1. Description of Our Community
Lewiston is the second largest city in Maine. It is located in central Maine on the banks of the Androscoggin River. In the early 1900's the city was a booming textile community. Today it is undergoing urban renewal and trying to regain a position of leadership and economic growth in the State of Maine. Lewiston is focusing on expanding its leadership role by inviting new businesses to locate in the central business district. L.L.Bean has a telephone catalog center that employs over 1200 customer representatives during the holiday season. Andover College has opened a campus in downtown Lewiston. The textile mills which once made Lewiston a booming community are being renovated for new businesses, training facilities, banking operations, college facilities, as well a variety of restaurants. Our community is growing in economic and educational opportunities. Our population is becoming more diverse with a large number of immigrants selecting to relocate on the in our community.
2. Summary of Our Project
Our project is all about how Lewiston as a community is remembered and what students would like share about their community today. During, social studies students discussed culture brought into the community by immigrants and their families customs. Students brainstormed the meaning of “It was the best of times and the worst of times”. One student mentioned that his grandfather always says “In the good old days….when school closed for a snow storm Bleacher Hill would be closed to traffic and we would all go sliding down the huge hill.” Students researched community leaders of the past and present. They looked at past achievements and present day goals. They looked at transportation, schools, and recreational items of the past and compared them with those items today. They also discussed future goals for our community. Students decided the best way to prepare for the future was to be active in the present. They want to empower themselves with the knowledge that what they do, does, and can make a difference in the community in the present and to continue in the future as adults
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):
Thank you to Joseph Julias, Technology Director, and Nate Jalbert who came to assist with computer glitches, software installations, printer woes, and fix any problems that we encountered with technology. Without these two dedicated men our project would have had several serious setbacks. Mr. Julias and Mr. Jalbert were in our classroom before school, during school, and after school quick to remedy software glitches and making error messages disappear.
4. Problems We Had To Overcome
Our worst barrier was our Maine winter. This year numerous snow storms caused school cancellations and as luck would have it every time a quest speaker was scheduled storms cancellation also cancelled our speaker. Three quests were scheduled to come speak to students and all three were cancelled due to inclement weather. Rescheduling was a nightmare and as a result none of the students were able to interview their speakers. Students’ trips to nursing homes were also prevented by weekend snow or ice storms. At present 12 school day cancellations has limited portions of our project. Then influenza caused the nursing homes to close wards to non-family members. Students tried to overcome the lost of speakers and visitations by replacing them with phone calls to older relatives and speaking with staff members at school. The community involvement portion of our project is weak as a result of speaker cancellations, weekend storms that prevent parents from taking students to various nursing homes, interviews, and taking photos of various areas of our community. While completing our project the i-pod were were using to record interviews 'died'. Students were only able to upload 2 of the 6 recorded interviews.
5. Our Project Sound Bite
“Wow, I didn’t know we once had an amusement park in Lewiston. I wish we still had a carrousel” “I wish they still closed off traffic on the big hills during snow days. I must have been fun sliding down Bleacher Hill. That hill is huge! I would like to snowboard down that hill.” “When my grandfather talks about when he was a kid, it sounds so cool.”
6. How did your activities and research for this CyberFair Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?
The State of Maine's Learning Results require that all-third grade students study their local community. The CyberFair project provided an interesting and motivating way to cover the existing curriculum requirements in Social Studies, English Language Arts, Visual and Performing Arts, as well as Science and Technology. The project extended well beyond the required curriculum standards including developing communication skills, organizing photos with text: editing: writing: designing: and publishing skills: computer skills: keyboarding: scanning with the use of i-books. These skills were necessary for students to create their web page. In fact it would be very lengthy to list all the specific content areas, standards, and performance indicators listed in the State of Maine Learning Results. In addition to all these state standards, Lewiston also has local assessment that must meet quarterly. The most exciting aspect of this project was how differentiated learning was. Students with low reading levels, speech problems, behavior issues, and students who have “an allergy to pencils” (avoid written task at any cost) began to work together to create meaningful scripts. They bonded together helping each other practice, understand ideas, and write “thick” questions for their scripts. Students had to read, listen to text via software, and become experts on the interview topic. The most exciting aspect of this project was that students practiced and mastered so many skills while enjoying themselves. The idea of restating in their own words was very difficult for these eight-and-nine year old students. For eight-and-nine year old students copying verbatim was writing their own work. This was a wonderful learning experience disguised as pure pleasure as it also brought students a new appreciation of their parents and grandparents childhood stories.