Monotony is found in classrooms all too often across America. Joplin High School sophomore Pre-AP Communication Arts teachers and students were facing the same dilemma. Consequently, teachers looked towards rigor and relevance, core elements of quality teaching. Students were assigned to write about something meaningful; something they could feel, touch, and see consistently. And something students could learn from that was close by and virtually untouched: the rich history of Southwest Missouri.
The fall of 2012, veteran communication arts teacher, Mrs. Kathleen Reiboldt and 21st Century Technology Coaches, Mr. Justin Crawford and Mrs. Rhonda Sloan started the project which is now known as Ozarkapedia. Combined, the three teachers have over forty years of traditional classroom training. “Ozarkapedia is both real-world and rigorous,” said Mrs. Rhonda Sloan. “In creating the Ozarkapedia unit, we wanted to give the students an appreciation for their Ozark’s heritage, but also give them a taste of the publishing world.” According to Sloan, Joplin High School teachers are working to bring together all the elements of quality teaching, which include: Rigor and Relevance, Quadrant D work and the 4C’s of 21st Century Learning, (Creativity, Collaboration, Communication, Critical Thinking.)
In a nutshell, here is the idea. Teachers wanted to bring the 19th century to the 21st century via the web and in an interdisciplinary project based lesson with authenticity. The lesson project was based off of the Foxfire Magazine. Students were instructed to research the lost arts and historical value of Southwestern Missouri and combine their findings into articles in a wiki format, much like the popular website Wikipedia. Real world skills would be the centerpiece of focus when bringing community together through a common goal of historical preservation.
The publication is run and edited by students; there are four levels of editors within the program.
The following is a brief description of the tiers of editorial staff:
The following are the steps for implementation:
For more information and questions, educators can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org