Freshman geography class project devises plan to end terrorism

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Step inside the world geography class at the new Innovation, Design, Entrepreneurship Academy at James W. Fannin, and you might be surprised by what you hear.

“OK. So, what are the major terrorist groups?” instructor Chazz Robinson asks.

“ISIS, Al Qaeda, and Boko Haram,” his ninth-grade world geography class answers in unison.

“Correct. Now, can anyone tell me the definition of a revolution?” Robinson replies.

Such serious conversations have been commonplace in Robinson’s classroom this month. Because the school is a personalized learning campus, which tailors curriculum to the students’ needs, Robinson decided to assign a month-long project on counterterrorism after hearing students ask questions on who was behind the recent terror attack in Paris.

“My goal is to expose them to the many different perspectives, expose them to different religions, different cultures and make sure they understand a full 360-degree view of it,” Robinson said.

Robinson asked the following question of students: “How do we as ninth-graders combat and prevent terrorism in the Middle East and northern Africa?” By the end of January, students will offer up a solution in a two-page essay.

Working in small groups, these students are being challenged to explore their critical-thinking skills to address this world issue.

“We’re coming up with our own strategies,” said Charizma Moore, a student helping lead project discussions in her small group. “Our group decided to put all of the terrorists responsible on an island so everyone else can be at peace.”

Though the issue is more complex than their solution, Moore said her experience in Robinson’s class is what she enjoys most about the personalized learning campus.

“He’s expanding our vocabulary; he’s expanding how we think; he’s expanding what we write about,” Moore said.

For those who might be interested in attending a school such as the Innovation, Design, Entrepreneurship Academy at James W. Fannin, the application window to apply to it or one of the district’s other three new Choice Schools is open through Jan. 29. The other three Choice Schools accepting applications are: D.A Hulcy STEAM Middle School, Mata Montessori, and the Solar Preparatory School for Girls at James B. Bonham.

Applications can be completed online at www.dallasisd.org/choice or picked up in person at the Dallas ISD Administration Building, 3700 Ross Ave., Room 102A; D.A. Hulcy STEAM Middle School, 9339 S. Polk St; Mata Montessori, 7420 La Vista Dr.; or the Innovation, Design, Entrepreneurship Academy at James W. Fannin, 4800 Ross Ave.

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