Mississippi Connections

Connecting Your Classroom To The World

Telling the World About Your World

Back on the Mississippi - Hidden Trails, Offbeat Tales, is a one-hour television program debuting on PBS affiliates across the Upper Midwest in 2004. It will bring little-known stories about the people, places and events in this often-overlooked part of the country to a national audience.

Now, imagine telling a story about what makes your community special ... a story exploring how people, places and events have shaped - and perhaps have brought distinction or notoriety - to the place you call home.

Every neighborhood, town and city has interesting stories to tell. That's what Mississippi Connections is all about - inspiring students to uncover their communities' unique heritage and share its stories with the world through one of the most engaging and increasingly accessible media of the 21st century: video and television.

How It Works

Mississippi Connections provides educational resources for use with your school's existing multimedia tools. Using the television program as a model, students follow a step-by-step guide for researching, writing and producing their own video program(s). As a result, your students become engaged in the exciting process of discovering and sharing stories about their community!

The initiative is multi-disciplinary, encouraging investigation of scientific, cultural, economic and environmental subjects to help tell the story.

Finished programs can be presented throughout the school, broadcast on local cable, shared with partner classrooms, entered into extracurricular academic programs such as Odyssey of the Mind and History Day, and could even be broadcast with others on a public television program now under development.

An exciting "On line Virtual Voyage" is also planned, engaging students in the process of discovering unique aspects of the Upper Mississippi region by navigating their own paddlewheeler up the river, uncovering interesting facts and stories along the way, and building the foundation on which to start their own projects.

Who's Behind the Project

The non-profit initiative is being developed by Back on the Mississippi, LLC with support from Grand Excursion, Inc, the Minnesota Film & TV Board, and PBS affiliate television stations in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa. It is also being featured at the 2004 Minnesota Young Author's Conference.

The initiative is being led by Nicholas Cobbett, Enhanced Learning Coordinator for Gifted and Talented Students at Black Hawk Middle School in Eagan, Minnesota. Several key educational organizations are assisting, including Web design and television professionals, educators along the river, and Hamline University's Center for Global Environmental Education. A companion book called "Mississippi Escapades" (2004, Afton Historical Society Press, Afton, MN) further supports the Mississippi Connection initiative.

When It Will be Available

The initiative will be promoted both during the broadcast (timed to coincide with Grand Excursion 2004 in June and July) and directly to schools throughout the region during the 2004-2005 school year. The initiative will also serve as a model when the television program is broadcast in other markets during 2005.

How Educators Can Participate

Interested in joining our team? Want to learn more about using the initiative in your school or classroom? Please contact us at info@backonthemississippi.com