CyberFair Project ID: 3723

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International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: Our Future in San Diego
Category: 3. Business and Community Organizations

School: John Muir School
    San Diego, California, USA

159 students, ages 5-18 worked together to complete this CyberFair project on March 11, 2005. They have participated in CyberFair in the following year(s): none before

Classes and Teachers: K-12: Anne, Susan, Rainee, Lindsay, Hope, Marcia, Stacey, Kerry, Lusia, Erin. Amy

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Community

Muir School is a Title I magnet school in the San Diego Unified School District. We have 350 students in kindergarten through grade 12 who arrive daily from all parts of the city in school busses. Our county, San Diego County, is in the southwestern corner of the United States. We border Mexico and from the air San Diego and the Tijuana area look almost like one city.

2. Summary of Our Project

Our goal is to explore San Diego and to imagine our future in this city. First, we studied local government and businesses and the jobs they provide. Then, we imagined life here in the future.

Our youngest students discussed buildings they see each day and what work people do there. They drew pictures of places they like to visit. Fourth and fifth graders thought about where they might work, and they learned to imagine future jobs from looking at stores, talking to friend, or looking in the Yellow Pages or Union Tribune want ads.

Sixth graders interviewed our Muir teachers about jobs they have had besides teaching. Seventh and eighth grade AVID students made connections between their college plans and jobs. The CyberFair project gave them a good reason to contact workplaces in San Diego. One eighth grader started a forum for students and workers. Seventh and eighth also wrote persuasive letters to convince today’s leaders to make changes to improve the future.

High school students visited the largest employer in San Diego County--UCSD. They discovered internships and service projects during CyberFair, including work at Miramar Stables, the AMC Cinema, and a tsunami relief fundraiser. Our district career counselor trained them to look business contacts in the eye, to speak firmly and politely, and to write follow-up notes. Many high school students wrote about places where they worked or places they visited in San Diego. The government class studied the various county governments as a part of CyberFair, using email to contact mayors and coucilmen.

On these pages we have collected the work of students of all ages from Muir. We are eager to see projects from other places to expand our thinking about San Diego in our global future.

3. Our Computer and Internet Access

A. Percentage of students using the Internet at home:21-50%

B. Number of workstations with Internet access in the classroom:more than 6

C. Connection speed used in the classroom:dedicated connection

D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:more than 6

E. Additional comments concerning your computer and/or Internet access (Optional):

Six years ago we had only five student computers in our whole school, so we have learned to use the new technologies together during the past few years. Most of our students use the internet only at school or in the public library.

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

Most of us are fairly new to computers. We have learned to search and to communicate online. Time was probably our biggest challenge. We solved this problem by starting early in the year and staying after school so that students could use the school computers. We hope that the project helped us with our biggest challenge--the challenge of improving school reading and math scores.

5. Our Project Sound Bite

With CyberFair, we came together as a family school with students ages five to eighteen to put together a jigsaw of San Diego organizations and to imagine our future working together.

6. How did your activities and research for this CyberFair Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?

Content standards addressed:

Information Literacy Continuum: 3.2.6: Student uses appropriate technology tools for data collection, information analysis, problem solving, group collaboration and presentation. English Writing Standards: 2.0 Writing Applications: Students write narrative, expository, persuasive, and descriptive texts. The writing demonstrates a command of standard American English and the research, organizational, and drafting strategies outlined in Writing Standard Reading Comprehension (Focus on Informational Materials) Students read and understand grade-level-appropriate material. They describe and connect the essential ideas, arguments, and perspectives of the text by using their knowledge of text structure, organization, and purpose.

Required curriculum: CyberFair helped our AVID classes complete the required study of careers, and it gave the government class an interesting way to learn about city governments.

New skills: Web page building was new to all of us. For some, word-processing was also new this year. An eighth grade student taught everybody how to incorporate a free forum into our webpage.

Group concepts: This is a perfect chance for us to enjoy our K-12 community at Muir. Older students helped younger ones with their projects. Younger students inspired the older ones.

Role we play in our school community: We each take on some kind of leadership when we come to Muir. We are so small that everybody has to be in charge of something! We have gained a new respect for the jobs our parents do.

Internet for teaching and learning: We'll always remember the day the mayor of Santee answered our email with a very candid interview! The internet not only gives us information quickly but it gives us information that is personalized in a way never before dreamed of. We are looking forward to reading the projects of other schools.

Project Elements

1) What information tools & technologies did you used to complete your CyberFair project?

Most of our work was done in our school library. We used twenty desktop Gateway computers which had come to our school with a grant for online Advanced Placement classes six years ago. We had some obstacles including Internet down time and scheduling snafus, but our students are used to working in groups and helping each other. We used the school telephone, disposable cameras, a scanner, the Yellow Page phone directory, the Union Tribune Classified Ads, email interviews, and oral interviews. One of our students did his senior project on web-page building because of our need to learn that for this project. Another student showed us how to set up our own forum.

Not all of our younger students understood 'CyberFair' at first. So we printed out some pages of the project and posted them on the library door with ballons hanging off the display. That way, students who did not use the computers often could see them every day.

2) In what ways did you act as "ambassadors" and spokespersons for your CyberFair project both on-line and in person.

We needed publicity! This whole project was done during our last year at our current school site. Next year our school building will become a college parking lot, and we are looking for new buildings. So, doing CyberFair and making ourselves known in the area gave us friends in our search for a new school site.

The community seems happy to become aware of our school with all grade levels and with such interesting projects. And they were all very honest with us. The mayors we wrote to were very candid about how little they are paid and how much they work. Other people told us how happy they were with their jobs. We have friends around town now who send us speakers and offer us tours.

3) What has been the impact of your project on your community?

Our project reflects our students. Students chose which businesses to write about based on their experiences and interests. This project is San Diego through their eyes.

Adults find their views original and are eager to ask them more about their perpectives. For parents who do not have internet, and that is the majority of our school, this project has opened the possibilities of online communication for their children's future.

4) How did your project involve other members of your community as helpers and volunteers?

We thank the generous members of our community who explained their jobs to students and also offered jobs and internships to Muir students. Your sharing will make our future together stronger.

5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)

This was our first year in this program, and just learning how to do this project has been a year's education. We started with two teachers planning projects in different categories and ended up with eleven teachers working together on one project. Our school culture and perspective has changed as we have collaborated.

Our school is now leaning towards doing more project-based learning. Since the themes of CyberFair are a great fit with our learning community, we hope to be involved again.


View our CyberFair Project (Project ID: 3723)

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