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Our Community Unit
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  1. Our Community Unit Defining who we are, how we fit into the world around us, and how we can become active community members.

  2. Overarching Goals: • Microcosm – Macrocosm • Authentic Education • Gaining a Sense of Community • Civic Participation • Future Active Citizenship

  3. Microcosm - Macrocosm Students develop from concrete to abstract learners. It is easier for students to comprehend an abstract concept, such as a foreign culture or geographic area, if they can scaffold or compare the newly introduced topic to something they have experienced firsthand. In other words, by comparing the tangible to the abstract, students are better able to comprehend geography.

  4. Authentic/Real World Education “Working on authentic tasks is a useful, engaging activity in itself; it becomes an ‘episode of learning’ for the student (Wolf, 1989). From the teacher's perspective, teaching to such tasks guarantees that we are concentrating on worthwhile skills and strategies (Wiggins, 1989). Students are learning and practicing how to apply important knowledge and skills for authentic purposes.” http://www.eduplace.com/rdg/res/litass/auth.html Presenting to the Town Council & Planning Commission Real/ Meaningful Learning Real World Data

  5. Past Projects • Belding Mill Renovation – Thompson, CT • Walking Historical Field Trips – Thompson, CT Mills • Population Explosion/Sprawl – Middle School Students Presented to the Coventry Town Council • Improving Your Community Project – Using the Comprehensive Plan to Devise Solutions for the Betterment of the Students’ Town.

  6. Current Project (Evolved):Our Community • What is a Community? • Why Having a Sense of Community is Important? • What is OUR Community? • How our Community Evolved. • The Future of our Community.

  7. What is a Community? GEMEINSCHAFT V. GESELLSCHAFT A major contribution to the discussion of community was made in the 1920's by Ferdinand Tonnies, who used the German words Gemeinschaft (community) and Gesellschaft (society) with special meanings which have entered the language of social science. Gemeinschaft, normally translated as 'community', refers to the closeness of holistic social relationships said to be found in pre-industrial communities, and imputed to the community as moral worth. For Tonnies, Gemeinschaft exists by the subjective will of the members: "the very existence of Gemeinschaft rests in the consciousness of belonging together and the affirmation of the condition of mutual dependence" (Tonnies 1925: 69). Gesellschaft refers to the more instrumental, purposeful types of relationship typical of industrial society. This objective society or association (Gesellschaft), where "reference is only to the objective fact of a unity based on common traits and activities and other external phenomena" (Tonnies 1925: 67) stands in contrast to community defined by shared feeling. Tonnies considers entities based on objective common interest such as "ethnic community, community of speech, community of work" (Tonnies 1925: 67) to be Gesellschaft (society), not Gemeinschaft (community), because they lack the element of shared feeling which is essential to Gemeinschaft. Gemeinschaft type relationships may be found in modern industrial society, but they do not typify the dominant type of relationship of that society. *Explained in What is Community PowerPoint contained within the following link:http://www.mitchellteachers.net/MrMOurCommunityUnit.html

  8. Why Having a Sense of Community is Important? • Movie:Pay It Forward • Article:A Cry in the Night: The Kitty Genovese Story (Click Here for Whole Article) • Writing Prompt: Compare/Contrast (Click Here) • Columbine, Red Lake, etc. All of these stories lend themselves to discussions about the need for a sense of community.

  9. What is OUR Community? Analyzing Community/Culture - Empathy Case Study: The Nacirema (Click Here)

  10. Defining Our Community: Sticky Notes Brainstorm Activity • Students define “Community” from Dictionaries • In groups, the students brainstorm all that comes to mind in what “Community” means to them and write their thoughts on sticky note pads. • The groups then divide each defining sticky note into the following categories: Very Sure, Somewhat Sure, A little Sure, & Wild Guess. • Each group puts their sticky notes into the four sections designated on the board. • Whole class consolidates lists and sub-categorizes them. • Class creates Web definition of “Community” • Lesson Online(Click here)

  11. Our Community Web:

  12. Defining Our Community Assignment Defining Community Survey Mr. Mitchell – Social Studies Directions/Overview: Your group has been assigned a sub-category within the class’s definition of community. Now it is time to actually collect real data through surveying in order to define the community that you live in. Step 1: Break it Down! Brainstorm a list of questions that breaks the sub-category you were assigned into smaller parts. Step 2:Delegate! Assign at least TWO questions to each member of your group. Step 3: Create a data table following the example provided in class. This is used to collect and keep track of all of the responses in your survey. This needs to be neat and organized! You must ask everyone the exact same question! Step 4:Survey! Find at least 25 participants to answer your questions completely. Step 5:Calculate! Calculate your responses into percentages using the format provided. Step 6:Graph It! Graph your responses using the “Create a Graph” Internet site (http://nces.ed.gov/nceskids/graphing/). Select the pie graph format. Step 7:What Does It All Mean! Write a conclusion that summarizes your results and findings. Be sure to discuss how it relates or helps define your community. Also talk about the limits of your findings. *Example Sheet(Click here)

  13. Survey Results: Student Work The students summarized and analyzed their results in a paragraph below their printed graphs.

  14. How our Community Evolved • Historical Pictures of Coventry (Providence Library) – Click Here • Background/History in Comprehensive Plan • Coventry Historical Society Video/Visit

  15. Understanding Visual Pollution/ Community Appearance Streets of the City Project (Ongoing) Sprawl Trend Assignment Smart Growth Principals/ GrowSmartRI Visit Improving Your Community Project – Using the Comprehensive Plan The Future of our Community

  16. Visual Pollution/Appearance • ViewFinders Too

  17. Streets of the City Project • RI Historical Society Grant • Student created website – still in progress (click here)

  18. Sprawl Trend Demonstrating disproportionate population increases in suburb/rural towns. Case Example: South Providence v. Wood Estates, Coventry. Assignment (click here)

  19. GrowSmartRI Principals/Visit • John Flaherty’s PowerPoint presentation and discussion • Email communication for follow up questions • Smart Growth Materials/PowerPoints/PDF files

  20. The Community We Live In: Planning for Our Future

  21. Improving Our Community: Interdisciplinary Connections • Math – Growth & Decay Exponential Growth Formula – Interpreting Data Tables and Graphs • ELA – Summarizing Text, Translating Expository Text to “Kid Friendly” Language. • Science – Environmental Science: Pollution, Soil Erosion, etc.

  22. Improving Your Community Assignment – Click Here Overview: Each student will work with a small group of their peers in researching a part of the Coventry Community Comprehensive Plan. Each group will review the goals listed for their category (i.e. Land Use) and then propose a plan for the town on how to achieve those goals. Each group will create a presentation that demonstrates their proposals. Step 1:Choose andResearch! Review the Goals and Objectives for your category provided. Choose the ones that you plan to focus on and rewrite them in “kid” friendly language. Also, review in detail, the materials, maps, etc. given to your group. You need to understand their meaning before moving on to the next step! Also, add a goal or objective to the list that your group feels is needed under the category you were assigned. You will produce: 1.      The goals and objectives summarized in your own words. 2.      List of goals or objectives of your own. Step 2: Summarize and Report to Class! Each group will report out to the class about what their goals and objectives are, in addition to, describing the current state of Coventry within those goals and objectives. Be prepared to answer questions and receive suggestions. You will produce: 1.      Your goals and objectives on a transparency sheet. 2.      A one page summary of the information you were provided. 3.      Reference points on a map of Coventry provided. (Include this in your presentation to class.) Step 3:Create a Plan! Propose a plan on how to realize these goals and objectives. Write up a summary (one-page) explaining your plan. Also, include maps, tables, figures, etc. to show how your plan is to work. You will produce: 1.      A one-page report about your plan. 2.      A presentation to the class with visual aids. (Use the overhead, computer, posterboard, etc.) Step 4:Present Your Plan! Each group will present their proposal to the class. You must use visual aids and be able to defend your plan from critical questions. Translation of Goals Summary of Current State Present Proposed Plan

  23. Improving Your Community - Group Research Categories: • Land Use (Zoning – Residential, Commercial, etc.) • Circulation (Transportation, Roads) • Economic Development (Employment, Industry, Tax Revenue, etc.) • Open Space & Recreation (Parks, Preserves, Playgrounds, etc.) • Natural & Cultural Resources (Lakes, Beach, Historical Site, etc.) • Community Services & Facilities (Schools, Police Stations, Fire Stations, Senior Centers, etc.)

  24. Materials from the Comprehensive Plan for each student group: Land Use: 1.        Vision, Goals, and Objectives 2.        Land Use Maps 3.        Agricultural Land Maps 4.        Existing Land Use Maps 5.        Recreation, Conservation, Open Space Maps 6.        Zoning Districts Maps 7.        Land Use and Zoning (description) Circulation: 1.        Vision, Goals, and Objectives 2.        Existing Transportation System Maps 3.        Rhode Island Map 4.        Street and Highway Characteristics Tables 5.        Traffic Accident Table 6.        Zoning Districts Maps Economic Development: 1.        Vision, Goals, and Objectives 2.        Existing Land Use Maps 3.        Population Growth/Density Tables 4.        Employment Characteristics Tables 5.        Median Family Income Growth Tables 6.        Tax-base Sources Tables 7.        Land Use and Zoning (descriptions) 8.        Zoning Districts Maps 9.        Coventry Municipal Revenue Tables Natural & Cultural Resources: 1.        Vision, Goals, and Objectives 2.        Natural & Cultural Resources Maps 3.        Existing Land Use Maps 4.        Land Use and Zoning (descriptions) 5.        Zoning Districts Maps Open Space & Recreation: 1.        Vision, Goals, and Objectives 2.        Existing Land Use Maps 3.        Recreation, Conservation, and Open Space Maps 4.        Open Space and Recreation Needs Assessment 5.        Land Use and Zoning (description) 6.        Zoning Districts Maps Community Services & Facilities: 1.        Vision, Goals, and Objectives 2.        Community Services & Facilities Maps 3.        School Enrollment and Capacity Tables 4.        Land Use and Zoning (description) 5.        Zoning Districts Maps *Click Here

  25. Translation of Vision, Goals, & Objectives to“Kid Language” • Students work in assigned groups. • Groups review the provided materials. • The students divide the Vision, Goals, and Objectives equitably. • Students use dictionaries and consulting with teacher to translate their Vision, Goals, and Objectives into language that the class would be comfortable with. • All translations are approved by the teacher. • ***Add their OWN Goals & Objectives***

  26. Improving Your Community (1st Presentation):Defining the Current State of Categories • Read translated Vision, Goals, & Objectives • Groups referred to their summaries of their materials displayed on the overhead machine • Whole class discussion and questioning of each group’s materials and current state.

  27. Why We Need to Think About the Future and Plan for it! John Flaherty’s Smart Growth Presentation – Avoiding Sprawl Wood Estates residents take on condos Bill Brackett presents on the Wood Estates Zoning Dispute Former Student Ali Sherer presents on the factors of exponential population growth

  28. Math Activity: Predicting Population Growth in your Town Helpful Website: http://online.redwoods.edu/instruct/darnold/INTALG/growthdecay/growthdecay.pdf

  29. Connecting Math to Social Studies: • Students used their population growth calculations to predict what their community would look like in the future. • Former student, Ali Sherer, presented her PowerPoint to the students and answered questions. • Whole class filled out the following graphic organizer with their research materials and calculations in front of them…

  30. Connecting Math & Social Studies: Predicting Consequences of Population Growth

  31. The Student’s Version of the Comprehensive Plan • Students add their own goals and objectives • They review the maps, tables, data, etc. they are provided with and come up with their own plans. • Each group must back up their plans or changes with real data. It must also be feasible with the teacher’s endorsement. (Ex: Having the town build a Six Flag’s Amusement Park with town tax revenues would be rather difficult to pass.) • Student groups create a plan to attain these goals and objectives. (Ex: Where is a new school, park, etc. going to be located?)

  32. Final Presentation to the Town Council & Planning Commission • Students present their PowerPoints and Posterboards. • The presentations are grouped by category. • Question and Answer session immediately following.

  33. Cooperative Community Circulation By: Keleigh Thompson, Tom Daras, Brittany Wallace, and Max Morin.

  34. Population in the Next 30 Years and What It Could Do to Our Community. • In the next twenty-five years, the population will have grown much larger. If that happens we will need more road space or even more roads. Also, if there are more people in our community the roads are not going to be wide enough and we are going to need larger roads. Can you imagine Tiogue Ave with... About 5 lanes per each road!!!

  35. $ What Can Happen If… We add more lanes to Tiogue road ,we are going to… $ Lose business space, which will… Cause residents to leave Coventry… $ And money Cause residents to move their houses and spend money that many people these days just don't have. Cause people to lose money and causes the houses they move to to become of a lesser quality.

  36. !!!!!This is not looking good!!!!

  37. Would you like to live in a place that looks like this….

  38. Or a place that looks like this.

  39. What? YOU DON’T WANT TO LIVE IN A PLACE LOOKING LIKE THIS? WELL THAT’S WHAT Coventry IS GOING TO LOOK LIKE IF WE KEEP HEADING IN THE DIRECTION WE ARE GOING.

  40. Notice how many accidents are around the intersection at Sandy Bottom Rd. and Route 3, Now notice the ones at Tiogue Ave. and Reservoir. Comparing the two: which one has more accidents? Why do you think this is? We believe the accidents are caused by H.S. kids. They are new with driving and are dangerous directly and indirectly. AND ANOTHER ISSUE… All the places with the black spots show the places that 5 or more accidents have occurred since 1988…

  41. Some ways we can fix this are… • Add roads at certain spots for the high school kids to drive on. • Warn Coventry High School students that driving along Sandy Bottom Road is a risk to them. Encourage them to use the alternative routes that we have provided. • Add more street lights and/or signs, such as; yield, stop, slow.

  42. One way the High School students could travel to and from the High School is… • If high school students would also use the route we are proposing through Wood Estates to Route 117, rather than only using Reservoir Ave. to Tiogue to Sandy Bottom Rd., accidents would decrease due to less traffic.

  43. An Alternative Route For The High SCHOOLERS Could Be… • IF THE H.S. KIDS GO FOM ABOUT HERE TO ABOUT HERE AND THROUGH THESE ROADS THEY CAN AVOID 8-9 MAJOR ACCIDENT SPOTS. • ALL WE NEED IS TO SOME HOW SPEAK TO THEM THROUGH SCHOOL PRESENTATIONS ABOUT THE SAFETY OF THEIR PRESENT ROUTES TO SCHOOL.

  44. This Is What We Think Should Happen… • WE COULD PRESENT TO THE HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS ABOUT THE SAFETY OF THEIR CURRENT ROUTES TO AND FROM SCHOOL, ASKING THEM TO PLEASE USE THE ROUTES WE HAVE PRESENTED ON THE MAP WE HAVE PROVIDED. • WE ALSO THINK THAT WE SHOULD ADD STREET SIGNS, IN ORDER TO STOP ACCIDENTS AND TO WARN DRIVERS TO TAKE PRECAUTIONS WHILE DRIVING ALONG THOSE ROADS. SOME SIGNS WE COULD ADD THAT WOULD BE HELPFUL WOULD BE ,STOP, SLOW ,CAUTION, AND YEIL.D

  45. Thank You Very Much For Listening To Our Presentation, We Hope You Will Give It Some Thought And We Hope You Enjoyed It. Thanks from: Keleigh Thompson Tom Daras Brittany Wallace and Max Morin.

  46. More Student Presentations on Each Comprehensive Plan Category: Click Here – At bottom of page are some of last year’s presentations

  47. The Community’s Reaction Middle School students present vision for town's futureBy: Jennifer Swanson02/04/2005 After learning that the middle school students had been working on this project for only a few weeks, Sanetti said, "It's too bad what took you three weeks, took them three years."

  48. More Community’s Reaction Knotty Oak students share vision of Cov.ByJustin Sayles02/02/2005 John Flaherty, a representative for Grow Smart RI, had made a presentation to the class earlier in the year suggesting that towns such as Coventry could benefit from rehabilitating defunct mills, Mitchell said. Drawing on some of his ideas, the students made their own plans for the old industrial buildings. "They see what we see," Sanetti said. "I felt like the future of Coventry is in good hands."

  49. Even More Community’s Reaction Smart Growth e-BriefsNews and Tools for People Shaping Our CommunitiesFebruary 2005 Under the direction of social studies teacher Ted Mitchell, students at the Knotty Oak Middle School wrapped up a 6-week town planning project by presenting their findings to members of the Coventry Town Council and Planning Board. Town Council Vice President Richard Senetti said the group was not only impressed with the students' creative vision, but also their intuition. He said the Town Council had been discussing at least three of the issues raised by the students within the last 36 hours. Using the town's Comprehensive Plan, the seventh graders mapped out solutions for issues such as growth, traffic, economic development, vacant mill space, recreation and future school needs. "They actually developed a lot of creative ideas that were discussed as part of a presentation by Grow Smart staffer John Flaherty earlier in the year", according to Mitchell.

  50. Post Presentation Activities: • Peer Evaluation – Students assess each other’s contribution to the group. • Group Reflection Prompt: What were some of the positive and negative aspects of working with your group? If you could change anything about the project, what would it be? Explain in detail. • Project Reflection Prompt: Given your presentations and Town Council member, Richard Sannetti’s remarks, would you now want to live in Coventry the rest of your life? Why or Why not?