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Sunday, August 9, 2015

Local Civics projects for Snow Day make up work

Below are the final projects that the BHS Social Studies Department did for the snow day make up assignments aka "Blizzard Bags." Let me say again how much I dislike that term...

Overall, they were a successful pilot of the program.  Reflecting on the overall concept, I think that there is a fine line that we need to walk between creating the teacher-directed portion and the project portion.  For instance, the 9th graders were able to pretty much parrot back the information that we provided them in the composition of their project.  From my perspective, it wasn't a big deal for them to do that, as voting information is voting information; we weren't interested in them doing synthesis-level thinking for these projects!  In the end, what we really wanted to accomplish was to familiarize our students with some of the basic and important avenues of civic interaction with their state and local governments, and by and large, I think we did that successfully! I don't know the exact completion rate, and I don't have copies of students' final work to share, but anecdotally, teachers shared with me that students had little difficulty in completing the assignments, not one parent complained about the assignments, and my own students said that they actually learned something from doing the project, so I'll take that as positive!

Grade 9
 project description, Grade 9 supporting presentation

Grade 10 project description, Grade 10 supporting presentation

Grade 11 project description, Grade 11 supporting presentation

These are public copies of the documents, but they are set to view only in Google Drive.  Please feel free to make use of them, but do credit the BHS Social Studies Department should you reproduce them!  High School teachers in the commonwealth of Massachusetts, I don't know the outcome of DESE's decision making on the future use of these types of assignments, but know that you can use these with minimal changes should your district require that you come up with assignments that your students can complete in the event of another winter full of 100 year storms!

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