JoAnn Jacobs is a sixth-grade social studies teacher at Mid-Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii. Entering her forty- second year, she looks forward to continuing learning with her students and members of her sixth-grade team and helping to make the world a better place.
I have known JoAnn for a long time as a colleague of a mutual friend, Melvina Kurashige. I met Melvina when I worked at Mid-Pacific Institute in 2010. Then I met JoAnn the next year at ISTE. Every year, I look forward to learning what JoAnn is doing with her kids. She eventually became a social studies teacher at MidPac and has written a guest post for me about the global projects they are doing. I know you will enjoy learning about the great projects her kids are doing. Below I added a few excerpts from the podcast.
Can you share about your life in Hawaii?
This is my 5th year teaching 6th grade social studies at Mid-Pacific Institute in Honolulu, Hawaii. I am blessed to have a great principal, Dr. Priester, who allows me to do what’s best for kids. We learn together and each year has been different and that’s solely due to the makeup of the group and their interests. My life here is very quiet. My husband and I have lived here for 33 years and enjoy being at home and spending time with our rescue dog, Tommy.
What I love about you JoAnn is your passion for encouraging your kids to have a voice in their learning. Why is voice important?
It comes down to who’s learning, is it? If I’m in control than it belongs to me. If the kids don’t own it then what makes it memorable? They’re told to look for their passion but if they don’t get to explore what is meaningful to them how will they ever find their passion?
6th graders sharing their personal interests with classmates
The word for MPI Middle this year is “Unity” – the fantastic 6th graders came up with a great definition and illustration.
You wrote a blog post for my site last November on Global Awareness and projects your kids did around that. Can you explain that project?
There are six teachers in our pod and our big idea for the fourth quarter was Global Connections. I found the UN Global Goals #SDG6 #GlobalGoals and worked from there. Students were interested in the Goals and Researching the countries and their issues.
They then developed a product or a way to bring awareness to the issue. These products were sold at school during lunchtime and the funds were donated to the charity of their choice which they had also researched. Each teacher took part in this project since all areas of the curriculum were a part of it.
For more on project, go to Following the Path to Global Awareness
What other projects did you do with your kids that you would like to share?
Some other projects we have done are Biomes which included the biome being recreated in PE with an obstacle course and then taking the physical course and recreating it in Minecraft. Students also read and research about a famous person of their choice and created their life story with symbols and researched Nobel Peace Prize winners and then spoke about whether or not the person deserved the prize.
6th graders are digging into the #ClimateActionp so excited to be a part of the group!
What are you planning for this coming year?
My tentative plans for this year are the Global Goals and Digital Citizenship. I’ll be working with Bronwyn Joyce @JoyceBronwyn in Australia as far as the goals and working with Marialice Curran with Digital Citizenship. I’ll also be attending the DigCit Summit in Utah in November. We’ll be using Flipgrid and I’m excited about that. Below is an example of a Global Classroom project, “Global I am.. Poems” using Flipgrid.
From Bronwyn Joyce: Students prepare a personal poem that combines their individuality, their thoughts for the future and their connections to the world. Use the graphic organizer to guide your students thinking. https://t.co/7R7lW13OAJ
Is there anything else you would like to share with our audience?
Always make the learning about your students and learn along with them. Those relationships you create will be what they remember.
JoAnn Jacobs is a sixth-grade social studies teacher at Mid-Pacific Institute in Honolulu, Hawaii. Entering her forty- second year, she looks forward to continuing learning with her students and members of her sixth-grade team and helping to make the world a better place.
Mid-Pacific Institute was established through the 1908 merger of Kawaiaha’o Seminary for Girls, founded in 1864, and Mills Institute for Boys, founded in 1892. For well over a century, Mid-Pacific Institute has been equipping its graduates with the knowledge, skills, and character necessary to achieve success not just in college, but in life itself.