Deerpark culturally connects classrooms with project-based partnership

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Students at Deerpark Middle School participated in a project-based, cross-curricular activity to complete their sixth-grade World Cultures Latin American folktale assignment. The assignment was a six-week partnership with The Thinkery, a division of the Austin Children’s Museum, and through the art of digital storytelling, students created stop motion videos.

“Students analyzed, inferred and decided the most important part of the story before making a storyboard, building objects and assets for their scenes,” said Holly Pazos, Deerpark world cultures teacher. “Supplied by The Thinkery, students used 2 in 1 Dell laptops, the HUE HD program and camera to complete their assignments and tell their stories.”

Shannon Sieber, Deerpark instructional technology specialist, was accepted to participate in The Thinkery’s Summer EdExchange. As part of the program, instructors from The Thinkery guide students through a six-week cross-integrated lesson.

“When I went to the Thinkery Ed Exchange for digital storytelling over the summer I immediately thought how we could bring some digital storytelling into our world cultures units,” Sieber said.

Project based partnerships improve and enhance the instructional model, elevate the application of cross-disciplines and provide a higher quality of student engagement, Sieber said. The inclusion of The Thinkery’s program into sixth-grade world cultures curriculum creates a culturally connected classroom.

“Culturally connecting classrooms is just that, having students relate and connect to cultures represented at Deerpark,” Sieber said. “Doing activities that help them relate to their fellow students and their cultural backgrounds in engaging ways helps them connect and better understand their peers.”

In July, Deerpark was awarded a District Tier II Innovative School Grant for their design of a culturally connected learning model.

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