Students tackle politicians’ identities
Students at Peoples Academy Middle Level in Morrisville, Vermont, are exploring the theme of identity in their humanities class. In part, they’re doing so by “speaking” for presidential candidates, using their research and argumentative writing skills with an app called Chatterpix Kids.
Research + content + creation = engagement
Maura Kelly, Peoples Academy Middle Level humanities teacher explains:
In our exploration of identity, we examined how life in the United States has both changed and stayed the same for immigrants coming to our country. Through our exploration we wanted students to look at current presidential candidates. We wanted them to develop an understanding of the candidates’ immigration policies.
Students selected one candidate and researched his or her platform on immigration. As a way to have students apply their understanding of the candidates stance, they created a stump speech for the candidate. As an added challenge students recorded their stump speech using the app Chatterpix Kids. This app limits each recording to 30 seconds. So students were required to synthesize the information in this argumentative speech in a way they may not have had to using another medium or tool.
Students were very engaged in this process, debating which candidates they would endorse while also learning how to look at a candidate’s platform and make educated decisions about how they would vote in the future.
What this looks like
Why this works
From my conversations with Maura about this project, it’s clear the engagement factor using ChatterPix Kids was a big benefit. And was one of Maura’s favorite projects.
Maura’s teammate Jordy Griffin joined in the conversation. He emphasized the power of limiting the students’ immigration speeches to 30 seconds, thereby forcing synthesis and clarity.
On the surface, a tool like Chatterpix Kids has novelty value but might not lead to supporting deeper learning.
Not so in this case. Chatterpix’s explicit focus on re-examining and remixing key components of identity — the visual appearance of a face, the sound of a voice — make it a compelling tool for middle level students. They can use it as they work through issues related to their own concerns about identity.
Read more about ways to use Chatterpix to engage learners reflecting and sharing in my earlier blog post Serious PD fun with Chatterpix.