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Discovering Your Hometown

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Keywords: traditions, culture, history, geography
Subject(s): Journalism, English/Language Arts, Social Studies, Writing, Technology, Civics, History
Grades 7 through 8
Original Author: Dina Abbamondi, Folsom
Inspired by the "Hometown America" writing contest by "Junior Scholastic," this lesson will allow all 7th and 8th grade students to explore and document the geography, history, culture and traditions of Folsom, New Jersey and the surrounding areas. The Folsom School District is privileged to be one of ten “Choice” school districts in the state of New Jersey. Consequently, the school is comprised of a diverse population representing Folsom and other small South Jersey towns. Students will use the digital cameras to capture snapshots of daily life, historic landmarks, and important places of interests and events in their hometowns. Utilizing MultiMedia Lab V and Tool Factory Home Page software, students will design web pages a build photographic montage of Folsom, NJ and the other local sites of interests. Digital photos will be enhanced using the ToolFactory software and will include descriptive captions. These web pages will be available to students, staff, parents, community members, and the students who live in other towns with the name “Folsom.” Students will also correspond with students from other Folsom communities throughout the United States via a weblog. This project is aligned with and complements the goals of the Folsom Historical Society and Folsom, New Jersey’s centennial celebration in 2006.

The project aligns with the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards and Folsom Elementary School’s curriculum for language arts literacy, social studies and technology literacy. Using computer applications and technology tools, students will conduct research, solve problems, improve learning, and produce a final digital web product in conjunction with building clear and organized writings as well as maximizing their understanding of local history, civics and geography.

Students will be able to:
· Examine current and historical events as well as characteristics of their hometowns
· Summarize information into written and graphic formats
· Use digital cameras to capture images of their hometowns
· Design and produce a web page using multiple digital sources
· Correspond via a weblog to a larger audience
· Facilitate a forum for exchange of information and sharing of photographs related to varied communities


· In Social Studies class, students will share their knowledge of their communities. They will develop a short survey to be given to parents, neighbors and community members who have lived in Folsom or their hometown for a number of years. Students will discover anecdotal stories about their very own hometown community.

· Students will study maps and local community websites in order to identify key landmarks and areas of interest as well as explain their historical, economic, and/or social importance.

· Students will conduct field work with a parent or teacher chaperone (which will include an acceptable use policy for utilizing the digital camera away from school premises). The field work will follow a prescribed list of local sites to be photographed and studied.

· Using the ToolFactory software, students will edit and enhance the digital photographs. Students will write descriptive captions that summarize the landmark and its role in Folsom or their hometown community. A website will be developed from selected photos and captions written by students to showcase the best of their hometowns. This site will be shared with Folsom staff, students, parents, the Folsom and surrounding communities, and to students in other towns named Folsom.

· Using a protected and moderated weblog, students will share their summaries of their hometowns to a wider audience by publishing to the Internet.

Depending on the resources at each school, funds to pay for a web server or website development might need to be budgeted.
Materials: Timeline, Worksheets, Web Page, Word Processor, Flash/USB Drives, Digital SLR, Camera Bags, Point and Shoot
Other Items: 1 xD Picture Card (M1GB), $109.99 each, total of $109.99
4 camera cases ($13.95 per case), $55.80 each, total of $223.20
1 additional camera (Olympus D-545), $200.00 each, total of $200.00
1 AC Adapter (E-7AU), $39.99 each, total of $39.99
1 USB Reader/Writer MAUSB-10 (Dual-Slot SmartMedia & xD), $49.99 each, total of $49.99
1 CR-V3 Lithium Battery 2 Pack (LB-01), $24.99 each, total of $24.99
Associated File: 8299.kid