March 3, 2016
OVERVIEW OF THE DAY. We identified the core learning goals and unique features of the community documentary program at the Thompson Middle School and developed a realistic schedule and strategic plan that meets the needs of the students and teachers at TMS and enables the program to continue to thrive in 2016.
Morning. What’s wrong with Media Production as a Stand-Alone Class? We started by challenging the standard view that media production is taught as a stand-alone elective class. We discussed the idea of media production as a literacy practice that offers important cognitive, social and emotional skill development opportunities to all learners. Jennifer Booth greeted the team and fielded questions from Lisa Olynack, Bill Kimes, Tina Brownell and Jen Robinson. We reminded ourselves of the value of using Flipgrid with your students:
- USER: firstname.lastname@example.org
- PW: newport2014
Annotating a Video. We discussed the value of learning to look closely at student-produced media to understand how even very young children make choices. We used the five critical questions of media literacy to analyze some of these school media productions.
- Islip History Project. / Profile of Middle School – Integrated Arts
- Middle School News / High School News
- Military Drones / Middle School Lab Safety.
- Romeo and Juliet / Bullying. / Cyberbullying
TMS/Newport Community Documentary Video Project. We reviewed this history of the community documentary project to identify some of the unique features of the program:
- Collaborative Learning. Students work in collaborative teams across the 4-3-2-1 academic tracks and discover that diverse collaborative teams are important for creativity
- School-Community Connection. Students get out the building to explore the many unique cultural and historical treasures of the city AND community leaders and experts come to the school to share their knowledge with students
- Solid Academic Learning. The project supports CCSS goals for both English Language Arts and Social Studies while advancing technology and digital literacy competencies. Vital support from the Technology teacher and Teacher Librarian ensure that students have the skills they need to complete their projects.
- Public Audience and Showcase of Student Work. A high-visibility glossy event at the Jane Pickens Theater features awards to exemplary student work. Active participation by alums and community members helps build a sense of community engagement.
We captured the core values of the Community Documentary project on audio. Take a listen!
Structure and Work Plan. We identified the challenges of the structure and work process by walking through all the tasks involved in developing student videos. We identified these challenges:
- Students lack sufficient time to collaborate and develop coherent projects that connect their specific interests
- Faculty have different priorities for the content and focus of student projects; the project should not be disruptive to Math and Science education.
- A revised schedule of “project-based learning days” is needed in order to ensure that students can work in diverse teams with students across the 4-3-2-1 academic tracks. A sufficient number of days in needed in order for students to complete the tasks required.
- Faculty need time to collaborate with specialist teachers and to coordinate the program.
A Proposed Solution. We believe that the schedule could be shifted on a selected number of “Project Based Learning Days” that enable students to work across academic tracks in small groups while for ELA/Social Studies and while still providing semi-tracked instruction in Math and Science.