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Connecting Across the Atlantic

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Keywords: Flip Video,
Subject(s): Art, Video, Social Skills, Technology, Geography, Special Needs, Writing, Music, Social Studies, English/Language Arts, Speech and Language
Grades 6 through 8
NETS-S Standard:
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Research and Information Fluency
  • Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
  • Digital Citizenship
  • Technology Operations and Concepts
View Full Text of Standards
School: Mendenhall Middle School, Greensboro, NC
Planned By: Ryan Harwood
Original Author: Ryan Harwood, Greensboro
As a part of a service learning project our school has informally linked ourselves to a grade school in Tema, Ghana. This happened through the aid of one our custodians who is from Tema and was essential in establishing the school before he immigrated to the United States. In addition, our current principal is moving to Accra, Ghana to take a job as principal at an international school. This would provide a second possible sister school to collaborate with. Through this program I hope to establish a working relationship between students in our two countries that will foster a better world view for all those involved.

Students will be given the task of creating short 2-5 minute videos about our school, our town, state and country. In addition they will be asked to create video versions of some of our classroom lessons to provide tutoring to students in our sister school. These lessons would be from all disciplines and identified by need as the project progresses.

1. Students are broken into groups of 2-4 and given options of possible video topics
a. A day in the life of a typical school kid
b. A tour of our campus
c. Social highlights of our town
d. Historical highlights of our town
e. Geography of our town/state including maps
f. Tutorials for various subjects
g. Other ideas approved by teacher
2. Groups are given class time to research and plan their videos.
a. Each member of the group must play an active role in the film.
b. A minimum of four sources must be used to provide facts in your film
c. Resources used must be documented in a bibliography
a. A mini lesson on bibliographies will be taught
d. A script and story board must be approved before filming may begin
a. A mini lesson will be taught on how to complete these
e. Groups will receive time in the computer lab to edit and finalize their videos.
f. Videos should be at least 2 minutes but may be no longer than 5 minutes.
g. Videos will be shared with the sister schools via online tools such as Google Docs or Dropbox
3. Once videos have been shared students will write response papers
a. Students will view received videos as a class
b. Each student will write a one paragraph response to each video
a. Response should include the following
i. Observations on culture (clothing, housing, language, etc.)
ii. Questions you have about the content
iii. Other topics you would like to see covered in future videos
4. Videos will be used as a starting point for class discussion and possibly even future research projects. Other technology such as Google Earth will be used to locate and explore areas of Ghana that are described in the videos.
This lesson could be used in any setting. It could even be done as an exchange between classes at the same school. The idea is to be able to compare and contrast cultures and ideas.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
This lesson allows for videos to be created in any discipline as students create tutorial videos based on their own daily lessons. It is based on social studies, geography, writing, literacy and grammar.
The activity can be repeated an unlimited amount of times as students come up with questions and new ideas to exchange with thier sister schools.

In addition each year students can begin anew. This would also allow for students to compare their own videos with those from years before. This could open an interesting conversation about perspective and change over time.
Materials: Flip Video, Short Throw Projectors, Video Tools, Hard Drives, Social Studies, Web Page, Music, Internet Services