Monday, November 29, 2010

NEA Foundation’s Awards for Teaching Excellence - Making movies!

Ben and Caitlyn, from the Pearson Foundation, came to my classroom today! They are a teaching film crew sent as part of my NEA Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence. Pearson and the NEA Foundation partner on this part of the award.

My students will learn digital arts so they can learn an important tool while making a movie about me. We have four days to make this happen!

This wonderful award is sponsored by the NEA Foundation with support from the Horace Mann Companies, NEA Member Benefits, the NEA, and the Pearson Foundation.

The award program is called “The NEA Foundation Awards for Teaching Excellence" which is what all state winners receive. The next level up are “The Horace Mann Awards for Teaching Excellence” which I received along with four other teachers in the country! In February, we'll all find out who has received “The NEA Member Benefits Award for Teaching Excellence”. This is the national award which will be given to only one of the Horace Mann recipients.

This is the reason that my students are getting digital arts training and my colleagues will have professional development later in the week.

I have every confidence in my students. I've left it in the hands of my trusty seniors who have taken on this challenge with great gusto. Today, period 2 walked into class after a four-day weekend and looked a bit worse for the wear. Hoodies were up and a few looked bleary eyed!! Oh, no!

Luckily, they picked up steam as the project got underway. Ben and Caitlyn explained how the job was to be done and the students got interested and excited about the digital learning. I'm so happy that an award I've won will help my students learn.

I have a cold today so I wasn't in my best stride. Still - it was thrilling to have these guys visit and take over the classroom. What an interesting and privileged experience!

The first thing they did was have the kids brainstorm exactly what sort of movie they would like to make about me. I admit that I felt a bit shy as Ben and Caitlyn told the students what an honor I had achieved. My only hope is that my students - who so well know me as a real-life person they see every day, will see that achievement is in their hands. Maybe they will get inspired to reach for some dream that they wouldn't have without having lived this ride with me.

The other thing that the Pearson folks said was that they want the movie to be made up of largely student faces. In years past, there have been many administrators and staff talking about the teacher, but this year - they want it to be youth voices that speak loudest and clearest. I am interested in seeing how we pull this together in a few days. I am planning on making a movie of the movie with my flip video. This would give me a reflective experience which could document what we are doing! Maybe it will help other teachers who are creating a video project in their classrooms. I hope so!

Tomorrow is day two! I'll keep posting about this on the blog as we go.

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