Action Research Blog

July 28th, 2006
Idea 1 – Help create a web site as a distributive learning environment with Pepperdine at the center of the discussion of technology integration in education.  Establish monthly presenters to do web casts, webxing, blogs, etc…  Build the community of practice around Pepperdine and increase the exposure for the school.  Purposes are to: increase the public discussion about technology in education, raise the image of Pepperdine University as leader in Ed Tech world, and create a space for rapid discussion and idea exchanging for the benefit of education and change.

Idea 2 – Create a film contest similar to that established in California by AFI. Create an inspirational film inviting students throughout RI to submit origional works using film. Contest it to open to students of all ages and can be group or individual projects. Will work with AFI to establish catigories for their films. Will get local sponsers to offer prizes and technology to those programs that do not have enough or any.

July 30th, 2006
Idea 3 – Film is not just to tell stories.  Documentation is important but film can be used for a much greater purpose.  Students can use film to create discussion and debate.  Discussion and debate make them “Provocateurs.”  Student Provacateurs will be a film project in three parts.  Part one, I will make a film for the participants to watch that describes the process, explains the goals, shows filming techniques, and inspires.  Part two, students will follow an action plan to create their provocative piece.  Part three, I will remake the instructional film using the students film and work as the model.

July 30th, 2006
Will need to keep records about the effects of the program on the kids.  I think that they should keep journals/blogs, I will interview them before and after, and interview the audience after viewing the film.

August 3rd, 2006
Casey Farm is a local organic farm that works with school groups and community children to teach them about land stewardship and sustainability practices.  Sounds like a good place to contact for the project.

August 5th, 2006

Wrote a proposal statement and vision, notes from the project director (me) and a working model. Listed below.

Student Provocateurs: Enhancing Public Debate and Awareness of Local Environmental Issues by Involving Students with Film

Produced by Bradford Davey
Technology For Learning Consortium, Inc. & Pepperdine University

Many programs provide rich film exposure such as The American Film Institute's Silver Theatre and Cultural Center which offers the Educational Screenings Program (ESP) for Washington area public and private Schools, the Screen Education Center, also sponsored by AFI, Apple Education Movie Books which helps young students bring their artistic stories to life, and the British Film Institute which believes in enhancing education through video integration.  Few educational film programs however, encourage students to become actively involved in not only telling a story but also increasing public awareness of important environmental issues.

Video is the medium of information for an entire generation.  Its power transcends the everyday and brings audiences to places residing only in their dreams and the depths to which it can touch the viewer are undeniable.  Our country’s history is rich with movements that have helped shape our world.  Today’s students will be the leaders of tomorrow and they need to grow to understand their power and ability to enact positive change.  As educators, we have taken on the task of showing them the tools that are available and helping them grow the skills they will need to be successful.

A provocateur is one who is assigned the task of creating unrest and debate about a topic they are deeply committed to.  Goals of the Student Provocateurs Program:

  • Introduce students to new technologies and educational ideas
  • Enhance students understanding of their role in society and their ability to enact change
  • Create a unique learning environment enabling individual students to come together for the completion of a common goal
  • Give students the opportunity to express themselves through word and film
  • Stimulate students creativity and interests
  • Produce films addressing local environmental issues chosen by students with a focus on preserving environmental health and promoting environmental awareness

Student Provocateurs will integrate storytelling, technology, and learning with the goal of environmental preservation and public awareness.  Students accepting a role in the program will be challenged to produce a provocative film addressing an environmental issue critical to the sustainability of the natural world.

A Word From The Program Director:

Bradford Davey

I have been an educator for over 10 years.  I have taught medical students, graduate students, high school students of all levels, and middle school science and math students.  I have produced documentary films for NSF grant evaluation and effectiveness and helped students harvest the power of film in numerous educational projects.  I have helped produce a documentary film at the Brown School in Schenectady, NY illustrating the power of students to enact sustainable change in their community.  Currently I am a freelance educational consultant working for Technology For Learning Consortium, Inc. in North Kingstown, RI.

My most recent path of life-long-learning has brought me to the School of Education and Psychology at Pepperdine University where I am pursuing a Masters Degree in Educational Technology.  This project is part of that program and my personal interpretation of the integration of technology into education and the power of film.  I value our environment and recognize the necessity to help the next generation get our generation to act NOW!

Thank You and Never Stop Learning!

Working Model

STUDENT PROVOCATEURS:

  • Students/participants will view a film created by Brad Davey that outlines the project and inspires creativity
  • Students will be asked to research and decide on an environmental issue to address under the guidance of Brad Davey and Parent/Teacher mentors
  • Students will be exposed to basic filming techniques and theories
    • Story Boarding
    • Scripting
    • Scene Setup
    • Acting
    • Camera angles
    • Lighting
    • Sound
  • Students will be exposed to film editing software and digital video rendering
  • Students will write script and scene descriptions, ideas, and meanings for shot and location
  • Students will gather film footage
  • Students will edit film footage and produce film
  • Students will engage in education and public outreach to create public awareness and audience for film
  • Film Showing

I will be collecting footage along the way to document their work and produce a film of my own which will document the student’s journey and be used as a training video for future projects.  All student and adult participants will be asked to keep a blog of their experience, work, success and failures, and personal stories.  All students will receive a copy of the film they produced.  It is hoped that this project will continue to serve as a means to bring about an increase in public awareness and debate for important local environmental issues.

 

August 8th, 2006
Spoke with George Cristie at Casey Farm.  He is the head of education programs.  Great discussion about the farm and its programs.  He was very excited about the possibility of working with me and creating a film about the farm and the environment.

  • Casey Farm is part of Historic New England
  • www.HistoricNewEngland.org
  • HQ in Boston
  • Will need to get project approved through there
  • Also have a Community Supported Agricultural Program
  • Do not have students full time like I thought,  Do not have an affiliation with a local like I thought
  • George thought that the families in the CSAP program would love to be part of the film program
  • Will visit the site on Tuesday, August 15th.

Was a little disappointed that there was not a school affiliated with Casey Farm but think that may get more invested and interested participants this way.  George is leaving the position at the end of August so need to get this started soon!

 

August 15th, 2006

George communicated that we would not be able to meet today and rescheduled for Thursday, August 17th.

 

August 17th, 2006

Meet with George in office and after short introductions, headed out for walking tour of farm.  Visited the farm stand area, chicken coups, turkeys, and flower garden.  Was introduced to Mike the farm manager.  We spoke about the project and my ideas at great length.  Very positive feeling and environment.  There are a great deal of potential avenues that we will pursue to get a group of students that are interested in the project along with a teacher and school.  We discussed possible financial issues and their solution.  George will get in contact with two teachers to see if they might be interested in participating.  Mike will be looking at other possible schools and funding.  I am going to get financial backing and secure the technology.  Took some pictures while there.  They are great!

 

AR Blog 9/12/06
George Cristi Update – will be looking to get a grant to cover the cost of transpiration from the school to the farm.  Will try and get a corporate sponsor to donate computer and camera(s) to the school for the project.  George will be calling Deb Barone at Jamestown Middle School and we will be looking into a few other school to get a pool of students.  Will also consider the CSA as a possible student source (Community Sponsored Agriculture).

Will be starting to instructional video soon.  Have been putting together outline for video:

            Introduction – me, what I am doing, have done, etc…
            Introduction – project, what they will be doing
            Film Making –            Scripting
                                                Story boards
                                                Acting
                                                Sound
                                                Lighting
                                                Camera Angle
                                                Shot selection
                                                Editing
            Editing (more) – Digital video editing on Mac
            Conclusions – Be a provocateur
            Out

Scripting to come soon for introductions.

October 25, 2006
Video Script

Ext. Rocks at beaches edge – mid day

Standing on the shore, BD is looking into the camera and speaks with energy and excitement.
BD
Hay!  I’m Brad and this is a story about….well…telling a story.  It is also about making a film, about sound and lights, color and angles, but, even more about that later!

Multiple Ext. Camera shot starts with BD and then jumps to each location with continued voice
BD (V.O.)
First a little about me…

I live here (pointing out into the bay, daytime with good light)

I grew-up here (fast motion of Wickford Harbor) and as a kid I worked on this boat (pan across the boat from bow to stern)

I lived here…and down there….and over there…and in there (with shots of each)

I went to high school here...

I have been a teacher of middle school for a bunch of years and now work with her (shot of Hilarie from far away then zoom to close in)

Ext. Rocks at beaches edge – mid day

Standing on the shore, BD is looking into the camera and speaks with energy and excitement.
BD
I love video and film.  My passion is working with people like to create discussions about important things.  I have put together some footage of “good” and “bad” shots for you to get some ideas about making your film… Enjoy!

Will have black screens with traveling words labeling each section

            Section 1: Sound (bold text)

            Section 2: Light (bold text)

            Section 3: Shot Types (bold text)
            Close-up
Int. Living room with three people talking.  Two on couch and one in chair facing stage left of couch.
BD (V.O.)
Here we have a seen with three people sitting and talking.  I am not giving you any sound because I want you to focus on the shots.  The first is a close-up.  A feeling of involvement and participation.  You are there with them!
            Medium Shot
Int. Living room with three people talking.  Two on couch and one in chair facing stage left of couch.
BD (V.O.)
Same scene now from a little bit back.  The advantage is that you get to see all the people but you are now a little removed from the conversation.  More of an outsider.
            Long Shot
Int. Living room with three people talking.  Two on couch and one in chair facing stage left of couch.
BD (V.O.)
Now we are far off watching the action.  What is nice is you get to see the people and their positions relative to each other and how the dynamics of there interactions happens in a physical way.
Over the shoulder
Int.  Living room with three people talking.  Two on couch and one in chair facing stage left of couch.
BD (V.O.)
This is a very personal shot.  We are in effect looking over the shoulder of the person talking or the person being talked to.
Two-Shot
Int.  Living room with three people talking.  Two on couch and one in chair facing stage left of couch.
BD (V.O.)
This is similar to the over the shoulder but it places more of a balance on the importance of the characters in the shot.  You can go back and forth with the camera as the conversation changes.

            Section 4: Camera Angles (bold text)
Ext.  Three people having a conversation on the porch in front of the house.
High Angle
BD (V.O.)
From up here we can see all the action!
Normal Angle
BD (V.O.)
This is the everyday standby shot.
Low Angle
BD (V.O.)
From down here we get a different feel…and dirty pants…

            Section 5: Motion (bold text)
Ext. Three people having a conversation on the porch in front of the house.
Dolly shot
BD (V.O.)
A dolly shot moves in towards or away from the people talking.  Might also call this zooming in or out but we are moving the camera.
Tracking shot
BD (V.O.)
This shot moves across the people having the conversation.  The whole camera is moving here.
Pan
BD (V.O.)
Move the camera from left to right on a single pivot point.  This is easiest to do with a tripod!
Tilt
BD (V.O.)
Another example of the camera pivoting.  This time the camera goes from up to down or down to up.  Again, this is easiest to do with a tripod.

            Section 6: Scripting and Story Boarding (bold text)
Int. at computer working with a script and drawing out a story-board.  BD looks up from his work and talks into the camera.
BD (V.O.)
Now that we have learned about all the different camera angles and shots, its time to write a script and create a story board.  The script is the story.  You need to get a clear story down on paper BEFORE you start filming our your story will not be clear to your audience.  The script tells everyone where they are, what they are doing and what they are going to say.  Everyone involved needs to have a copy of the script!  The story board gives the director and camera operator a clear vision of what the scene should look like and helps the actors act.

            Section 7: Editing
Int.  Sitting at the computer editing video
BD (V.O.)
Hey again!  I am glad that we could spend this together and hope that you are inspired to go create!  I have some editing to do.

BD
Do you know what is important to me?  You guys and learning!  Take a look… (camera turns to the computer screen and then fades to a quick student montage)

Ext. Road in front of house.  Tight in head-shot to start.  With camera still, BD walks a way a little, turns talks, turns away again.  Fade out)

BD
Well, I hope you enjoyed the film and have learned a little too.  If you did not get it all don’t worry.  You can watch it anytime and I will be helping you along the way!  Remember, you do make a difference.  How big it is, is up to you!

Credits

 

November 07, 2006
This is a copy of a letter I wrote to the Rhode Island Foundation looking for an audiance for funding. Stay tuned...

Deborah Linnell,

My name is Bradford Davey.  I am a graduate student (virtually) at Pepperdine University in CA in the Educational Technology Program.  As part of my educational experience, I am involved in an Action Research Project.  From a learning stand point, the project is designed to challenge my ideas about research, expand my abilities, and enhance my educational practices.

I have been a middle school teacher for 8 years in New York state.  While teaching there, I became involved in film making and incorporated my skills into my classrooms.  I witnessed first hand the ability of students to transform their ideas through film.  The projects increased student's interest, participation, and communication skills.  For my research project through Pepperdine, I have decided to start a film project here in RI.  I have contacted Casey Farms in Saunderstown and Mike Hutchinson and I have talked about the film project and he has agreed to have Casey Farms be the back-drop and focus of the film.  He was able to get me in touch with a teacher at the Lawn Avenue School in Jamestown, Deb Barone, who has received approval from her Super to go forward with the project.  I have contacted the Organic Center in Foster and received a commitment from CEO Mark Davis for $1000 - $1500 for the project.  I have also received a commitment from Technology for Learning Consortium, Inc. of North Kingstown, where I am employed, for additional funds.  The total budget for the project is estimated to be $6,000.

There are many ideas going between the parties involved including the starting of a film contest sponsored by the Organic Center to promote their 10-by-10 initiative and creating a film summer program/camp through Casey Farms.

I would like to speak with you regarding the project I have designed, its benefits for RI students, and my need for some additional funding to see the project to conclusion.  I thank you in advance for you time and consideration.  Feel free to contact me by phone at the number given below.  I am also available to meet in person and am very flexible.  I look forward to hearing from you.

November 18th, 2006
No word back from the Rhode Island Foundation. I suspect that I will not be hearing back from them. It is a difficult task to get funding for something you believe to be so important.

January 3rd, 2007
Spoke with Mark Davis from the Organic Center about funding. After receiving his annual budget, he was sure that there was $1500 available for the project. He suggested that there may be more but would only know for sure as we move into spring.

January 7th, 2007
Purchased a MacBook. Had computer upgraded with 160 G hard drive, 2 G ram, and Fine Cut Express HD. Purchased a Sony THC 45 camcorder with hot shoe, mic input, head phone output, CZ lense, and more. It is on loan to Deb's class and Lawn Avenue school.

January 19th, 2007
Meeting with Ms Barone's 6th grade homeroom class.

The kids were great!  They asked lots of questions and have clearly thought about the project quite a bit.  The first thing I did after introducing myself was give two video cameras to the first two volunteers.  I asked them to film the entire discussion the class and I were having.  It will become part of the documentary film about this project.

The class and I talked about the process, film making, my experience, the wiki site designed for them, and so much more.  It is great to have meet them and get the whole interaction on tape.

Deb and I also talked and arranged my visits.
- Kids will follow schedule arranged
- Onsite visits will be Feb 14th from 9:15 – 11:00 and Feb 28th also from 9:15 – 11:00
- Our first visit to Casey Farms, March 7th, will be about 2 hours to get familiar with the surroundings, decide on shot ideas, arrange props for filming, and explore the farm.
- We will also return on March 28th and April 4th

Janunry 20th, 2007
Deb Barone, the class teacher, has gone to her school pricipal to have the curriculum changed to incorporate the film project. Having been the teacher that also changed his curriculum to accomidate a project that I believed in, it is very exciting to be working with her.

January 22nd, 2007
A realization that the original budget was not going to be funded in its entirety has moved me to update the budget to a more obtainable level. The total has gone from just over $6000 to just over $3000. With $1500 already committed, I am hopeful that we will reach the new funding goal.

Updated Project Student Provocateurs Budget

Item

Description

Item Cost (number requested)

Extended Cost ($)

Sony HDR-HC3 Camcorder

An entry level camera with hotfoot and microphone imput

429.00

429.00

Tiffen 30mm UV Protector Glass Filter

Protects camera lens and sharpens image

9.25

9.25

Camcorder Case

Joblot Special

4.99

4.99

NP-FP71 P-Series Battery Pack (1800 mAh)

Extra battery for camcorder

34.95

34.95

Apple 13-inch: Black MacBook 2.0 GHz Intel Core Duo, 2GB ram, 160 GB Hard Drive, Apple Care Protection plan and Final Cut Express

Apple computer for digital video capture, editing, and production

1,797.60
Reflects student discounted rate

1,797.60

Sony DVM-63HD 63 Minutes Mini DV Tape

Tapes for digital video camcorder

4.25 (10)

42.50

Transportation Costs

Bus to bring students to Casey Farms and back (3times)

250/trip (3)

750.00

TOTALS

7 Unique Items

7 Total Items

3068.29

January 28th, 2007
Listening to my new learning circle discuss their action research projects and my own was a powerful moment of clarity for me personally and my action research project.  As I sat and listened to their discussion, it was clear that the focus of my project has been emphasized by me as something different than it was originally intended.  They described the film aspect of the project, that I am working with a 6th grade class, that the kids will be making a film of their own, and that I have created a film that is designed to give the students ideas and information about filming.
            These are all correct and represent some very important features of the project.  I am working with a great group of very interested 6th graders.  I have produced a film designed to instruct and encourage kids in film making.  The students will be making their own film.  However, there is one very important piece missing; the goal of the project.
            The goal of my project is to empower students to utilize the medium of film to create public dialogue about ideas that they feel are important.  The title of the project is “Student Provocateurs” and is designed to do just that.  It is clear that I have been focusing my attention, and in this way my voice, on the film creation aspect of the project.  I am therefore making my goal for the next action research cycle the development of the ideas associated with the meaning, power, and importance of being a provocateur of ideas.

February 8th, 2007
Lots of action on the project lately. The kids are making great progress on the film script, working on getting their jobs sorted out, and more. Will be going to the school soon to work with them on sound and look over the script. Have been in contact with Mike Hutchenson at Casey Farms and Adam Lowe, the education coordinator about arranging our visits to the farm for filming. Very excited to be thinking about the spring and starting to film.

February 11th, 2007
A note from Deb Barone...
"How about the 14th Wed from 8:30-10:50 this week???-…They can meet with you in their groups and ask questions plus get some direction on how to do their jobs well
We have watched some of their taping…whew..a lot to learn…Dramamine would be good!!!!!
We can then change the March 28th date.
Can you bring more tapes?

The kids are concerned that the film will be part of your unit but then will not reach public eye enough. They understand you selling the making of a film out to others but they are invested in the film they make.

They would like to own the part they film/act in…I am not sure how that will work but I think they are thinking they want it out to society…to send a message
a free thinking entity has been born"
Deb
**What is so great about the response is that, to me, it shows that their excitement and investment in the project is growing. I find that very exciting.**

 

February 17th, 2007
There is a great amount of frustration in the word of action research for me this week.  It has to do with progress and time.  We are coming to the end of February and I see a wall of progress that needs to be navigated in a relatively short period of time.  Every one is working hard and doing their jobs but the limited physical contact between be and the kids is a concern.  We have made plans to meet more but changes in schedule because of weather and travel have limited out contact.  The kids still seem to be upbeat and moving forward but I have to judge this by second had accounts and not with my own hands.  This is a very different direction for me to act in a more hands-off manner.  This is not to say that while teaching my own students I was hands-on all the time with them, rather by being in the room with the kids daily, seeing their actions first hand, listening to their conversations about their work, I was able to develop an understanding of their progress and assess where they would need help.

Not working with the kids on a daily basis has made it even more clear to me that this is their project.  I am simply providing the technology and expertise to help them impliment their vision and see it develop into a reality.  This is a new role for me and makes it even more clear that the communications that we do have need to be valuable and meaningful.

February 27th, 2007
I was thinking about the project name and am still going with Student Provocateurs. With this in mind, I would like to ba able to bring the project to conferences and to do so I think that it needs a more universal and descriptive title. I am thinking of "Raising Public Awareness Through Student Media." This might need a bit more direction and description but it is a start.

March 2nd, 2007
Did a “workshop” with the kids today.  A great success!  They have been working in smaller groups on different parts of the film project.  There is a script, storyboard, costume, camera, sounds, light, and acting group.  They had written questions and took turns asking them.  We talked about creating a script and translating that into a storyboard.  The storyboard discussion was a great way to introduce more ideas about camera position and filming a scene from more than one location and with multiple cameras.
We continued to talk for a while more, going over sound and its importance, until on girl asked about making decisions.  I seized upon this as a time to talk about democracy, listening, and making decisions.  We were able to talk about how being the most talkative person in the group was a great responsibility because they are able to make a choice about who gets heard.  It was a great way to talk to the group about the film project being a group project and during filming and editing, not every ones ideas may be included.
We are off to Casey Farm next week to survey the area, make sketches for the storyboard, decide on filming spots and to be inspired.

March 6th, 2007
Have been working on getting to Casey Farm for the past few days. We were scheduled to go Wednesday morning but the weather has not been cooperating. I will go to the school in the morning and have a great workshop experience with them. I am planning to have the film group film me while I am working with the other groups to give them some film experience. I will also be able to direct them while I am working with the other groups.
I plan to get them to work harder on the film script because it seems that this is the most lacking part of the film project and the most important part at this point. The storyboard group will also be creating the storyboards for the first scenes. I think that this will be a great opportunity to work directly with the kids on the film project.
Additionally, I was able to download the footage that has been collected over the past few months that was taken by the kids. Some was very good but rather raw. I was able to put together a list of things to work on from watching their filming work. It is an interesting process for me to watch what others have collected rather than what I have collected. It is interesting to see the process from other’s eyes.

March 17th, 2007
We were on location for the first time on Wednesday. The kids arrived on the bus from Jamestown, about a 15 minute ride from the school. I arrived early, with cameras rolling and was able to film the farm without the kids around in the beautiful morning light. As the kids can in on the bus I was able to capture their arrival. We were given a great tour and talk by Adam Lowe, the Educational Director at Casey Farm. We walked around and talked about the different buildings and the changing grounds as we went. The kids had some interesting questions and were able to offer a great deal of information about what they had learned so far.

Once the tour was over the kids broke into their three filming groups and went off to look at locations and gather their thoughts, make sketches, and write more of their script. I was able to spend time with each group and capture their thoughts on camera. What was most surprising to me was the changes in their ideas and story as they walked and looked around on the farm. One group was determined to film around their town to get the right scenes and back-grounds for their film. Within a half-hour of being on the farm, they had changed their entire story and one remarked that, “I had no idea there were so many interesting places on the farm.” It was great to be with them as they changed their thinking and moved more towards giving the farm a higher value in the filming process.

March 21st, 2007
Did classroom work with the kids at Lawn Ave today. Very productive time in the classroom. I listened to each group talk about their project, looked at their script and storyboard, and talked to them about what was next. After listening to all of the flashback stories, there was an obvious problem: each group had their own people acting in the opening farm scene. This is an issue because of the continuity of the film. We discussed the issues as a class and talked through different ideas that might work. We settled on having two people "drive" up to the farm and two people working at the farm to great them. They talk, and realize that they all went to school together when they were young.
This was an important topic to work on with the kids. There were interesting comments and ideas that lead up to the final decision. Ms. Barone stated that she would democratically pick the four students based on height and their ability to look older. This is an important idea associated with keeping the film opening and "current" scenes bealievable. We go to Casey Farm next week to start filming. They were encouraged to get everything ready for making the movie happen. If there are costumes, they need to be ready. The kids are still ready to go and willing to keep working hard. I think that starting the filming process next will get us all moving at an even higher level.

Reflecting on the work to date on the way home I relaized this is a natural break point in the project. The kids are getting ready to film next week and so this planning phase of the project is over and filming is going to start. I will write the cycle two about the work to date getting the filming written and ready for shooting. The important concept is that this project is capable of maintaining itself and the interest for the kids is self-driving. The project is to where it is because the kids are invested, willing, and creating. This is the power of the Student Provocateurs Project.

March 25th, 2007
Over last weekend, a vision was born. I was able to purchase the domain name “studentprovocateurs.com” and proceeded to create the new web page for the program. The creation of studentprovocateurs.com was a great process because it reminded me that this project is designed to go beyond this year and this year’s school. Student Provocateurs will continue to be a success if other school become interested in the program and ask to participate. The original vision for Student Provocateurs was to create a web space that contained an actual example of the program from start to finish with embedded video that showed the process for the kids, teachers, and school. The web page would also serve as a contact point for schools to learn about the programs philosophy and it’s founded, me.
This is why the creation of the webpage represents a vision of the future come true. It is very powerful to see a working webpage that is available for visitors and will grow with this years project. I am very encouraged by the response so far and even more excited about starting filming this week with the students.

Student Provocateurs Home Page

March 26th, 2007
I received an email response from Deb Barone this morning. It contained her responses to a few questions I had asked her on Friday to help me get some more information about the progress of the project to report on for Cycle 2. My questions are in black type and her responses are in red. A copy of the emial response is below.

 


Hey Deb,
I am writing the second of three cycle reports and need to gat a little information from you about the project so far. Hope that is OK. I have written some questions below. If you could give short answers and send back to be ASAP I would really appreciate it. I know that most of the question are opinion but I value you insights and take on things. Answer the best you can. Thanks!

Have you seen any changes in attendance since the start of the project? not really attendence at the school is normally very high

How are the student attitudes towards the project? Each other? Team members?
The students are very excited...they do have low or small voids when there is a demand for productivity at a high level...we only have certain time frames to work since we team teach they are responsible to be in other classes at certain times...so they are not with me all day...which would make it easier. You should think of the amount of time it takes a teacher to move from start to end...they(teachers) will want to know this before they buy your program.

They groups have changed dynamics a few times...the people that started out as strong leaders have backed off a bit and others have stepped forward(as they have learned they do have things to offer). The original leaders have learned (tough lesson) that a group is a group and all involved have a piece of to offer...so they have worked through some moods and anger...but now as I listen I hear all of the kids voices...laughing, sharing, discussing and growing while having a good time.

What would you rate the kids interest level at from 1 to 10 with 10 being the highest? Start of project and now? The start was an 8...then they dropped to a 5 when the work level increased(data, script, story board etc)....with your dropping in, my increased enthusiasium and the visit to location they revitalized....so now they are at a 10 and loving it!!!!!

In your opinion, who has moved into a leadership role and why do you think this? I see more group effort and listening to each other. Actually some of the quiet consistent kids have stepped forward...they seem to be the solid rocks...the consistent which keeps the group on task and flowing in the direction. The original leaders(often the more verbal kids have a spontinaity about them but a hard time with follow through so now we have a nice mesh ...which is so important for kids to learn and respect ...they all have differences and strong points and weak points......this project has really brought about a new level of acceptance and listening between the kids. also often girls are able to get on task faster...which was true in this situation...my all male group really had to get past trying to be "cool" once they shifted leadership roles and ideas started to come they forgot to worry about being "cool" which is fun to watch!!!!

What is the level of initiative among the students? How does their level of interest compare to other projects they have participated in? Extreme interested at this time as I mentioned above...they are very involved and are starting to see pieces coming together...some times they can see a whole picture but can not imagine the peces that are involved. These kids often put a high level of involvement into there work...especially projects...but this is very different...for each childs strong points are unveiling...and they can fly because they can focus on that..while someone else may love to write..vs some one who wants to draw...and so on ...so they are happy in their places an are thriving

What action have the students taken to be prepared to provoke dialogue among adults who watch the film? none yet

How is other faculty members/administrations attitudes towards the project? Administration and staff are excited not all of them realize what we are doing at this time...I don't think they realize the finer points of the project

Any thing else you want to add would be great! I had mentioned to you that as a teacher for 26 years...taking on something as open and new as this project was exciting yet a bit frightening...it is often easier to stay with what you know and are comfortable with. If teachers remember why they entered the field of education...for the love of kids and to teach/offer as much as we could to our younger ones....they can do this...it is one of those "Do you sit it out or do you dance?"...I hope teachers dance!! What a gift...to be given time and space to be kids, to be creative and to be proud of what they have done...out of the normal school curriculum

Thanks so much for taking some time to do this for me. I need to get the report out by the end of March.
good luck

Brad

April 3rd, 2007
The Lawn Ave students working on the Student Provocateurs film program captured themselves in rehearsals last week. They watched short clips from the student provocateurs website and reviewed and critiqued their efforts. They evaluated their speaking, sounding different, and body movements. They noticed that "stuff" was a big word used too often and that some of the scientific "facts" they offered were not 100% accurate. We are focusing on being more natural on camera and incorporating what they have learned from reviewing their work. It is also important to report that they had "great fun" watching themselves and working on getting better. Their teacher commented, "Made me realize that I really need to pay attention to that piece of the film."

April 10th, 2007
A few thoughts about one student...
I have a student in the Student Provocateurs program that has been removed from participating by his parents. He has struggled over the past years with his learning and this year his problems have continued. What has brought his issues to the forefront now is because of his struggling grades e has been pulled from his group on the film project. Additionally, his parents have claimed that the film project is propaganda and they do not want their child to be part of it. Let me first say that I am sorry he is no longer participating. I have seen him working with his group, adding and being productive, he seemed excited, engaged and to be learning. If he is learning, I say let him learn, let him grow, let him make his own determinations about the world. With that said, this represents a clear indication that the Student Provocateurs Program is a provocative one. He has created a dialogue between adults. His parents have made a decision based on the information that he has been sharing with them. This is a powerful process. I do not expect this to be an easy road. I hope that he is able to rejoin his group by May 2nd when we film for the last time.

5/2/07
Filming at the farm today. We had a lot to get through and very little time to get it all accomplished. The kids did need a bit of help getting things together and the role of director became very apparent. It was good that I was able to step into that role for the morning because there was a great deal to do and take care of. I had not taken the time to bring any students along into the role of student director for the project. It would have been a great advantage to have a student director to work along with me.

A clear need for future projects is to have a student producer and student director. It will need some consideration about developing these positions for future projects. Additionally, Deb and I talked about the great amount of work that she and I have done to keep the program moving forward. My original hope was for this program to become a sustainable model for other school. Currently, the program is very dependant on me and my time, effort, and expertise. I will be looking at ways to create a more sustainable model for the program overall.

5/7/07
The film project progresses. I have taken all the footage and moved it the computer. I find that it will be necessary for me to do a great deal of the editing of the film. What I have decided to do, for the sake of completing the film in a timely manner, is to do much of the editing myself. I have put all of the takes into a time line for the kids to watch. We will talk about editing collectively and I will integrate their suggestions into the editing. This will allow for them to be part of the editing process while getting it all done by the end of the month. I would also like to show them some of the things that I am doing during the editing process.

5/14/07
Editing the film with the students was much different than I had imagined. I believed that we would engage in a conversation about editing and that they would work with me to effectively edit the different scenes of the film. This is how we began but not how we progressed. They were interested in the editing process for a time but I did not remember the amount of time 6th graders can focus on a single task. Rookie mistake on my part. I did feel that they understood the process and benefited from our time together.

What is different is that I am left doing a great deal of the editing of their film. I guess that I saw this coming but have not realized it until now. I will go back to the school next week and show them what I have done and take last minute suggestions from them about the music and editing. I believe that this is the best for now. What I am thinking about now is how this program can survive in the future without the great attention and energy that Deb and I have given it. I am concerned that Student Provocateurs will need many more capable teachers and film makers to bring the vision of a national educational film program to reality.

I am appreciative of the efforts of the students and believe that they have learned and experienced a great deal. I wonder what effect the project will have on their understanding of the power of the message that they are delivering and what they will choose to do with what they have learned in the future. I will be asking them in personal interviews what they have learned and what they think about the program. It will be interesting to see what they have to say and believe after this experience.

5/21/07
Interview
I have written a press release and sent it to every newspaper and news organization in RI that I could think of. I had not herd anything for about a week and was thinking that there needed to be a second round. I was called last night by a reported for the Jamestown Press and asked to give an interview over the phone. It was a nice conversation and her style of interviewing made the material accessible to a broad audience. She is going to the school today and interviewing the students and taking some pictures. It will be great to have some local press coverage for the event.

I can’t help but think that this whole event can come and go without much attention at all. I hope for the student’s sake that the audience will be large and ask many difficult questions. I have help film debuts in the past but they have been of my work. This represents the student’s work and I think I am more nervous for them. I want to feel successful and have a proud moment to enjoy as part of their hard work.

June 2nd, 2007
FILM DEBUT
Last night, approximately 250 people showed for the premiere of “The Organic Truth: a child’s rights.” The student film was great. The audience enjoyed themselves, laughing and clapping there way through. The students were very proud of their work and it showed on their faces. Ms. Barone talked about her experience and Ms. Almanzor, the principal, spoke as well, and I talked about Student Provocateurs and the future of the project.

When the lights went down, and I hit play on the DVD, nothing happened. There was no sound. It also froze in the middle of the opening credits. I then opened the movie from the computer and tried to play it from there. Nothing happening. Mark Davis, former CEO of the Organic Center, an invited guest, stepped to the microphone and began talking about the organic industry and foods; buying me valuable time to fix the problem. I re-edited the film on the computer by removing the second audio line that contained the intro song, back ground music, fillers, and ending music.

The film played, sort of, at this point. It was not mirroring to the projector correctly and I had to arrange the desktop to make it visible for everyone. It only stopped twice during the playing of the film, there were only two names mixed-up on the credits, and the computer only went to sleep once. Overall, the audience seemed to love the film; technology not withstanding.

The technology issues did not start that night. The day before, around 1 pm, all of the edits were completed and the credits were rendered. I was burning it to iDVD, the mac software program, and it froze. I restarted the computer and on the screen was a picture of a file folder with a question mark in the middle. Turns out, this is a very bad sign. After about one hour on the phone with a mac technician, it was off to a local mac repair facility for an emergency visit. The technician quickly diagnosed the problem and said, “Your hard drive is dead. You need a new one.” Not the words I wanted to hear. No movie, no edits, no credits, no footage of any kind.

I drove home in disbelief, trying to think about what options I had and what to do. Call off the movie, reschedule, stay up all night and make a new one? I went with the latter, staying up all night and remaking the entire film from memory. It took about 15 hours to go back through all the tapes and footage and recreate what we had spent four weeks making the first time. I was able to burn a DVD just before leaving the house to go to the film premiere. The rest you already know…

BD