Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Move Out of the Way, and Be Delighted

     Recently Lauren Bush, an eighth grader at St. John's, won the USA Network and R&R Partners Foundation's Flip the Script Unite Against Bullying Commercial Challenge. This allowed her to be part of the creation of a public service announcement based on her original video:

We're incredibly proud of Lauren and the immense quality of her work, along with the poignant message. No surprise the video is going viral. She deserves all the attention and accolades.
     It's also important to consider the circumstances that allowed Lauren to create the video, as I believe they hold vital lessons for how education can function at its best. It was a first trimester film elective, and the students had a "simple" charge: create an inspirational video. Lauren then created "Word Play."
     Let's examine what the teacher did and didn't do. He gave the students the very basics of film-making and let them play with each of them. They had a powerful tool (we're a 1:1 iPad school) that made the filming and editing process easy, meaning the students could focus on the creative aspects of the project. The assignment was specific and broad at the same time, and no rubric confined their ideas. He set them up for success...then moved out of their way. Finally--and this probably is the most important point--he believed in the students and their ability to delight us. To push what too many teachers see as impossible.

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