One Sample of student work:

Other samples are on my flash drive because they are too large to upload onto this Wiki.


A. Introduction: My “I believe” statements with regards to our focus areas of “art as a way of thinking,” “learning communities,” “student centeredness,” and “21st century learning tools”

I believe…
-21st century education programs must employ and appeal to the left brain (logical, analytical, sequential, rational) and right brain (artistic, inventive, intuitive, empathetic)
-Teaching that employs and appeals to the whole mind values students’ experiences throughout a learning process that provides opportunities for the application of thinking and creating skills. -This kind of teaching emphasizes a student-centered approach that incorporates:
a. active learning: "Tell me and I forget, show me and I remember, involve me and I understand."
b. inquiry-based learning: students solve problems, formulate questions, brainstorm
c. experimental learning: students are given the freedom to learn and explore areas of interest and are guided by a flexible, supportive, understanding teacher-facilitator
-This type of learning and teaching also works well in technology-rich learning environments in which the technology does not become the focus, but is used to facilitate learning and the application of 21st century thinking and creating skills.
-Finally, because creating such educational programs will require forging new, less traditional teaching territories, a teacher must be able to consider lesson planning an art form that requires an openness to the stages of the creative and experimental process.

B. The Supernova Metaphor
1. Clip of a supernova explosion
2. Relate “I believe” statements to Supernova metaphor/ explain my Supernova metaphor with regard to 21st century schooling and 21st century literacy
a. Excerpt of written explanation that I provided students
The supernova is a huge stellar explosion that can occur at the end of a star’s lifetime.
What causes a big old star to blow up? A supernova explosion will occur when a dying star no longer has the energy to fuel the fusion process that was keeping it “alive.” Eventually, the star becomes so weak that it collapses on itself and … Kaboom! When a giant old star implodes upon itself, the explosive blast releases hot material, radioactive isotopes, high density elements, and free electrons that enrich the galaxy. What’s more is the supernova is so energetic that it produces massive shock waves that totally rock the universe in ways that can even trigger the formation of new stars or new intergalactic material.

Now, what does all this supernova stuff have to do with our project?
What does it have to do with short stories?

No one knows exactly when the first short stories were written, but evidence of the genre’s existence seems to date back as early as the 9th-century to the famous A Thousand and One Nights (a.k.a. Arabian Nights). Short stories have been around a long time—so long that some may believe that the written short story is a big old star facing the end of its life! Some may even say that the old-fashioned short story just doesn’t measure up in a technologically advancing modern world. There are myriad ways to tell a story without using written text. Gone are the days when the young populace awaited the newspaper issue with the next weekly installment of a short story from Washington Irving or Edgar Allan Poe. Here are the days when America’s teens wait for the newest episode of DeGrassi to download onto their iPods or for the newest movie adaptation of a novel from the Twilight saga.
Thus, for Project Supernova, we will be coasting through the universe of creativity on the 21st century shock waves set off by the explosive supernova death of the written short story. We will be rocked by the energy of this stellar blast and form new stars—new versions and generations of the short story!

C. Presentation of Supernova Projects
a. Overview of project and requirements
b. Rationale and Pedagogical objectives
1. “Narrative imagining— story — is the fundamental instrument of thought […] Rational capacities depend on it. It is our chief means of looking into the future, of predicting, of planning, and of explaining. […]Most of our experience, our knowledge and our thinking is organized as stories.” - writes cognitive scientist Mark Turner in his book The Literary Mind.
2. Differentiated learning/ Opportunity to use arts/media to develop skills in a core class
3. A group-project that provided students with opportunity to develop not only skills of literary analysis, but also abilities to synthesize. Pinkian skills of design (not just utility, beautiful, emotionally engaging), story (a clearly communicated, compelling narrative that encourages self-understanding) , and symphony (seeing the “big picture,” combining disparate pieces, creating a harmonious new picture) were also engaged.
4. Discussion of some of the other reading, writing, and speaking standards met.

c. Planning
1. Discuss how project was developed through conversations with Jeff, Louis, and Denise. Tap into the resources in your learning community!
2. Discuss flexibility required of teachers and students with this project.

d. Examples of student work
1. Show examples that were shown at our PD.