Real problems with Real solutions


For my first unit of the year I proposed a real problem and I needed a real solution. Let me give you some back ground into how this became a reality. Over the summer, I as talking with a few retired teachers and administrators about school spirit and how it has changed in out district over the past 20 years. I asked them what they thought the issue was. The answers I received blew me away. Here is what was said:

Many people inside and outside our district believe there is something missing, but disagree what it is. Some say it is competition among schools. Some say the students lack knowledge about our school history.  Some say our athletic program isn’t as competitive as it once was. Yet, others say it all boils down to school spirit. Many past Spartans feel they have more school spirit than the current Spartans, and feel they have more school spirit memories than the current Spartans in our school district.

So I used this as the basis of my unit (its in Google doc form). I gave my students an introduction letter, which is from the quote above, and set them on there way.  I helped them gather some information  from school sources when needed.

I also had several teachers come in who graduated from our school district and talk about their school spirit memories to my students. I recorded them, so my students could review them if they wanted to use part in their projects. Many students were surprised at how much school spirit the teachers had when they were in middle and high school as compared to now. Their stories helped to create a realism in the unit. They also saw that school spirit has diminished over time, and that they need to come up with a real solution to fix this problem. All of my students after hearing the stories, felt they had to come up with something real either on a small or large scale.

Over the past several weeks, as they worked I could tell some were really getting into the project. They created their own polls, and surveys. They figured out the percentages and came up with some real world answers. Some where simple things that teachers and students could do often and through out the year. Some answers were big events like pep rallies.

When I learned my students became more energized when they saw the problem was something that was real, not just an imaginary answer. Also, they found that when they went back to their home school from my school they could incorporate some of their ideas to help raise school spirit.

With this post, I am including all of unit information. Take it, and use it for your school project. No school can’t have enough school spirit.

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