JTM 8th grade IB Community Project

What is it?

The community project encourages students to explore their right and responsibility to implement service as action in the community. Students should identify a problem within the community, design a solution, and then work to implement it.

How are we doing this?

Students may complete the community project in groups of 2-3 students, all within the same English/Language Arts (ELA) class.   ELA class serves as a think tank space for this six month long project.

Most of the work for these projects should be done outside school, but there are many mini-lessons within our ELA classes that will support the necessary work and reflection in the project.  A typical project takes 15-25 hours of work, and the community service takes the place of the 10 required hours of community service that we ask of all JT Moore students.  For eighth graders, the service does NOT need to be documented on the service hours reflection form that we require of 5th-7th graders, because 8th grade students keep a process/reflection journal throughout the project and this serves as their community service documentation.

Students will keep track of their individual work on their process journal, which might be a spiral notebook, or Google classroom account.  This is a collaborative space for them to interact with one another, record their research, collect process pictures, brainstorm, draw diagrams, refer to emails, write reflections, etc.

Groups will have a mentor to guide them through this process, and it will likely be a faculty member from JT Moore.  In some cases, it might be a community expert, a parent, or an experienced 11th or 12th grade student from our very own Hillsboro High School IB Diploma Program.

How will students be assessed?

The students will present their long-term project in late March at an evening event to community members, teachers, multi-aged students, peers, and parents. Some groups will be asked to share their projects with current 7th graders later in the spring, so that 7th graders have a chance to begin thinking about this over the summer.

Students will be scored on the mini-lessons required for project progress, but the project as a whole does not have a final score attached to it.  Teachers will use their IB rubrics to assess the work.  For example, if students find they need to write a formal letter or email to a congressperson, teachers might design a lesson to support this, and students might be scored on the IB Criteria C: Producing Text rubric for ELA class.

Questions to ask your children to inspire their thinking about this project:

  1. Under what conditions do you feel most successful?  What’s the topic?
  2. What do you see in our community that isn’t fair, that you can help to make better?
  3. What does an ideal community look like, and how can you help us achieve that?
  4. What would you love to inspire other people to do?
  5. What progress have you made on your IB project, and what are your next steps?  What are your obstacles and how are you working to overcome them?
  6. What questions do you have for your mentor?  How has your mentor helped to clarify your thinking?

Questions?  Email Carly Price, IB Coordinator, at carly.price@mnps.org.