Moving at the Speed of Creativity by Wesley Fryer

This I Believe: Community Sharing Through Art, Writing and Video #cmtc10

These are my iPad blogged notes from Pamela Carr’s presentation, “This I Believe: Community Sharing Through Art, Writing and Video” at the 2010 Christa McAuliffe Technology Conference.

See handouts on:


Our project goals:

Bring community together

Have students synthesize their one true belief into writing, art and video

Have students look at their work critically and build their work in stages

The power of words
– example of powerful student writing The power of art

The power of video

Hw to get started
– get a planning team together
– develop a calendar of deadlines for students
– develop a calendar of invitations to the community
– for participation invent
— for attendance at event
– find location for the event (other schools in the district, parents, administration, school board, etc)
– plan the date for the exhibition

Start with the art teachers! Ours had students write one statement, and then draw a piece which went along with it
– 4 teachers worked together this year on the project, started with two teachers the first year

Pamela gives bonus points for kids who get relatives, neighbors and others to write and contribute pieces to be part of the exhibition

My biggest challenge: getting my kids to write for this
– I didn’t have examples of student products to see the first year
– many students don’t know their core beliefs – kids know what they do NOT believe, but many don’t know their beliefs and haven’t taken time previously to clarify their own beliefs

It is one core belief not a list of beliefs
– you have to make it a story

Some ideas for implementing – spend some time having students read some examples
– give the students quiet time to reflect and write
– for video, show student examples. The first year I showed short pieces of documentaries to demonstrate how music and narration add power to the message

I wish Analese [student whose example video was shown] could have used fewer stock photos, and all original photos, it would make it so much more powerful
– kids want to use stock photos that someone else took, commercial music that they already know, but this limits the power of the story in many cases

I want my kids to be thinking about much more than just writing something they think I want to see, I want them to be proud of their work at the end of the day

Having students know their work will be on display for others to view (written work as well as videos) is always a big motivator for the students

I focus on writing first, and only then show video
– then we talk about how to convert that written piece into video
– I give them several days for brainstorming and writing
– some kids take a very serious route with this, others funny, everything in between

When critiquing, I always focus on what is great but we discuss how it could have been even better
– showing exemplars but also how those exemplars could be better

If you are showing a video and air doesn’t add anything to the power of your message, why are you putting it in video?
– kids have to keep their narration
– I also require them to use music

I just learned about making standing appointments
– having partners and making meeting appointments
– another teacher calls them “processing partners”

This is similar to the primary interactive classroom

Copyright: we talk about it but I hate to stifle my kids, I don’t enforce every copyright rule on them

I direct my kids to

This project provides a great opportunity to have that discussion with kids about copyright

Most kids who don’t want to share end up being sick the night of the showcase
– some kids are OK having others see their work if they are not there

Writing pieces are just 300 – 500 words, 2-4 minutes

I do an entire unit on Audacity before this project so the students know how to use it
– also do a unit on Moviemaker first too

This year for the first time we will publish some of these online, and we are hoping to share some of these on our public access TV channel


Now showing examples of student projects

“Life’s a garden. Dig it!” – Joe Dirt

Sent from my iPad

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On this day..






2 responses to “This I Believe: Community Sharing Through Art, Writing and Video #cmtc10”

  1. Chris Hunewell Avatar
    Chris Hunewell

    Thank you, Wes! This CMTC session was my second choice. My first choice was wonderful (Going Global w/Colleen Worrell) so I am very excited to have your notes on This I Believe!

    Is it possible that I’m sitting here behind your daughter in my next session??

  2. Wesley Fryer Avatar

    If you are in the session on digital book trailers, it’s very likely! That is where she’s headed now. 🙂