#thisismyschool is hands down, the largest scale and most meaningful project I have ever been involved in. How could I not therefore use it as the backbone for my CoETaIL Course 5 final project? I know that I wavered in Course 4 about which project I would focus on but I have finally decided.
I will be blogging in an effort to provide a full picture about #thisismyschool and why it’s important for community, school spirit and rethinking learning. I will do so in a 4 part blog series.
- Part 1 (this post) will start by providing the background for #thisismyschool.
- Part 2 will focus on the pre-production, production and post-production stages
- Part 3 will be all about the educational philosophy connections that supports large-scale projects and interdisciplinary learning
- Part 4 will allow me a chance to reflect on the whole process, share #thisismyschool video and my CoETaIL video
What began as an idea from a student, has become an integral part of my teaching philosophy. You see, a few years ago when I was a Grade 5 teacher, we had a class job called Video Jockey (VJ). Clearly, I grew up in the MTV and Much Music music video era. The class job was to scour the internet for appropriate, funny, educational, and inspiring videos to share with the class during snack time. Sometimes, the videos they showed were debatably purposeless but one day a student played Avon High School Lip Dub. As soon as it finished, the whole class knew what we had to do. So we made AIS-R Grade 5 Lip Dub!
Project-Based and Cross-Disciplinary
The way the students and I were able to react to that trending video spoke volumes to me about how important it is to enable a student-led, trending and emergent/phenomenon-based learning environment. Luckily enough, our class TV shows which I call Anything TV, was also a place where I could get an microscope into the trending and relevant topics of interests to the students. As I stated in another blog post, another benefit of Anything TV is “how Anything TV also addresses performing art skills, communication skills, confidence building, organization, student-led learning and of course, the tech and interpersonal skills related with producing, directing and editing each episode!”
As I transitioned into my role as a Technology Integration Coach, I was able to continue with these class videos in the form of the weekly Eagle News Network episodes. Many of the same skills were inculcated in these weekly project-based collaborative projects. Just like in Anything TV, there were a few roles that were also featured in the ENN episodes. Some students were able to work on their organization as producers, showcase their tech as editors and highlight their public speaking and communication as the host or hostess. In addition to these roles, which we will come discuss in future posts, the ENN’s were a great way for students to showoff what is actually happening in the school such as celebrations, curriculum, school initiatives and of course, continue to react to trending challenges such as Andy is Coming, Running Man Challenge and the Mannequin Challenge.
Increase in Scale
Luckily, my role permitted me to increase the scale of these video projects with AIS-R K-12 Lip Dub 2015 and 2016! The Lip Dub team and I were able to organize these large-scale video projects by getting involvement from the entire school which includes around 1600 people. Bringing the entire school together for the Lip Dubs were amazing at developing school spirit and building school community. Taking the videos all in one take worked to prove how we could come together collaboratively and cooperatively to accomplish something huge in constrained period of time.
Making it Meaningful
What I noticed after making these Lip Dubs, was an emerging importance to showcase a variety of school activities, content areas, talents and extra-curricular activities. In essence, I wanted to take the stuff from the sidelines and bring them to the fore-front. If there was a dancer or a sports team on the sidelines, why can’t they be the subject matter of a learning vignette. This was the motivation I had to create #thisismyschool.
So, I am happy to announce that #thisismyschool is the new large-scale video project coming out of AIS-R! Of importance, #thisismyschool is an attempt to bring back some of the emergent, relevant, interest-based features that were exemplified in class activities such as Video Jockey or Anything TV. I wanted the students, teachers and school as a whole to put forth that which matters most to them. After all, if people are interested, they will care a lot more right!?!?! So I created a #thisismyschool Launch trying to enlist volunteers and submissions.
So, if this background has you enticed, please tune in to the next blog post that will focus on all the steps, stages of planning implementation that goes into a production such as this. See you then…