We were impressed with the winning lesson plan—so impressed, in fact, that we are offering Mrs. Blackburn’s Operation Global Connection lesson plan as a free downloadable!
We want to thank everyone who entered our contest for inspiring us and sharing your passion and creativity!
What is Operation Global Connection and how did it begin?
When Mrs. Blackburn’s eighth grade social studies students trickled into class in late November, something was different: The desks were arranged in a circle and the classroom more closely resembled a “town meeting hall” than the traditional space they were used to.
As they settled into their new arrangement, Mrs. Blackburn briefed her students on their forthcoming project—one that they would be responsible for designing, implementing and publishing. Students were free to take the project in any direction they wished as long as it met Rhode Island’s GSE HP2, an academic standard that asks students to connect the past with the present.
Everything they did—whether it was researching historical photos, snapping new ones, writing essays or interviewing international students—would be guided by two essential questions:
- “Why does what happened in the past matter to me today?”
- “How will it affect my future?”
What did students do?
As a collective, the students decided to research how the history of their state, city, school and classroom communities have changed over time, and then make predictions about how they may change in the future. Students also thought it was worth considering how the values, history, and life in Cranston compared to life elsewhere. To find out, they used technology to connect with students in Greece, Russia, China, Kansas and Connecticut.
How were students assessed?
Although the project had a floating agenda that was set at the beginning of each class, students were regularly assessed through “exit slips” and mini-projects they submitted through Google Docs.
Exit slips asked students two questions: “What did you accomplish today?” and “How can I (Mrs. Blackburn) help you as we move forward? These had to be filled out and submitted at the end of every class.
- Writing short essays that required students to use research to respond to project-related writing prompts
- Filming video documentaries to catalogue the project’s development
- Creating online polls and questionnaires and compiling the results
- Using Padlet to discuss articles and better understand the lives of their global partners
- Using various online platforms like Wordle to brainstorm
At the end of three weeks, the project culminated in a nine minute video.
We hope that you and your students find the lesson plan to be helpful! You can download it by clicking here or on the icon below.