Today was one of those days that makes me so glad I’m an educator.
There is lots of backstory here:
My students are always really into the digital citizenship and cyberbullying discussions that we have, but this year we were especially moved by some headline grabbing events in our area, that led to other discussions.
I have been working hard all semester to drill the idea that being a connected educator is valuable and necessary, and pushing them to connect beyond the classroom using Twitter and blogs.
This week was devoted to video, and my intern did the formal lesson on Monday…. but all semester long, there was a blank spot for today, Wednesday. I figured I’d use it as a flex day — maybe work on videos if they needed, or portfolios, or…. whatever.
Then, last night I saw this tweet:
—Alec Couros (@courosa) April 9, 2013
And it all clicked together….
Wait, we could do something to help a real class, of 6th graders, during video week, by way of my striving to be a connected educator? I was in, but I had to put it out to the class, too.
When class started, I shared with them some other lipdubs, shared the post, and we voted to contribute to BOTH projects. It was not required, and I reiterated the privacy options, and the students who chose not to be on the video were made crew. We listened to the song, picked out our lyric, and then tried to come up with our “something nice” to say, which was harder than you might think.
Next, location — most wanted to use the sign at the North entrance, and a few (my ATHLETES!) were grumbling about the walk. We talked about doing teams in two locations, but ultimately decided it would be more powerful to be one group, so I had everyone bring their phones and we headed out. It’s a 1/2 mile to the sign (I know this because it’s my route for the wellness walks!) and halfway there we felt one or two raindrops, but I was confident we could get it done before any rain.
Once at the sign, we did a few practice runs, and then recorded both videos, confirmed we had it, and then headed back to the classroom, all of us smiling and laughing. Back at class, I had the student who’d recorded the lipdub video email it to me, and I had used my phone for the “say something nice” project (during the lipdub, my phone was used to guide us with our lyric), and we played both before wrapping up class.
Before the day was over, I’d submitted our videos to both projects, and emailed the teacher to share some of the backstory I shared above, and when I tweeted out looking for a still pic that I knew was taken, I got this:
It was a great class. We learned how easy it is to participate in a global project, and how a global project can be a fun way to learn. It tied in so perfectly to what we’ve been talking about, and I’m hopeful it inspired them to be more connected and to seek out these opportunities (or to create them on their own!)
I would encourage anyone to participate in such a project — it took us less than our assigned class period of 75 minutes to go from “here is what it is – do you think we should do it – done.” And now I think it was just a premonition or fate that kept me from filling in that 4/10 box when I wrote the syllabus last winter, because it was perfectly timed for today to be doable.
It was a great day to be a teacher of this great group of students.