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Draper Journal

Channing Hall Community Project Day showcases students’ projects

Jul 25, 2017 02:36PM ● By Julie Slama
By Julie Slama | [email protected]
Channing Hall student Spencer Lords decided to photograph cemetery headstones for the Billion Graves’ website as his international baccalaureate project to finish up his eighth-grade year.
“In doing this project and focusing on IB concepts of communities and culture, I learned and became more interested in family history and how families are connected to each other,” he said. “Using this information, I can learn more about my family and how they came to live in America.”
Channing Hall’s International Baccalaureate (IB) — or Middle Years’ program — is designed for sixth- through eight-graders and provides a framework of learning that encourages students to become creative, critical and reflective thinkers and to make connections between their studies in traditional subjects and to the real world.
The 38 cumulative projects engaged 45 eighth-grade students in inquiry specific to their interest through a service, awareness of a cause or area for personal improvement, said Jennifer Lueck-Wheeler, Channing Hall IB coordinator.
The eighth-graders started last fall, brainstorming and researching community problems. Then they volunteered to make improvements. The projects ranged from cleaning up trails and picking up litter to recording family stories for genealogy and performing on Broadway.
“We wanted the students to become goal oriented and self-motivated,” Lueck-Wheeler said. “We want them to see community problems and see that they can make an impact and become more global citizens.”
Then, after working on the project all year — which included a 500-word paper citing six to 10 sources as well as a trifold, PowerPoint or video of their project — the students displayed their understanding of the IB global contexts as well as reflected on the learning and growth from the process, she added.
“We wanted students to reflect on the process as well as what they learned from it,” Lueck-Wheeler said, adding that Draper Mayor Troy Walker, community and education leaders and families came to the students’ community project day.
Eighth-grader Madison Crain decided to supply school kits for kids in Honduras.
“In preparation for this IB project, I wanted to learn more about how other people live,” she said. “When we are here, in our own country and culture, we don’t really know how fortunate we are until we go somewhere else and learn about their hard times and what they don’t have compared to what we do have.”
Madison tied in the IB principles of caring, risk taking and open-mindedness to the project.
“I went there and decided that this is what I needed to do, so I spent money to do this donation,” she said about the caring principle. “I was a risk taker because I didn’t really know what a project of this size was going to entail. I learned that we are very fortunate and have it so much better than other people. With this knowledge, I learned that I shouldn’t judge people because of what they do or don’t have. I should also be more open-minded.”
Classmate Ethan Honeycutt chose Foods for Athletes for his project.
“I did my project on ways to fuel their bodies for sports,” he said. “For example, if I was a team captain I could inform the members of the team who want to improve their performance on what foods are better for them. I learned more about how I can express myself.”
Some of the projects are both personal and have an impact on the community, as in the case of Victor Hollenbach and Colby Hollenbach, who carried on the legacy of Victor’s brother, Tomas, who started the school’s involvement with Operation Christmas Child before dying of cancer.
“Doing this IB project helped me learn how to be a project manager,” Victor said, adding that he also learned how to be a better communicator. “The project targeted global awareness and affected the community in a positive way by giving a Christmas gift to kids globally.”
Colby said that through the project, he realized he told people how to do things even though he didn’t know how they were doing them.
“For example, when our parents were in charge of Operation Christmas Child, I kept trying to give them advice on different ways of doing things even though from their standpoint, they knew all the fine print stuff that could be missed,” he said. “Overall it was a great learning experience in that I learned that I don’t always know best and to learn from the experience of others. Doing this project made me a better person. The project helped me make a difference.”