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The Model Classroom Project, under the direction of the West Virginia Department of Education Office of Instruction, is focused on using the Teach 21 site http://wvde.state.wv.us/teach21/ to provide all West Virginia teachers access to online video clips that demonstrate quality student engagement within a 21st century context. The video clips are accompanied by a lesson plan and commentary from the featured teacher that targets the various strategies implemented as well as the integration of identified 21st century skills. This project will capture the student and teacher work across all content areas in 36 K-12 classrooms across the state. It is not enough to tell our teachers what they should be doing; we must provide them with examples that allow them to see what rigor, relevance and relationships look like in WV classrooms. This project is about WV teachers working with their local districts and the WVDE to build capacity for quality 21st century learning across the state
Participating teachers took part in the 2007 Teacher Leadership Institute and submitted applications to be selected as model classroom teachers. As part of the process, WVDE committed to providing each teacher with a $5,000 grant to purchase technology or materials they identified as necessary for creating the 21st century classroom described in their application. The teachers agreed to allow WVDE to film in their classrooms. We met with the 36 teachers to assist them in purchasing their requested items and to inform them of the filming process. We provided a lesson plan template based on the backward design process and shared the three essential questions for preparing the script for filming: What message do I want to convey to the viewer of the video? What type of student engagement do I want to show? What 21st century learning skills and/or tools will be featured? We also engaged the participants in a discussion related to quality filming (background noise, orientation of the room, lighting, preparation of students, etc.)
At this writing we have our first video clips and we have used them in several professional development sessions. They have been very effective in allowing teachers to see what 21st century instruction looks like. We will continue to video for the remainder of this school year and during first semester of 2008-2009.