Students at D.C. Everest Middle School in Weston, Wis., are working to improve school culture by placing positive notes on lockers. The notes, which contained messages such as "Just be you" and "You look great" were found by students returning for the new semester. "I think it's really important for these kids to know that you're not just in school. You're part of a community, and it's kind of a family," teacher Dallas Rennie said.
Students in the Oral History Project club at Wisconsin's D.C. Everest Senior High School recently conducted interviews and researched information for a book called "The Nation's Longest Struggle: Looking Back on the Modern Civil Rights Movement." The publishing project is what the school's social studies coordinator Paul Aleckson calls authentic learning. "If you want to learn about World War II, talk to a vet. Want to learn about civil rights? Talk to someone who was knee-deep in the movement," said Aleckson, who started the club 15 years ago.
It was only two years ago that a tornado tore up parts of Merrill, Wis., so when the deadly tornado swept through Oklahoma recently, students in Merrill's Jefferson Elementary School wanted to show support for the children who experienced the storm. Fourth-grade students made cards and wrote letters of hope and support to their peers in Oklahoma.
Ryan Eisenman, a senior at D.C. Everest Senior High School in Schofield, Wis., became hooked on history in the eighth grade while working on a Civil War project. Eisenman is now the leader of his school's oral history project, which has published a book of interviews that he and other students conducted with Holocaust survivors. "There has to be someone who will remember their experiences and record them," said Eisenman, who said he wants to becomes a history professor.
Students in two Edgerton, Wis., elementary schools are using webcams and whiteboards to get to know each other. Four days a week, for 15 to 30 minutes a day, third- and fourth-grade students use Skype to participate in videoconferences, sharing class activities and projects. Teachers say they plan to expand the project to include videoconferences with students in other states and countries.