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The project in Willow Run involves collaborating to make progress in a critical situation - A school system with an excellent past which has suffered political problems and has fallen into extremely low levels of achievement and dire financial times.  It now has a talented and progressive Superintendent and a recently revitalized Board of Education, to work with a solid staff and a core of dedicated Board Members.

Arts Integration:

Middle School - 8th Grade Teams

Willow Run Middle School – 8th Grade Arts Integration & Character Through Service Learning Project

Feb 2011 – Richard Benjamin

Goal:  Support two teams as they develop and implement Interdisciplinary instructional Units which demonstrate leadership in Project-Based Learning for rigorous academic standards and important 21st Century Skills

Language Arts / Social Studies – with Debbie & Mr. D – Suggested Concept - Conflict

Math / Science – Suggested Concept -  Relationships

Why Arts Integration? – Engagement, understanding, multiple modes of demonstrating mastery

Why Character Development? – Develop responsibility, respect, resiliency, caring, empathy, and collaboration

Why Project Based Learning? – Engagement, hands-on, related to students interests, coherent meaning for student.   [use Project Based Learning activities in place of “Inquiry Centers” on the Unit Authoring Template]

Why 21st Century Skills? – Stronger link to adult success/employability than IQ

Why interdisciplinary units?  Fosters the teacher  modeling of collaboration skills for students, and makes use of powerful cross-disciplinary concepts (conflict, relationships) in facilitating higher levels of student understanding and learning.

Unit Authoring Template – See Unit Authoring Template       [use Project Based Learning activities in place of “Inquiry Centers” on the Unit Authoring Template]

Criteria for Unit completion – see Unit Feedback Rubric.

Upon successful completion each team will receive a $300 stipend per person, to divide or use as they wish.  Some additional funding for needed materials or supplies is available.

Suggested concepts - #1 – SS/ELA - Conflict, #2 –  Science/Math - Relationships

Suggested Academic Service Learning activities:  #1 – Students (8th) teach other students 7th?) multiplication facts, using dance steps (Hiphop, rock, pop?), #2 – Students teach other students academic content & Writing organization using the ‘Human Paragraph’ strategy. #3 – Students assist other students in ‘conflict’ management using peer mediation skills (including a student observer employing a peer mediation rubric.

WRCS System resources – Peer Mediation grant, Service Learning Grant, PBL professional learning resources

Next Steps: Team members identify rigorous academic standards projected to be taught in April, focusing on standards which might best reinforce each other – (Writing probably fits well with all…)


General perspective and assistance – go to


School Reconfiguration




New Tech Initiative:  Project Based Learning / Smart Use of Technology / Culture of Trust, Respect,  and Responsibility (CEP Core Moral Values)

New Tech


Watch the video from the link below. Then prepare responses to the following questions.

1 - What do they seem to feel are the key components of 'Project-Based Learning' from this video?

2 - What is  the standard being addressed, and what makes it important and somewhat difficult to teach?

3 - What might be obstacles to more 'Project-Based Learning' in your classroom, and how might you address them?


New Tech - Project Based Learning - Video (Math)

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