As I indicated in a previous post, I’ve been inspired by an interdisciplinary project sponsored by the National Writing Project and the National Endowment for the Arts called "Keeping and Creating American Communities." After digesting two books produced by teachers involved in the project (Writing America and Writing Our Communities), I began discussing how we might adapt these practices in the classroom. My teaching partner Darrell seems excited as well, and last week we discussed it with our department supervisors. They helped us focus our activities and objectives and the most recent version of the project can be viewed here.
The original plan for the weblog research project will certainly change if we do this, but I want to be able to honor the topics of about half of our students who had very personal connections to their research projects. Both Darrell and I have concerns about how our students will react to this change in direction and whether they will be ready to volunteer for a project that features real and uncertain research as inquiry. I’m going to try and enlist as much support and collaboration from other teachers and students with experience, or a willingness to join us in this journey, or provide feedback along the way.
I've e-mailed the Directors of the "Keeping and Creating American Communities Project" and my e-mail was forwarded to other teachers involved in various aspects of the project. The responses have trickled in offering support and encouragement, some from teachers who were involved in working with the same (or similar) theme: Shifting Landscapes, Converging Peoples. One teacher who responded even lived in Hunterdon County (where our school is located) for a number of years.
Next week begins exams and the end of the first marking period, so we should get involved in this project the following week. I'll be posting updates.