Jennifer Dobbie, a three-year teacher at Isbell Middle School was recently awarded an Impact II grant from the Ventura County Office of Education. Dobbie gets a check for $500. Impact II is part of a national curriculum-sharing and recognition program for teachers kindergarten through 12th grade.
Isbell teacher receives Impact II grant
May 21, 2014
Santa Paula News
Jennifer Dobbie, a three-year teacher at Isbell Middle School was recently awarded an Impact II grant from the Ventura County Office of Education.
Dobbie gets a check for $500. Impact II is part of a national curriculum-sharing and recognition program for teachers in kindergarten through 12th grade. The Ventura County IMPACT II program is a partnership between Local businesses and organizations. The County Education Office funds the day-to-day operations of IMPACT II, so contributions go directly to teachers and classrooms for student projects.
Teachers submit grant proposals about curriculum they have developed and used in the classroom. A committee, made up of teachers, administrators and business partners select the ideas for grants.
Dobbie’s grant proposal was entitled “Video Games and History: A Perfect Combination.” Dobbie said, “Meet your students where they’re at is the mantra we all heard in our credentialing programs, but over the years we have forgotten with the implementation of standards and assessments and expectations. But when you’re teaching 7th grade students with second and third grade reading levels, interrupted formal education and second language learners, you quickly realize all the stuff they want you to do is an enormous undertaking.”
When creating this unit she wondered how could she meet the students where they are and at the same time teach them about the civilizations of Central and South America? She knew one activity that captures the attention of kids is video games, so she decided to bring the video games to the classroom.
She began breaking the students into groups and told them that they would be creating a video game based on three civilizations. “You would have thought I told them they were all going to Disneyland,” she said.
Following the new Common Core Standards, she required her students to provide textual evidence of understanding through the game play of their portion of the video game. This included who the characters were and what tasks they must perform in order to successfully complete their portion of the game. The students were given access to books containing information about their city and they were allowed to use computers outside of class to do further research.
“As the days went on you could see how engaged the students were,” she noted. “It was like a fire had been lit inside them for learning and creating. It was great to see how they really depended on one another’s strengths.”
The next phase of the project was to create a 3-D model of their city on a giant board. She added, “The final phase was to present and this is when my mouth dropped open. Each and every group came up and explained how their portion of the game worked, how it related to their civilization’s religion, culture and history and they did it with no notes.”
She noted that one great discovery she made about this project was that it can be used for a variety of topics and subjects. She said her students will be doing this project again when they study the renaissance.