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Power of One

Page history last edited by PBworks 15 years, 4 months ago


Power of One Project


Basic Idea: Teaching about genocide is a daunting task, especially with middle school students.  During the month of January we started down the path of study about genocide.  Starting with the general definition of genocide and the major events of history involving genocide.  Following that introduction, we moved into the story specifically about Rwanda and of Paul Rusesabagina.  I couldn't seem to come to terms with the fact that we would study this story and fixate on the negativity of it all.  I then devised a project that would take this very dark chapter from history and focus on the power of one person within the event to use their life to positively impact the lives of others.  It seems like such a simple realization, but one that transformed this project from good to effective and powerful.



October- Received information about the opportunity to attend a Paul Rusesabagina speaking event at a local high school.

December- Planning for the project, collecting resources, planning the project and making arrangements for having 130 students attend the event.

January- Week 1- Definition of genocide, brief overview of genocide past and present

January- Week 2- Investigating the history of Rwanda, events leading up to the genocide and American/World response, Paul Rusesabagina's story

January- Week 3 and 4 - Students chose a person that also has used his/her life to positively impact the lives of others.  This person could be famous or local, young or old, alive or dead, the only criteria was that the story of the person illustrates the positive impact on others.  Students then produced 'movies' with Windows Movie Maker that told the story, but also ended with statements of how the student plans to use his/her own life to positively impact the world.

January 28th- Paul Rusesabagina visits Flagstaff.  One member of the team is selected to join him for a lunch following the speaking event.  I also attended the lunch as the chaperone/driver for all the students.


Links to project outcomes:

YouTube - Tagged MEMSTeam4

TeacherTube - Tagged MEMSTeam4

Local Newspaper Article on Power of One

Embedded Resources

Grading Rubric 


Keys for Success:

Ask a compelling question

Organize a variety of engaging resources

Empower the students to tell a story

Challenge the students to have a voice



130 students choosing 130 different topics

Limited recording resources

Technological glitches (server issues, disappearing folders)


In Class resources:

Access to the computer lab- equipped with video editing software - 2 weeks

Projector in classroom and lab

'Recording' space-laptop, speakers, microphone

Script Writing in English class (interdisciplinary collaboration)


Web Resources:

Rwanda Trackstar

Power of One Trackstar

Rwanda: How the Genocide Happened

Through the Eyes of Children

Ghosts of Rwanda

NPR Interview with Paul Rusesabagina

Interview with Roman Dallaire

Rwanda: Hopes on the Horizon

Can Journalism Kill?

"Never Again" Lesson plans- ADL

Resources from the Martin-Spinger Institute

Water Buffalo Movie

My blog posts relevant to the project

Windows Movie Maker Tutorial


Print Resources:

Ordinary Man

We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda

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