NOTE: Apparently I can’t embed the video. Never had that happen before. Strange. You’d think Vimeo would remove the option instead of leaving it there so that people end up with stupid looking posts like the one you’re reading.
This is an interview with Wiley Hunnicutt who discusses a unit she did on tolerance with 8th graders at Byrd Middle School. This particular version is for a PTA night there having that focuses on 21st century skills and technology integration.
Wiley1 is an amazing teacher and speaks passionately and intelligently about this unit. I’d be happy to have my children in her class.
The sound is all jacked up. We had to shoot this in a room with multiple servers running and it was incredibly noisy. I tried dropping it out but the result is pretty tinny and slightly mechanical sounding. Additionally, I learned that if you edit the audio after clipping the video it won’t apply across clips and you’ll have to edit each clip individually. I do not recommend this.
It’s not bad for one camera man (me) shooting from two cameras but it’d be nice to have some B roll to mix in. I didn’t spend as much time as I should have balancing the look of the two cameras either. The levels are not the same and that’s irritating. One of the issues is that any time I do anything to the clips shot on the 5DMKII I have to re-render and that is incredibly annoying and time consuming. That’s one reason I went with black and white. It was easier to get similar looking colors and I figured it was appropriate given the somber subject. I worry that it’s a little melodramatic though.
In the end what I really want is to splice student work, classroom shots from the project and interviews of the teacher and students into a more complete picture of the unit. That’s our next step with these videos. We’ll then put them on the web with student work samples and tag them so they fit in with our 21st century skills modules.
1 For those who’ve been around since the Bionicteacher days, Wiley was one of the teachers who did the Richard III blog with me back when I worked at Byrd and actually saw students occasionally. The other teacher was Jim Coe, who used to write on this blog before retiring.
These are not the voices you want reminding you of where education is headed.
Centralized pacing guides, centrally created lesson plans and myriad of other choices are moving teachers into the role of trained chickens with little choice and less say about what happens in their classrooms. Standardization is great for planning and scaling but haven’t we proven over and over again that learning should be individualized?
If we can’t trust teachers to pace their own classes, to make their own lesson plans then there’s a serious problem with the people we’re hiring as teachers. Providing all the processes and structures in the world won’t fix that.
This is a pretty interesting video tool from HBO. It’s an interactive 3d framework that shows a story from 4 distinct perspectives. Each one gives you a different amount of information. In order to really understand what’s going on you have to see the story from these different perspectives and then combine the results into a “big picture” kind of understanding. You can watch two perspectives at the same time, which is interesting1.
The key here is that you can’t understand the full story from just one of the views. It really takes some processing to figure these stories out in their entirety.
It extrapolates nicely to the idea of perspective in terms of personal bias, both historically and in writing2. Questions like . . .
How does perspective change a story?
How does perspective impact history?
Can you write a narrative without perspective?
There are ton of stories to browse through. They’re short but some, of the few, I’ve been through would be questionable for some classrooms.
Lots of possibilities for student projects on perspective branching off of this using text, images or video.
A hodgepodge of links that inspired me and rough ideas on how I’d use them in class.
Wondermark1 What is it? It’s a poster that lets you build your own story by picking component pieces- think MadLibs but for story construction. What I’d do with it- This would be a really interesting culminating activity after studying a genera, author, poet or historical era. The students have to figure out the basic elements that are present in the author’s works or major people/conflicts/geography of the era. They then build a similar poster. It’d be hard to figure out which elements would be the variables and which would be consistent. Lots of thinking involved. Thinking about it, it might be a fun thing to build in Google forms using the new branching options.
The Shadow2 What is it? An artist who’s envisioning a boy with a monstrous shadow. What I’d do with it- It’d be fun to depict the inner-selves of historical and literary figures as their shadows. So you’d have students analyzing the characters or historical figures and then drawing representative shadows. The key would be in how they explain what the shadow represents and how they explain the difference between the public persona and the inner-self. It could represent their hidden dark side, kind of like what I did with George Washington or it could be an interesting mix of what drives them as individuals.
Vikings never wore helmets with horns What is it? It’s an ad campaign trumpeting the idea that good ads take precedence over facts. What I’d do with it- It wouldn’t work with everything but for lots “common knowledge” history and science “facts” students would have lots of misconceptions to debunk. Doing it in poster format would allow you to display them and spread the love.
The Apollo Landing Disaster Speech3 What is it? This is the speech William Safire wrote in case the astronauts were stranded on the moon. It’s kind of like a pre-written eulogy but for an event. What I’d do with it- Students write failure or success speeches. Take famous speeches and reverse them. What would they have sounded like had the occasion been reversed?
Jim “The Doubter” Groom’s1comments made me want to clarify the validity of bothering to impugn Christopher Columbus’s name. The results are below. It’s interesting to see how early and, as a result, how simply Columbus is covered. It’s no wonder so many people (other than the people Jim seems to hang out with) end up with a very one dimensional view of Columbus as a pure hero2
Here are the VA SOLs for old Christopher Columbus.
1.3 The student will discuss the lives of people associated with Presidents’ Day, Columbus Day, and the events of Independence Day (Fourth of July).
3.3 The student will study the exploration of the Americas by
a) describing the accomplishments3 of Christopher Columbus, Juan Ponce de León, Jacques Cartier, and Christopher Newport;
3.5 The student will develop map skills by
d) locating the regions in the Americas explored by Christopher Columbus (San Salvador in the Bahamas), Juan Ponce de León (near St. Augustine, Florida), Jacques Cartier (near Quebec, Canada), and Christopher Newport (Jamestown, Virginia);
SS.5.A.3.2 Investigate (nationality, sponsoring country, motives, dates and routes of travel, accomplishments) the European explorers. Social Studies 5 American History Exploration and Settlement of North America
§113.5. Social Studies, Grade 3.
(C) describe how individuals such as Christopher Columbus and Meriwether Lewis and William Clark have contributed to the expansion of existing communities or to the creation of new communities.
identify the accomplishments of significant explorers such as Cabeza de Vaca; Christopher Columbus; Francisco Coronado; and René Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle and explain their impact on the settlement of Texas;
describe the origins and significance of national celebrations such as Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Columbus Day.
1 Note to those sobbing for me giving Senor Groom a hard time. We’re friends. He can take a joke. It’s all ok. Or maybe not; either way I’m still doing it.
2 Note this is through 12th grade and Texas has a number of people who are angry Columbus isn’t celebrated more.