I graduated from SUNY Geneseo with a degree in Sociology and Secondary Education. I'm in my third year teaching at the Windham Ashland Jewett Central School District in Windham, NY. I teach AP US History, Regents US History and Government, 7th Grade Social Studies, and I taught economics for two years.
The 7th grade group this year is particularly gifted intellectually and artistically. Their ability is nearly unprecedented at the school. I want to engage them according to these abilities and help them to take better ownership of their learning. So far this year, we have completed three unit exhibit projects that involve writing a paper, creating a visual, and presenting their work to the class. I have received some great work, but I want to implement another form of assessment for the final unit, which covers the Preindustrial Era and causes of the Civil War.
I really liked Cheyenne Whirley's Digital Storytelling Unit and I would like to try that with my 7th graders. I have spoken with the tech teacher, and half of the 7th graders are already familiar with movie-making software and uploading movies to Youtube. I could create team projects where responsibility could be divided among the members based on their abilities. Each team or group would be responsible for creating a digital storybook about something from the unit, and the videos could be posted on Youtube at the end of the semester.
I am concerned about the amount of time that this will take, keeping the students motivated and on task, and the technological challenges that may arise, such as getting a hold of the computer lab and making sure the students have active computer profiles - these shouldn't be issues, but I've found with adolescents, expect the unexpected. I am also concerned about some students not following through with their responsibilities.