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Every day you will be assigned a series of tasks to complete. This is your project, you must work on managing your time.

Remember that we must be constantly working towards our goal of solving the problem.

If you find a good resource during our research be sure to share the resource with me.


Stage 1: Researching the Problem

***At the end of your research you will be writing a research paper explaining the situation to a reader with zero background information. If you answer these questions well - the paper will be much easier to write.

Your paper will need to 
  • Provide a complete description of the situation and the problem.
  • Explain who is involved? 
    • Be specific with the names and the roles/jobs 
  • Explain all necessary background information;
    • Define all terms
    • provide the history of information
    • past projects/situations that are relevant 
  • Describe why the problem is important to research and solve?
  • Answer the question what could happen if the problem goes unfixed?
  • Report on the question how does the community feel about the problem?
  • Outline a brief description of the current policy 
  • Prove this a problem that should be handled by the government

Task 0: (Week 1: Goal Date: 01.10.14)
  • Create a Google Doc
  • Title your Google Doc your "first initial last name Project Citizen Notes"
  • Ex = CHull Project Citizen Notes
  • Share your document with your teacher (chull@nssd112.org)

You will answer ALL future tasks in the Google Doc created. Each individual must have their own document for notes. Do not share your document with other classmates.

Double check that Mr. Hull has received your Google Doc. This is a one point assignment.

Task 1: (Week 1: Goal Date: 01.10.14)

  • In your Google Doc answer the following questions:
    • Define safety - be sure to explain where you found this definition.
    • Define security - be sure to explain where you found this definition.
    • Find a quote about the importance of safety - possibly even the importance of safety for children.
Task 2: (Week 1: Goal Date: 01.10.14)
  • What is school safety?
    • Read this article - What is school safety? - and summarize the roles each individual plays.
      • Students
      • Teachers
      • Parents
      • Administrators
      • Districts
      • Others
Task 3: (Week 1: Goal Date: 01.10.14)
  • Some people like to research - however - with Google research has become less of an investigation. Google has created a challenge for those who want to investigate questions without just asking Google. I want you to simply try this challenge and see what you think.

  • Visit "A Google a day" challenge - read and try one of the challenges without cheating.
  • You do not have to write down anything for this task - simply go through one of the Google A Day Challenges.
This year I am hoping to help you learn how to research. Remember discount double check all your information.

Task 4: (Week 1: Goal Date: 01.10.14)

Often it is best to work backwards when researching a problem. That is why we are going to research why school safety and security is an important topic to solve.

Answer the question: why is school safety and security an important topic to solve?


***Research: When asked to research what does that mean? This is a difficult question to answer. Research always requires consuming information - this could be by reading information or watching a video or listening to an interview. The key to research is to remember that you are gathering information that will help with your final task: for this part of the project that is writing a paper. When I research I consume the information and also take short hand notes by writing the article title and source followed by a series of bullet points. The bullet points are key information I think will help me create a successful paper - these could be statistics, or facts, or even ideas that the information sparked in my own head. In addition you could write down questions that you know have. Remember be honest - do you have any questions? Do you need anything clarified or further explained?

A good resource to illustrate our districts commitment to school safety is "Message from Dr. Behlow about School Safety and Tips for Talking to Children"

Task 5: (Weekend 1: Goal Date: 01.13.14)
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Stop - Listen - Think

Reflection is important to learning. We must all look to evaluate the process as we are learning. This will help us learn how to best solve our problem.

Cross check your definition of school safety with mine. My definition of school safety: "School safety includes plans and policies to ensure students and faculty are aware of what to do during natural disasters, threats of danger, and to ensure community well being during school hours."

School safety includes the following areas:
  • Playground/sport safety (concussions)
  • Fire drill safety
  • Tornado drill safety
  • Science safety
  • Emotional and social safety (bullying)
  • Building safety (lockdown drills)
  • Internet/iPad safety in school
Task 6: (Week 2: Goal Date: 01.17.14)

Do you have any questions? (If you do not - simply write Task 6: No.) 

Task 7: (Week 2: Goal Date: 01.17.14)

In your Google Drive:
  • Define: Reflection
  • Define: Learning
  • Can there be different stages of learning?
    • Are there different levels of learning? 
    • Can you provide examples of different levels?
    • What separates the people in each level?
Do you learn more from success or failure?

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Task 8: (Week 2: Goal Date: 01.17.14)
  • Find a resource that you believe is important
  • Read your resource and follow the format below to summarize your resource.
  • Article Summary Format (in your Google Drive):
    • Title of your resource: 
      • ex. "How To Improve School Safety"
    • Link to resource: 
    • Summary or Synopsis (answer the basic questions who, when, where, what, and why? (Do not answer how because the connection is a clear)
    • Review the resource you found: was the article helpful? was the article fun to read? Rate it out of 10?
      • ex. This video is helpful and great because you get different peoples perspectives and simple ways to improve school security. I would rate the article 10/10. Everyone should watch this because you will learn more than you knew before which is really helpful.
BE SURE TO SHARE ANY GOOD RESOURCES YOU FIND WITH ME. THANKS.

Task 9: (Week 2: Goal Date: 01.17.14)

In your Google Drive:

Define: the word role
  • What is the role of a student in learning?
  • What is the role of teachers in learning?
  • What is the role of administrators in learning?
Answer the questions below in your Google Drive based upon your opinion if you want help or information please check out this site here:
  • What is discovery learning?
  • What is learning through reflection?
  • What is learning through dialogue?
  • What way do you prefer to learn?
Overview Task 10: (Week 2: Goal Date: 01.17.14)

Let us review the key goals of Project Citizen:
  • Consume Information
    • Learn to research
  • Produce and Communicate Information
    • Learn to persuade
    • Learn to write informational papers
    • Learn to read visuals
    • Learn to create action plans
    • Learn to build a website
  • Evaluate Information
    • Learn to test feasibility
  • Learn the role of citizens
  • Feel empowered
  • Learn to read, write and think critically and independently
Discussion: Do you have any questions? At the end of the project we should be able to cross off each goal. Questions are key. Write for Task 10 any questions you have.

Task 11: (Week 2: Goal Date: 01.17.14)

Research is time consuming and difficult. If it were easy it would already be completed. Remember "to learn is an action that requires effort."

  • What is student voice?
    • What are the strengths of a student voice?
    • What are the weaknesses of a student voice?
  • How often do you get into heated discussions or debates?
    • How do you win an argument/debate?

Thought Provoking Optional Task: (Week 2: Goal Date: 01.17.14)

Balance between safety/security and freedom - this social studies essential question is my favorite.

  • Where is a place we give up freedom for security?
  • Describe why this concept is important -
Many movies are about this topic - V for Vendetta (rated R - too mature) examines this role of government.

*In your Google Drive answer:
  • What is an Op-Ed piece?
  • Why are Op-Ed pieces dangerous?
  • Why are Op-Ed pieces powerful?
Additional BONUS (Optional Task) :

Read an article (or many) that investigate the topic of security vs freedom:


Week 2 Check In Task: (Week 2: Goal Date: 01.17.13)

In an email to chull@nssd112.org OR by raising your hand -
  • What questions do you still have about the project?
  • What information do you believe you need to gather before becoming an expert on the topic?

Task 13: (Week 3: Goal Date: 01.24.14)

Descriptive writing is an important component in writing and more importantly persuasive writing.

When evaluating and reflecting your work - examine your answers to the basic questions. Be sure your answers are all descriptive. The next step is being comprehensive AND concise. Work to make your writing better through the writing process.
  • Where is this situation taking place? 
    • If you answer simply Elm Place - is that descriptive?
    • If you answer Elm Place Middle School in Highland Park - is that descriptive enough?
    • How can we add further specifics to our description of Elm Place - What are the populations at Elm Place? How many students attend Elm Place? How many teachers? When was it built?
  • Sites that can help you find more descriptive specifics about Elm Place
Sample answer:
Elm Place Middle School located north of Chicago at 2031 Sheridan Rd Highland Park Il is a sixth through eighth grade suburban school with 474 students and 43 teachers. 

Task 14: (Week 3: Goal Date: 01.24.14)
In your Google Drive answer:
  • Who is involved in this situation? List the names of the people involved at Elm Place.
    • Teachers?
    • Students?
    • Administration?
    • Superintendent?
***Remember to define each groups role and be highly descriptive

Task Discount Double Check Google Search Knowledge:

Check out the infographic "Get More out of Google" then click where the box where it says "Get More out of Google"

Answer in your Google drive:
  • Copy 3 Google Search hints from the site
  • Do you use any of these Google Search hints already?
  • Did Mr. Hull teach Google Search before?

Task 15: (Week 3: Goal Date: 01.24.14)
In your Google Drive answer:
  • When is this situation occurring?
    • The 7th grade social studies project is occurring during the 2013 2014 academic year.
We also need to describe how often Project Citizen occurs and what Project Citizen is.
Copy the following into your Google Drive:

"Mr. Hull has had his class participate in Project Citizen for the past 7 years. His predecessor, Cheryl Levi, also participated in Project Citizen. Project Citizen is a five step process that relies on effort and teamwork. Each class works cooperatively to identify a public policy problem in their community. They then research the problem, evaluate alternative solutions, develop their own solution in the form of a public policy, and create a political action plan to enlist local or state authorities to adopt their proposed policy."


Task 16: (Week 3: Goal Date: 01.24.14)
In your Google Drive answer:

We need to investigate the current policies of Elm Place surrounding the following concepts but first describe your understanding of the rules for each bullet point BEFORE you research
  • Playground/sport safety (concussions)
  • Fire drill safety
  • Tornado drill safety
  • Science safety
  • Emotional and social safety (bullying)
  • Building safety (lockdown drills)
  • Internet/iPad safety in school
Task 17: (Week 3: Goal Date: 01.24.14)

We need to be able to describe the situation clearly for the "what" basic question.

Summarize and provide a description with key research for the topics below (see Mr. Hull to discover how many topics you must cover)

***After you finish two topics check in with Mr. Hull before advancing to task 18.

Task 18: (Week 3: Goal Date: 01.24.14)

Understanding the current policy. Often times the policies created to stop a problem are difficult to understand. This is a very difficult task, YOU MUST take your time, read carefully and ask questions.

  • Local Current Policy
    • Concussion protocol
      • What happens if you hit your head at PE, recess, or during a sport/activity?
      • Are there any papers or forms you have to sign?
    • Fire drill safety
      • Who knows the fire drill procedures?
      • Where are the fire drill procedures located?
      • How often do we have fire drills?
    • Tornado drill safety
      • Who knows the tornado drill procedures?
      • Where are the tornado procedures located?
      • How often do we have tornado drills?
      • How often does Illinois have tornados?
    • Science safety
      • How often do you take the science security test?
      • How much does the science safety test help you prepare?
    • Emotional and social safety (bullying)
      • We will wait to analyze this question for a task or two
    • Building safety (lockdown drills)
    • Internet/iPad safety in school
  • State Current Policy
  • Federal Current Policy
    • Homeland Security's School Safety Page - ""To enhance school safety, the Department of Homeland Security offers funding, training, and resources for efforts such as providing money for emergency preparedness, training school bus drivers in security and hardening school buildings’ vulnerability."
Week 3 Check In Task: (Week 3: Goal Date: 01.24.13)

In an email to chull@nssd112.org OR by raising your hand -
  • What questions do you still have about the project?
  • What information do you believe you need to gather before becoming an expert on the topic?
Bonus Task:
In your Google Drive:
Discussion Task as a Class: (at some point during Week 3 we will discuss these questions)
In your Google Drive write brief notes for the following question
  • How/why can students read, investigate, and learn about a topic yet act differently in reality?
  • What is the difference between policy and reality?
  • What is the job of the school?
  • Whose responsibility is it to learn?
Has Bullying stopped at Elm Place? For 3 years this topic has been investigated with several policies put in place do you see a difference?

Task 19 : (Week 3: Goal Date: 01.24.13)

In your Google Drive:

  • Define what a PSA (Public Service Announcement)
  • Find a PSA about one school safety topic of interest - remember search using specific word choice
    • For each video answer the follow questions
      • Summary
        • Who is in the video?
        • When does the video take place?
        • Where does the video take place?
        • What happens in the video?
      • Use the 4 questions above to write a synopsis of the video as if you were talking to a 6 year old in 19 words or less 
      • What was effective about the video? (These are the good things...) 
      • What was ineffective about the video? (These are the bad things...) 
      • What would you change about the video? (If I were the director I would...) 
      • What rating would you give the video and why? (1 for very poor to 10 for excellent; remember to provide evidence for your rating)
Task 20:
Research and find any additional articles you need to explain the problem. Fill in any gaps you may have.

Final Task - Stage 1 - Due 02.07 (if you work hard 02.10 or if you are perfect 02.14)

Write your research paper describing the school safety situation at Elm Place.


You may need to do additional research as you write your paper to fill in gaps.

Random Sites:

Bonus interview an expert must schedule with Mr. Hull: (3 Rec Points)

  • Mr. Shilkus
  • Mrs. Fiore
  • Mr. Schroeder

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Stage 2 and 3: Brainstorming and evaluating possible solutions

Optional Task: (Bonus)

Today we will begin to work on brainstorming by examining a few websites - hopefully these last few tasks will help us create solutions to solve the problem at Elm Place

See the links at the bottom of the page for the current Elm Place concussion policies.

Task A. Understanding Evaluation and Assessment

  • Define evaluation
  • Define assessment
  • Why should we assess Elm Place school safety?
  • How can we evaluate Elm Place school safety?
Are there checklists for us to use to help our evaluation?

Task B. Understanding Feasibility

Copy this and then re-write in your own words in your Google Drive Notes:

Feasibility is a complicated term and concept that can be easier understood if you breakdown the word into three parts

  1. F = funding; this is aspect examines the cost of the idea. Predicting with evidence the amount of money the idea would cost.
  2. easi = easy/difficult; this examines the complexity of the solution. Predicting how complicated or easy to do the idea would be.
  3. bility = ability; this identifies how successful the solution would be if implemented. Predicting how effective the concept would be.

Task C. Brainstorming and evaluating your solutions

Step 1 to Task C: Brainstorm ways to solve the problem. These are your ideas that will help fight the problem. Create a list of possible ideas to solve the problem. You should have a lengthy list.

Step 2 to Task C: Begin to evaluate the solutions that have been brainstormed.

To evaluate solutions you must complete the following questions in your Google Doc.

  1. Title of your solution:             
  2. A description of the possible solution (write in complete sentences – be detailed with specifics)                                                           
  3. What are the advantages for the possible solution (list as many advantages as you can)
    •  
    •  

  4. What are the disadvantages for the possible solution (list as many disadvantages as you can)                   
    •  
    •  
    •  
  5. Is the solution constitutional? (does the solution break any current laws?) (Use "Legal Issues and Laws Relating to School Safety" for help)
6. What is the feasibility of each of your solutions? Research to support and explain all of your answers                                                                                
a. Analyze the cost ($$$)
b. How effective would the plan be? (+ / -)
c. How easily/difficult would the problem be to implement? (E / d)


Task D: Considering outside solutions:
  • Can you find other schools or states policies that are well received or perceived?
  • Can we use these as models for Elm Place? 
  • What features/policies should we try to bring to Elm Place?
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Christopher Hull,
Jan 29, 2013, 7:35 AM
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Christopher Hull,
Jan 29, 2013, 7:35 AM
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