Making Curriculum Pop

Hello MC Poppers! By far the best idea I have taken from MCPOP is the connection I have made with Jeff Stanzler with University of Michigan Interactive Communications & Simulations.... I first heard about it in one of Ryan's 'week in review' posts that linked me here to a nice description of what was happening with ICS- They were starting a simulation using journals of two Americans teaching in China... my students were studying China in world History... what a match!

The ICS conducts simulations with schools around the US & world- the simulation works by having mentors from U of M- The mentors are Masters students who are all future teachers.

I jumped in with both feet and hoped for the best... Teh ICS folks are very flexible and friendly. We spent every Friday in the computer lab for almost ten weeks (plus some time on mon/tue when lab time was available) I could not have been happier with the results! My students were stoked to get on the computers and check out the responses they got from mentors and others- I was loving the fact that all 95 of my students were getting serviced on a one on one basis (from an adult) while I orchestrated it and clarified things for those who needed it.

FYI- Jeff Stanzler (who runs it) and the mentors were awesome! They took extra time to handle all questions and issues that came up and are still helping with my current project...

Currently, I am launching into another ICS project- my top academic students are participating in Place Out of Time simulation where they take on the role of a historical (or literary) character and interact with each other while discussing current political issues and each other. I can't wait to find out how it works- it is a great way to push my students to think more- especially the ones who crave it.

So, check out Ryan's old post or go straight to the ICS website- there is a lot more for us all to check out and make our curriculum pop. Enjoy!

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Comment by Jeff Stanzler on February 14, 2010 at 6:13pm
Thanks to Jeff O for the kind words.
I want to invite any and all of the McPOPpers to consider joining us for a 2009-2010 activity. Jeff has put in the link to our informational website. I should let you all know that in addition to the International Poetry Guild and the Arab-Israeli Conflict Simulation, we'll have a new Odyssey (exploring Turkey!) in the fall. Our traveler, Adam, is a teacher and a terrific writer who went to Turkey last summer on a Fulbright trip. We need some McPOP energy for the new Turkey Odyssey, so drop by our website or drop me a line if you want to find out more. Thanks...Jeff (
Comment by Jeff Osborn on February 9, 2010 at 3:53pm
I just finished asking my last class (who got the most out of it- no one had anything negative to say) and have included some more student comments:
"Helped us think in a different aspect about things"
"Helped teach us about the world"
"See different points of view"
"interacting with others (mentors) and their ideas"
"Understand how life might be in another place"
Comment by Jeff Osborn on February 9, 2010 at 1:01pm
I decided to ask my students today what they thought about the Eath Odyssey program we did- most had positive things to say (see below)- but some reluctant readers had difficulty doing it- they are the ones I spent the most time with. here are the words of my 7th grade students:
"I loved it! It was a fun activity to learn a different country"
"It showed how things are in another country"
"A great way to show our ideas"


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