeg on November 23rd.  The Grade 8 team is able to take some of you to this event!!

Why do you want to go to We Day! Actions speak louder than words.  What will you do to make us choose you to go to this event...

There is time to make a difference.

Halloween for Hunger

This year you have an opportunity to do something different on Halloween.  Free the Children have an activity called Halloween for Hunger.

It is really easy to do.  Imagine if we all participated, brought in 10 food items each.... how many items would that be for Winnipeg Harvest? (Think 140 x 10) !!

Here is a link that takes you to the top 10 items needed by Winnipeg Harvest.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

25 Cents A Day

So once again Brian Metcalfe has given me an ideas that well.... I have decided to run with. It is a simple premise but holds a huge potential.  I am asking all of my students (140) to bring in a donation of $0.25 a day.  We will continue to do this up till the Winter Break on December 23.

Every year the Grade 8 students have found a Christmas Charity to help out.  It is the start to our Citizenship Project 2 minutes to make a Difference. We are still doing that.  We have chosen 1 Hope Winnipeg this year as our major charity. Half of all money raised will go to 1 Hope Winnipeg.  The other money raised will be donated to charities that the students will choose.  This is why it is so powerful. We are putting the power in their hands.  They donated the money and they get to choose who to give it to.

So how do you get students to donate 25 cents a day.  I have not figured that out yet.  I know that each teacher is going to have to work hard at keeping this idea going.  Students will forget and decide that they do not want to participate.  Teachers can keep the flame alive though and I am adding a global touch.  Through my network on twitter and my readership here I hope to have other schools across Canada and around the world participate.  I have created a wiki to keep track of the schools and what they have raised.  The wiki will be open and each participating school will be able to do whatever they want.  Seeing kids from around the globe doing this event with them could spur them on.

It is important that students do not get this money from their parents.  They have to earn it or give up something to make the donation.  We are sending a note home to parents so that they understand that this is supposed to be a student project not a parent project.  Most of our students spend money at our canteen or local restaurants at lunch.  Giving up a quarter for most of them will not be a deal breaker.  THEY just have to understand the sacrifice that is needed.  I hope it works. If it does the students at the school will have raised $1800 in a short 4 weeks.  Powerful stuff.

Now for the important question. Who is going to join? Please email me and join the wiki.

chris (dot) harbeck (at)

Friday, October 21, 2011

2 Minutes to Make a Difference 2011

Here are the 2011 2 Minutes to Make a Difference Videos

It would be great if you left comments behind at all the videos.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

2 MInutes to Make a Difference 2010

My students have finally finished their first versions of their 2 Minutes to Make a Difference movies for this year.  A change from last years movies is that we are encouraging them to solicit feedback from classmates and around the world.  It would be great if your spring included having students watch the videos and adding comments and ways in which they would make the video better.  I will include the playlist from the spmath channel on youtube.  I have also included 2 screencaptures of the rubrics we will be using to make give the final marks.

What is important is that there is a global audience for these videos.  Please when commenting leave where you are from geographically so the kids see the power of audience.

Thank you in advance

Here are all the videos up to Tuesday. These are first versions of the movies. Please use the following criteria if you are interested in leaving feedback behind:

Use the arrow on the right hand side to switch videos. Thank you for your time

Here are 2 screencaptures of the rubrics