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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. We started 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


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


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 attend the
lunch as the chaperone/driver for all the students.
Links to project outcomes: Keys for Success:

YouTube - Tagged MEMSTeam4 Ask a compelling question

TeacherTube - Tagged MEMSTeam4 Organize a variety of engaging

Local Newspaper Article on Power of
One Empower the students to tell a story

Embedded resources Challenge the students to have a voice

Grading Rubric
Challenges: In class resources:

130 students choosing 130 different Access to the computer lab- equipped
topics with video editing software - 2 weeks
Limited recording resources Projector in classroom and lab

Technological glitches (server issues, 'Recording' space-laptop, speakers,

disappearing folders) microphone

Script Writing in English class

(interdisciplinary collaboration)
Print Resources: Web Resources:

Ordinary Man Rwanda Trackstar

We Wish to Inform You That Power of One Trackstar

Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our
Families: Stories from Rwanda 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?

Water Buffalo Movie

My Blog Posts relevant to the project

Windows Movie Maker Tutorial