The homeless challenge based learning project humbled me (Mrs. Myers) like no other research project has. It started with a two day, three hour planning session with Mr. Cooksey and turned into an amazing experience in which students interviewed homeless shelter managers, worked in soup kitchens, and used the presentation day as an opportunity to raise money for the homeless.
Mr. Cooksey and I talked about and planned the homeless project. He created a wiki and put his students into five groups: food services, homeless in the United States, homeless institutions, homeless veterans, and low income housing. I shared websites about statistics, research information, and local homeless institutions on the wiki. Students used the sites to create surveys, make a keynote, and for the movie. Mrs. Tighe worked with the students on using DISCUS to pull up information about the homeless. Later, I helped evaluate surveys and stopped in on the “Cooksey’s room is open for students to work night” to be an extra hand in helping to finalize movies.
On the day of the presentation, some parents set up food in the library conference room. Attendees were to pay a quarter (quarters were being donated to the homeless) but many people donated handfuls of quarters. Many parents came to see the presentations, and we also had attendees from the district office and a couple of teachers form other schools.
The groups started with a keynote and explained their specific part of the topic. They then showed their movies which included interviews with Dr. Craig Burnette, homeless people, managers of homeless institutions, and other people involved with helping the homeless. Parents asked the groups many questions about the statistics, why veterans would be homeless, and others volunteered information they had about how different organizations help the homeless.
Mr. Cooksey’s students did an amazing job of amazing job of bringing information about the plight of the homeless to a small part of our community. May the ripple effect keep growing ….