The Links Project (Arts & Entertainment Network Teaching Tool)

Article excerpt

THE LINKS PROJECT

As the seemingly incomprehensible and meaningless set of symbols above indicates, much of the work we do in our busy lives involves piecing together disparate pieces of information to formulate answers to questions that arise. We do this by examining and assimilating the clues we find, then through a process of sifting and evaluation, match the pieces of information through commonalities, linkages and familiarities that establish our frame of reference. It is both a cerebral and physical process, this business of solving problems and puzzles. At times, the links relating to the start point appear to multiply endlessly and you think it is hopeless, until suddenly, the solution appears. We puzzle our way through life, sometimes finding answers, more often perhaps, stymied in the pursuit.

As more and more of us are discovering, one of the intriguing and seductive aspects of the Internet is simply that: the excitement and anticipation of following the myriad links, paths, connections, not knowing what they offer or where they will lead. Not knowing fuels and piques the desire to further and deepen the search into the unknown. This teaching unit, in turn, is about taking seemingly disjointed or even, out of synch themes and finding their areas of commonality, linking them together coherently and realizing something useful throughout the process.

To accomplish this, we have incorporated material produced by four teachers who are the winners of the A&E Teacher Grant Competition. This competition involves the integration of A&E programming into a detailed, comprehensive classroom based project. The winners for the 1996 competition are:

Grand prize winner, David Schroeder of Westgate Mennonite Collegiate in Winnipeg who based his project on The Face of Tutankhamun. The project involved simulating an archaeological dig in the school's long jump pit.

First prize winner, Philippe Gregoire and Penny Bland of Fairview Elementary School in Maple Ridge, BC, who based their project on the program, You Can Do Anything: Reaching Your Dreams. This entailed a series of bilingual, Stay in School activities that included hosting a Career Fest, writing and producing a video, taking their show on the road to other schools and participating in a letter writing project with students in St. Bruno, PQ.

Second prize winner, Genny Weerdenburg of Valley Way School in Niagara Falls, who based her project on an episode of Biography that looked at the life of Agatha Christie. Ms. Weerdenburg developed a thematic unit that used a mystery theme to explore the curriculum areas of math/science, language arts, social studies and the arts.

Third prize winner, Linda Bennett ande Kay Jones of Porter Creek Junior Secondary School in Whitehorse, who based their project on The Klondike Gold Rush. Their class focused Yukon and the economic factors leading to the discovery of gold. Students also wrote and performed a radio play.

All of the prize winners are to be congratulated for their innovative efforts and creativity in developing new materials and projects for the purpose of stimulating their students' interest in learning. We know there are many teachers engaged in like pursuits who may be too busy to promote their own efforts. Nonetheless, we do wish to hear from you.

In this teaching unit, we will take these disparate themes: Ancient Egypt, Stay in School (Careers), Mysteries and the Klondike Gold Rush, and attempt to find their areas of commonality and link them together in a meaningful way.

GENERAL LEARNING OUTCOMES

Students will:

1 Explore different themes and find their areas of commonality

2 Understand the importance of research for school and the world of work

3 Gain experience and skill in problem - solving

4 Work together in teams to meet challenges and find solutions

5 Understand the importance of good communications and requisite skills

This teaching unit is appropriate for the following curriculum areas: History, Geography, Media Studies, Social Studies, Language Arts, and Technology. …

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