Metuchen School Seeks Support For Its Follett Challenge Entry

METUCHEN –  A team from Edgar Middle School has applied to the Follett Challenge, a program run by Follett Library Resources to recognize and reward schools for their work applying technology, content and creativity in ways that engage students, foster literacy and promote critical thinking. More than 100 schools have entered, and six winning schools will be awarded with the cash-equivalent of a total of $200,000 worth of products and services.

As part of the competition, computer teacher Roseann Misrahi and Library Media Specialist Jane Brown created a short video about their graphic biography project. The video is now posted on the Follett Challenge website for the public to vote for their favorite school. Thirty percent of the school’s total score is determined by the number of votes its video receives.

Edgar Middle School’s graphic biography project is a literacy technology project for fifth grade students. Students build knowledge with a reliable first source (a book) and then use that knowledge to scaffold additional knowledge on the specific topic, the life of a famous person. Along the way, they are taught how to ask good questions to further refine their internet- based searches; helping them to find those extra bits of information without getting lost in a mound of noise.

Using Comic Life by Plasq, students move from acquiring knowledge to being story tellers by producing a biographical comic book. The comic books have visual clues and text playing off each other in a way that offers an engaging medium to share with classmates.

An example of a graphic biography project, courtesy of Edgar Middle School fifth grader Christopher Whittington

An example of a graphic biography project, courtesy of Edgar Middle School fifth grader Christopher Whittington

Follett created the Follett Challenge to reward innovation in schools. “There’s a lot of change happening in education and many challenges with the economy,” says Tom Schenck, president of Follett School & Library Group. “We want to reward educators with innovative ideas, who rise to the occasion through all the chaos using technology and new teaching techniques.”

The public will vote until March 18 for the school with the best video overview about their library program. Contest winners will be notified by April 5.

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