Image courtesy of Yves.
One of the things I love about my job is seeing students get excited about what they are doing in class. Today was such a day in my Media Studies class. That particular class is a very interesting group of students. I have a wide range of levels and abilities within the room and therefore sometimes it can be a challenge to find something that will suit everyone. Differentiated instruction and differentiated assessment are a must for this particular class. However, before I tell the story of today’s class and why it went so well, I have to tell the back story.
Earlier in the year, I had a conversation with Doug Sadler (@sadone) at the ECOO conference about a digital safety program that his board, Windsor-Essex Catholic DSB, has mandated. From this mandate, the GAD or Getting Along Digitally program was born. It is a program where every high school in the board has one class create a multimedia based group of mini presentations that the high schools then go and give to the elementary feeder schools in their respective areas. I absolutely love this idea and was honoured to be invited to observe a presentation day at a feeder school.
What I observed absolutely overwhelmed me! The grade 6’s and 8’s were split into three groups and rotated through a series of three different presentations put on by the high school students. The high school students discussed various topics like Facebook Privacy Settings, being safe online, and digital footprints. But what I was really impressed with was the creativity and spirit that these high school students brought to the elementary classrooms. They engaged the younger students with interactive ice breaker games, used kinesthetic learning strategies, gave the younger students time to reflect and discuss, made the students laugh and all the while, taught them about these various topics without the use of Powerpoint or lectures. It was wonderful! The slides for the presentations were infused with thought-provoking images, statements and questions as well as very creative videos. You could tell the younger students were really enjoying the presentations, but you could also see that the high school students were having a good time too.
Back to today’s story: since the WECDSB are so kind and generous to share their resources and ideas with me, I have decided to implement this program as the major 30% summative task in my Media Studies class. Being as this is an enormous undertaking, I am starting early so as to give my students time to brainstorm, collaborate and create which began today in my classroom. (We also need a great deal of time as they will have to take turns using the video cameras and Mac Minis to edit their videos.) As I was introducing this project, my students were buzzing. I overheard one student yell from the back of the room to the front of the room that they needed to check the chat window of our Ning because she had an idea and wanted the guy in the front to respond to her thoughts. I had questions coming from all parts of the room – “Can we dress up for our presentations?” “Can we present to my brother’s class?” “Can we talk about MSN?” It was AMAZING! I didn’t have any negativity and I was really impressed with how excited they were to be going out into the schools to share their message. My student teacher and I were all over the room answering questions and listening to the multitude of ideas being swirled around by all the students. Even the students that I was concerned might balk at the idea of giving a 35 minute presentation were engaged and brainstorming. Seriously, a wonderfully exhilarating day for me as a classroom teacher.
So, I have to give Doug Sadler and the WECDSB a HUGE thank you for inviting me in to participate in this exciting adventure! I really can’t wait to see what my students create for the feeder schools in our area!