Issue 4
February 1999













Editorial Staff: 
David Lloyd
Gail Mann 
Ellen Serfaty 
Ann Shlapobersky
Renee Wahl

Jack Pillemer shares with us how he developed The Millennium Project and how it is being used; including links to the work of fellow cyberspace colleagues who have prepared similar projects or adapted this one.

The Millennium Project

by Jack Pillemer 


This is a project for high level Grade XI, Grade XII and English Speakers. It can be found at http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Olympus/7726/millintro.html

During the year 1998,  I noticed that Time Magazine was devoting a number of issues to influential people who helped shape the twentieth century. These issues contained two-page articles on a wide variety of movers and shakers from Mao to Mandela,James Joyce to Jim Henson. 

I selected about thirty of these articles, placed them in plastic folders and created a project for my students at the Mae Boyar High School in Jerusalem. 

The project requires the student to:

  •  choose one of the influential personalities and read the relevant article
  •  deal with vocabulary
  •  select quotations from the article
  •  explain terms and concepts
  •  do further research
  •  give an oral presentation
  •  reflect on their learning process 
  •  and finally, evaluate their own achievement. 
The student task page that details these requirements can be found at
http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Olympus/7726/milltaskpage.html

After introducing the idea of the approaching end to the century (and the millennium) with an interesting reading passage, I moved the class into the library to work on the project. Students worked there for the next three lessons. I brought in my own dictionaries, as their own dictionaries were sometimes not good enough. I allowed students who were working on the same article to read together. My role during these lessons was to help with particularly difficult vocabulary/expression and help the students find suitable terms for further research. Some needed to be encouraged past the first stage, as the Time articles seem quite daunting at first. 

I set a date for the project to be handed in, plus the oral presentation for about a week and a half after they had begun. Students were given the choice of presenting before the class, or presenting on a cassette which they handed in. About 50% chose a live audience, and this took a little more than one double period.

Recently I discovered that these Time Magazine essays are available on-line and this enables others to use the project. The articles can be found at http://cgi.pathfinder.com/time/time100/index.html 
They can be printed, put into folders and given to the students. 

If your students have internet access, they can go directly to the site and choose their essays on their own. If students use the computer for the entire project, the task page could include a Power Point presentation to accompany the oral presentation 

The project can certainly be changed and adapted to suit individual needs.  Sue Kerman, a fellow teacher at Boyar, has adapted and changed the project slightly. She simplified the task page, dropped the oral requirement, created a separate reflection page and allocated points differently. You can find her task page at http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Olympus/7726/suetask.html

It is interesting to note that the studentsí response to the project has by and large been very positive. Their reflection on their work has revealed that giving students a choice increases motivation. Their motivation also increased as a result of a change in classroom routine. Some felt that they had learned vocabulary, others research skills, others general knowledge and others were excited by the fact that the project had "forced" them to use the internet--a resource they were not very familiar with. 

After posting the project on the ETNI list I received quite a lot of e-mail detailing similar projects: 
 

If you are on the net and have a moment, stop by and take a look at the site I have created in order to share and receive ideas for English teaching.  You will find it at: http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Olympus/7726/index.html
 

Jack Pillemer
jackpil@barak-online.net