I should have written this post a long time ago. Actually, I wrote a post and some how, the whole thing got erased! Anyway, I was inspired to write again, by someone on Twitter. So I must thank her.
The One and Only Ivan is a story based on the true story of the gorilla, Ivan, who lived in a circus-themed mall for 27 years alone in a cage without ever seeing another gorilla. After National Geographic featured Ivan in a story, “The Urban Gorilla,” there was public outcry to help save him and put Ivan in a better situation. Katherine Applegate learned about Ivan and wrote a beautiful, simple story about Ivan. This novel promotes empathy in a way that is simple yet poignant and also brings up many issues dealing with the capture and caging of animals.
I attended PBL World in Napa Valley this past June. As part of my attendance, I created this project based learning unit with the help of many incredibly talented teachers and also the help of the National Faculty of Bucks Institute of Education. Now, John Scott, my friend and librarian, is helping me teach this wonderful story.It is listed as a project on the Global Classroom Projects wiki. Here are the goals of this project:
Students will read the book, __The One and Only Ivan__by Katherine Applegate.
Students will engage in self directed learning by researching the question, “Do we have the right to capture and cage animals?”
Students will engage in a project that employs and builds their empathetic skills.
Students will collaborate and communicate with each other, and with students from cultures around the world.
Students will create one book together by answering the question, “Do we have the right to capture and cage animals?
Students will decide as a global community which wildlife organization they will donate all proceeds made by the sale of the book.
The beauty of this project also includes the opportunity for teachers who want to try PBL but do not know quite where to start and would like to support from others who are doing the same thing! We will all work on the same driving question and if teachers want or need the support of resources, they are right there on the project page to utilize. I also used 21st Century Fluency Project to plan the unit and those who join are also able to use it.
I believe in project based learning to teach students in a way that is meaningful and motivating, and the learning that happens is far reaching beyond what traditional teaching can accomplish many times. I believe in global collaboration as a means of teaching students empathy and not only tolerance, but a true understanding and appreciation of people that are different from them. Global project based learning has the potential for unbelievably, powerful learning! I hope other teachers and students will take the plunge with me!