Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Dust Bowl Collaboration Blows In Again!

We have been privileged to host a Dust Bowl collaboration with 8th grade English classes for the past 4 years. If you want to read about how this started, go here. The program is designed to help students understand Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse. Our 8th grade science teachers asked if they could join in the collaboration by adding science experiments to the program last year. In addition, the Chartwells food service catering manager also wanted to include a food station last year so learners could get a taste of the Dust Bowl era. Luckily it went so well that these additions were kept for the 2015-2016 school year! As an added bonus we used a 1934 painting in our two day program to illustrate how art can be a primary source. We want to share about the setup and reception of this library collaboration.

The program took place over two days. Day 1 consisted of four learning stations with a general focus on the era. Day 2 consisted of three learning stations with a focus on the science and food of the era. We began planning about four weeks prior to the event. 

We met before school to plan the stations

Day 1:

Station 1- The Dust Bowl Blues music video.

Students listened to the Dust Bowl Blues by Woody Guthrie
Station 2- An introduction to the Dust Bowl from a PBS television series.

Station 3- Ploughing it Under by Thomas Hart Benton.

This painting is from 1934. The digital file was provided by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas. We used this as an example of how an art object can be a primary source.

Station 4- President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's Dust Bowl speech.

Day 2:

Station 1- Static electricity.

We used the following video to introduce lightning to the students. I used Final Cut Pro to make the video. The presenter is Mrs. Linda Self, one of our science teachers at Lakeside High School. After watching the video, students would transition to a presentation area in the library led by LHS science teacher, Mr. Matthew Balcom.

Station 2- Water purification.

Students experimented with cotton, paper, sand, and cloth to see which was the most effective water filter. This was led by LHS science teacher, Mrs. Mary French.

Station 3- Dust Bowl "seconds".

Students got to taste cabbage and ham, buttermilk, rice with tomato gravy, and apple pan dowdy for dessert. This station was provided by Mr. Robert Miller of Chartwells. Our school outsources to Chartwells for all food services.

Many thanks to Mr. Darin Landry (LHS Principal), Mrs. Mari Simmons (8th grade English), Mrs. Meg Parker (8th grade English), Mr. Robert Miller (Chartwells), and our library staff (Mrs.Misti Bell, Mrs. Peggy Schaeffer, and Mr. Ray Borel) for making this possible! We are so glad to see how our stakeholders are continually improving this wonderful collaboration. Stay tuned to see how our other programs develop this school year.

Read about our Crucible Collaboration here!

Read how we improved our 9/11 Collaboration here!

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Friday, October 16, 2015

The Crucible Collaboration

Mrs. Misti Bell, LHS Library Media Specialist, presents this installment of Library Media Tech Talk. She and 11th grade English teacher, Mrs. Jerrie Stanage, collaborated for a second year on this wonderful student led program:

The Crucible Event:  The Mock Trial of Abigail Williams
by Misti Bell

Abigail Williams is NOT a witch!  On September 30th, 2015 the junior English classes participated in our second annual mock trial of Abigail Williams.  After reading The Crucible by Arthur Miller, students selected roles from the play, created costumes and scripts, and portrayed the characters.  

The students were divided into defense, prosecution, witnesses, jury, bailiff, and judge; the judge being the most powerful player in the court.  Students, teachers, and principals were placed in the stock when the judge deemed them “out of order”!   

The defense and prosecution prepared witnesses and plead their cases.  No court room drama can be complete without a surprise witness or two, exciting revelations, biting testimonies, and some surprising adlibs! 

Based on the arguments presented by both sides, the jury was asked to determine the guilt or innocence of Abigail Williams.  It was an overwhelming  “not guilty” verdict for Miss Williams this year, surprising the court!  This was a fun culminating activity that provided students an opportunity to be creative and explore both sides of an argument.  Special thanks to Attorney Lance Garner for presenting and consulting with students as they prepared to have court. Thanks to LHS English teachers Mrs. Jerrie Stanage, Mrs. Jennifer Garner, Mrs. Hayden Shamel, and Mrs. Melissa Vetter for this collaboration! 

Go here for our Africa Day collaboration based on Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart.

Check out our Great Gatsby collaboration here!

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