Before leaving Middle School and entering the ninth grade, Savannah Country Day School students are required to complete a culminating interdisciplinary project. Over the years, the project has undergone several iterations: research, a debate, presentations that include interviews, etc. But this year, the 8th grade team took the students a step farther. Using Macintosh computers, camcorders, iMovie software, and other technology, the students are producing short films promoting awareness. Students explore local, national, and global issues, events, and concerns in depth and show their movies in their Film Festival, held Thursday, May 22nd from 1:00p.m.-3:00p.m.

The Awareness Project is carefully constructed to help students better understand themselves and the world around them. It empowers them to identify, explore, and sometimes develop solutions to real problems facing them and their community. The impact of visual images and background music has become a powerful tool for students to promote awareness of such hot-button issues as school shootings, eating disorders, and global warming. The students must be well versed in their topics so as to field questions from faculty following the presentations.

According to Middle School Principal Marcia Hull, “Inspired by the school’s goal to provide our students with skills necessary for success in the 21st century, we expanded the project to require an iMovie as the end product. In small group collaboration, students researched social issues affecting either our local community or the world. The iMovie technology offered a new vehicle for persuading their audience of the issue’s seriousness. The selected topics encourage not only critical and creative thinking, but promote ethical decision-making as well.”

Teachers will assess students on the accuracy of the information they include, as well as on their ability to transfer knowledge to new situations and to present their findings convincingly. Just as for students, the projects are a collaborative effort for 8th grade faculty as well; 8th grade teachers worked closely with the Educational Technology staff to guide the students through the research and movie-making process.

Multidisciplinary assignments like the Savannah Country Day Awareness Project move beyond the traditional separate-subject approach to early adolescent learning. The multidisciplinary method helps promote elusive skills like problem posing and solving. It also fosters the meaningful application of critical thinking skills.

Presentations will be held on Thursday, May 22nd from 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. in the Nina Anderson Pape Middle School building on the Savannah Country Day School campus. All students, parents, faculty, and media are welcome to attend.

Savannah Country Day School is a pre-k through twelve independent school that seeks to prepare students of academic and personal promise to meet with confidence, imagination, and integrity the challenges of college and of life. In partnership with supportive families, we strive to cultivate in each student the desire and the discipline to grow wise, to lead lives of personal honor, to appreciate beauty, to pursue physical well being, and to serve others with a generous and compassionate spirit. For more information about Savannah Country Day School, its mission, and its programs, please visit www.savcds.org.

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