Monday, May 21, 2007

[TIPS] What a great bunch of students I met today

Today I had the pleasure of attending a student showcase held in the East wing of the PA Capitol building. Students from around the state attended to show off some of the great things they've been doing in their classrooms. I didn't get to talk to all of them, but those I did talk to were amazing.
Take Kristen, Hanan, and Nicole, for instance. Kristen, I believe, is in 5th grade. The other two are in 6th. I was actually on my way past their table when the line I was in stalled, putting me right in front of Kristen. I looked at her display (which I had seen earlier but I didn't have a chance to hear them talk) and she seized the moment, offering her hand to greet me. I'm SO glad she did. She proceeded to tell me about the projects that she and a team of six others have been working on for a while. They make vodcasts and podcasts.
Her natural use of the term vodcast caught my attention and the more I listened the more impressed I was with the projects, with their teacher's dedication to this endeavor, and with Kristen's fluid description. What a natural she was. So often kids that age don't quite put things together in a logical order, either out of the excitement of the moment, or from lack of experience. Not her. She told me of how their team meets to brainstorm their ideas, and how they write the scripts and how they shoot the scenes, and even made sure I saw and read a newspaper article that told their story. Then, when Hanan and Nicole came over, they, too, were just as poised and confident and excited about this project as Kristen, and they gave me even more information about how they work. It was their teacher who later told me that those kids are waiting for the teacher every morning so they can get started on the scripting or editing, and they sometimes have to chase the kids home at night or they'd stay all night doing this job that they love to do. You're doing something right when you've got kids who WANT to work on your projects, yes?
Want to see what they do? Go here: Team/Welcome.html. Click the Concept Library link at the top of that page. They've got four so far, and are working on another now. The videos take a while to load, but do invest the time. I think you'll like what you see. Oh, and check out the anchors links and .. well, visit all the links there. You'll be glad you did.
I hope to see those students at next year's PETE&C conference next February. Congratulations to the kids and their teachers.
What else did I see? Robots, wonderful programs written in C#, a website written in php, some podcasts done by second graders, some amazing Flash animations done for an art class, and SO much more. The future IS in good, creative hands.

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