Friday, February 26, 2016

The Broadcasting Class

I don't just get to teach Social Studies.

I get to teach an elective.  The beauty of this is that, within reason, I can make that class what I want it to be.  For the last two years it has been a broadcasting class.

In this class I attempt to have students create various media projects that are then shared throughout the community.   I attempt to teach the students what makes a "good" project.  And then they did. My first semester group of 7th and 8th graders created an awesome virtual tour of newly renovated spaces in the middle school.  Check that out here.  That received some pretty awesome attention throughout the community and the architect company who designed the spaces.

Second semester started with a whole new group of kids ready to top what the last batch created. They were approached by our Inventions and Innovations teacher to create a presentation highlighting Cheney's first year success and struggles of implementing STEM and Engineering by Design curriculum.  No big deal right?


She is getting on a plane on Monday to present to the International Technology Engineering Educators Association Conference, our video being part of that presentation.

The catch?

These kids pulled this video off in SIX class periods.  43 minutes of class time every-other-day. (We are on a block schedule and electives occur in half-blocks in the afternoon, but still follow the every-other-day pattern.)  This is the vast majority of February.

The lack of time was my fault.  When I was told the presentation needed to be done by the 29th, I just assumed she meant March.

It's a Leap Year.  She meant February 29th.

So in six class periods, my students interviewed teachers, took pictures, edited video, and worked their little tails off to get this done.  WITH A DAY TO SPARE!!!

So...Here it is:

What exactly did I, the teacher, do to help this?  Not much...

  • On the introduction, I wrote the script.  We used an app called Adobe Voice.  I love it!  If you are an iPad user, check it out.  It's awesome!   I assigned two 8th grade students to edit and change whatever they wanted on anything with that video, except the script.
  • Students had to create small parts of the video and then email them to me separately.  In order for this to work, the videos all had to be less than one minute.  I helped do small editing techniques in order to get everything to fit.
  • I told them to redo things.  Over, and over, and over again.  They were sick of coming in and me saying "sorry to do this to you, but that wasn't good enough and I need you to fix it."
  • I pulled a few kids in during study halls and teacher-aid times in order to work "overtime" on parts of the project that were taking longer.
  • Continued to nag and hound them with the reminder that this is real life.  We have been essentially "hired" to create this presentation and it has to be GOOD!  

Talk about preparing kids for the "working world."  Create a presentation over a topic you may not fully understand, you have a date that is has to be done, some of you will have to put in overtime, some of your "co-workers" may not work as hard as you, you will disagree, your "boss" (me) will criticize it and tell you it's not good enough.  

When they finished an sat in the room watching the final presentation there was a since of relief that it was done, but more so PRIDE.  They were proud of what they accomplished in a short amount of time, and they love that their work will be shared with others.  

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