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|Project Title: ||The Fish Project|
|School Year: ||2006|
|School - District:||John F Kennedy Middle School - Northampton|
|Contact Name:||Ellen Kennedy|
|Content-Area(s):||English Language Arts, History & Social Sciences|
|Brief Description of SL Project: |
Eighth grade students researched the historical and economic importance of fishing along the Connecticut River and the impact of industrialization and damming on anadromous and catadromous fish migration and population. After inter-curricular exploring the topic of fish in science, math, social studies, and art, both in the classroom and in the community, students decided to design, print and distribute a booklet with information they felt was important to share with the surrounding community.
By using an intercurricular approach to explore the topic of fish, students were given an opportunity to see very clearly how a topic can span through many different subject areas, and thus they learned tools for buiding a larger framework, "a bigger picture", with subject matter they encounter not only within an academic setting but also in the daily experiences of their lives.
|The Community Need the Project is Meeting:|
"The Fish Project" is a unit which a team of teachers offers every year to the Seventh or Eighth grade students. Once the students have been introduced to the subject, they decide the service project they will provide. This year’s class chose the publication of a booklet so as to share the information, which they felt was important, mainly that of locally maintaining clean and safe passageways for anadromous and catadromous fish since the Connecticut River is vital to those populations.
|Service Component: |
Publishing an informational booklet was the service provided to the local community. Several eighth grade classes spent about 10 hours collectively putting together the publication. Two hundred copies will be printed this summer and distributed in the fall. Each student that worked on the project will be given a copy. Several copies will be given to the school. The remaining copies will be distributed to community members via environmentally related organizations and businesses. Because the booklets have not yet been distributed, it is hard to say what the community impact will be. It is the hope of those who facilitated the project as well as the students that participated that the booklet will be informative and conscious-raising so that people will be more aware of the impact of their own actions.
|Connections with Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks: |
Life Science frameworks:
Living Things and Their Environment (LS13)
Energy and Living Things (LS14, LS15, LS 16)
Changes in Ecosystems Over Time (LS17, LS18)
English Language Arts:
Language Strands- 1:Discussion, 2:Questioning, Listening, Contributing, 3:Oral Presentation
Composition Strands- 19:Writing, 20:Consideration of Audience/Purpose, 21:Revising, 22:English Conventions, 23:Organizing Ideas in Writing
24:Research, 25:Evaluating Writing and Presentations
|How Youth Voice Helps Shape Project:|
Students in this project were successful in choosing and planning the service project that proved age-appropriate for their learning experience. After a lesson plan in their science class, students collaborated in their decision to inform the community about the history of the area, the importance of ensuring safe and clean waterways for migratory fish and tips on how to aid in the maintenance of the waterways. The students even included information about how to choose fish for eating when purchasing or fishing as well as several health-conscious recipes.
|Student Reflection Component: |
Participant reflection occurred throughout the project, both formally and informally. Reflection was facilitated using pre and post project surveys assessing feelings of importance in the community and also the ability to make positive change as well as information about local waterways, local migratory fish, dams on the Connecticut River and fish ladders and elevators. In addition, art was used as a reflective tool in which students learned about and experimented with Japanese fish printing and got to design and create their own t-shirt using fish printing. Lastly, several pieces of writing were used reflectively, both research based and creative pieces.
|Community Partners Involved: |
students, teachers, school services that helped produce booklet
|Demonstration/Celebration of Students' Work: |
The main celebration occurred during the last week of school when participants picked a day for them all to wear the fish-printing t-shirts they created and the teachers gave students collaborative time so that they could all sign each others t-shirts.
|Evaluation of Project’s Impact:|
Project success was determined in several ways: student self assessments as well as peer assessments, using standard rubrics for quizzes, evaluation of open response proficiency in each subject, as well as observation of student engagement in activities and contributions to discussions.
|Challenges/Solutions Identified by District:|
Time seemed to be the biggest challenge during this project. The students involved were very engaged in the material and wanted very much to spend more time on the unit. As it is used as the end of the school year unit (because fish migration occurs in the spring and the field trip component is to visit the Holyoke fish elevator which is used by migratory fish) while other material is also needing to be finalized, the timeline is tight and a lot of information is given and project-related activities occur in a short amount of time. The solution that was discussed seems to be allowing for more time at the beginning of the unit for reasearch and discussion, thus spreading it out longer and having it less concentrated. Though it is this very characteristic, the concentration of the "fish" material in almost all their subjects, which enables the students to have such a high level of engagement.
* NOTE: This project summary was written by the district/community. Any text in italics was added or modified by the Department (ESE). Most of these projects were supported with Learn & Serve America funds distributed through the ESE.