• The Portfolio of Mike Dunn

    Facilitating innovative teaching and learning experiences.

    Merging Media and the Social Studies Classroom: A portfolio of project work highlighting technology that enhances learning for reluctant students.

    Social studies instructors are poised with a complex mission of preparing their students to be competent, active, informed decisions makers in an increasingly interconnected world. They are challenged by layers of challenging content to master and shifts in teaching and learning paradigms that emphasize literacy and numeracy at their core.
    As a result, it is imperative that social studies teachers must work to become purveyors of 21st century teaching practices. Some of this includes shift in pedagogical thought, but some also includes the leveraging of digital tools to increase authenticity, and engagement, while offering alternative input and output options for students.
    This portfolio is a collection of student artifacts that showcase some possibilities of 21st century teaching and learning in a social studies classroom. More specifically, this portfolio also focuses on the use of digital tools to encourage literacy and content mastery skills for students who are reluctant learners.
  • Stop Animation and Global Explorers

    A research, writing, and film project about the explorers from the 1500s.

    Global Explorers, Geography, and Stop Animation

    This project was completed with 10th grade students studying Modern World History. Unit instructional goals:
    • Compile multiple relevant primary and secondary resources.
    • Construct a research-based narrative piece of writing.
    • Demonstrate strong command of world geography knowledge.
    • Practice storyboarding and visual planning skills.

    Vasco de Gama

    Hernan Cortes


    Henry Hudson

    Ferdinand Magellan

    Hernan Cortes

    Jacques Cartier

    Henry Hudson

  • The Civil Rights Movement Hexagon Project

    A project exploring the interconnected efforts of Civil Rights leaders and organizations.

    Research, Writing, and Art About the Civil Rights Movement

    This project was completed by 11th grade students in a Modern American History course. After an intensive thematic presentation on the basics of the Civil Rights movement, students were tasked with researching key people and organizations to the movement's success. Captured here are sample research podcasts, and final image of the completed and installed art piece.
    Unit instructional goals:
    • Using primary and secondary sources, develop a historical portrait of the importance of specifically research person/organization.
    • Construct multiple research-based essays that can be translated into a 1-2 minute informational podcasts.
    • Visualize the thematic interconnectedness of actors in the Civil Rights movement.
    Complete Hexagon Installment

    Completed Project Installation

    Hexagons are used to represent the interconnected nature of Civil Rights actors.
    QR codes can be scanned by viewers' mobile devices to provide access to research podcasts recorded and produced by students.
    Art Medium: Hexagons are made of 1/4 inch sheets of birch; Acrylic paint; Various print and collaged images; Decoupage.

    Project Introduction

    Research Highlight: Rosa Parks

    Research Highlight: Freedom Riders

    Research Highlight: CORE

  • The History of New Orleans

    Projects highlighting the history of the great city of New Orleans.

    Using Critical Thinking and Minecraft

    This series of projects was completed by students in 11th/12th grade in a History of the Mississippi River course. After studying the river and its impact on American culture for the year and completing a curricular exploration of New Orleans, students were tasked with representing various aspects of their learning using multimedia.
    Unit instructional goals:
    • Using multiple primary and secondary resources, develop a media project demonstrating critical thinking of key historical and modern issues surrounding the Mississippi River.
    • Present critical analysis of research using multimedia tool or series of tools.

    Solving Crime in NOLA

    A video completed by a team of students addressing the issue of crime in New Orleans post hurricane Katrina. Students developed a plan for progress including select elements of interview, data, and critical examination of the issue of crime.

    Early NOLA Using Minecraft 1

    Early NOLA Using Minecraft 2

  • Presentations of Learning

    Authentic, reflective presentations given by students as culminating examinations of learning.

    Using Presentations as Alternative Assessments

    Before intensive talk of the value of high-stakes testing, Presentations of Learning (POLs or Exhibitions) were garnering support as authentic, student-specific, reflective evidence of learning. Found here are examples of the authenticity that is a reality when POLs are implemented effectively. For further reading on POLs, check the following articles: (1), (2), (3), (4).

    POL Introduction

    Created by a 10th grade student as an intro to a final exam alternative.

    Final POL by CB

    Presented by a 10th grade student in spring of 2014.

    Final POL by TK

    Presented by a 10th grade student in spring of 2014.

    2nd Trimester POL by MR

    Presented by a student in the spring of 2010.

    1st Trimester POL by JM

    Presented by a student in the spring of 2010.
  • Other Easter Eggs

    Project bits and pieces collected over the years.

    Greek Mythology

    Created by 9th grade students studying Greek myths.

    Greek Mythology

    Created by 9th grade students studying Greek myths.

    Greek Mythology

    Created by 9th grade students studying Greek myths.

    Civil War Reconstruction

    Created by an 8th grade student studying American Reconstruction.

    Google Earth Geography

    Using Google Earth to demonstrate geographical knowledge.

    Google Earth Geography

    Using Google Earth to demonstrate geographical knowledge.

    Art History - Impressionism

    An introduction to Impressionism created by a 10th grade student studying Art History.

    The Mongol Empire

    A brief overview of the history of the Mongol Empire created by a 10th grade student studying the rise and fall of world empires.

    Early Humans - Information Podcast #1

    Informational podcasts produced by 9th grade students surrounding the evolution of early humans.

    Early Humans - Informational Podcast #2

    Informational podcasts produced by 9th grade students surrounding the evolution of early humans.
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  • About Mike Dunn

    Mike Dunn is a teacher, college counselor, and coach. For the past decade plus, Mike has worked to construct meaningful experiences for students both inside and outside the classroom. Hailing from the great city of Detroit, Mike was the Service-Learning Teaching Fellow at Eagle Rock School in Estes Park, CO. He moved to Philadelphia in 2009 to be a founding member of El Centro de Estudiantes high school where he was a Big Picture advisor for disengaged learners.


    Mike currently advises students toward meaningful college prospects, and teaches courses at AIM Academy just outside of Philadelphia. He works with leading experts in education research-to-practice to design and deliver an innovative college-prep curriculum for students who struggle with language-based learning differences.


    When not in the classroom, you can find Mike snapping photos, coaching soccer, playing guitar, drinking coffee, and writing for The Educator's Room.

  • AIM Academy

    AIM Academy is an independent school located outside of Philadelphia. Established in 2006, AIM is a research-to-practice school for students in grades 1-12 who learn differently.

    Check Out AIM's Website
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