Not too long ago we were just some students with a passion for making videos (myself included because I'm a beginner). It was a film shown in the first assembly that grabbed the schools attention. I made a fun infomercial to explain what type of device was approved for class. After that, more and more kids wanted to make videos for our assemblies. The student council had some talented film producers and so did GIN. I grabbed the most talented student and asked her to help build a program. Gradually, we gained some traction and started meeting as a group once a week.
We had 2 cameras and only one of them had a working battery. We had dozens of wires that I still don't know what they're for. Luckily the kids had their own cameras. We discovered it doesn't take much filming to make a great film, We have Adobe premiere pro and effects as our a editing software . The hard part was deciding what to produce. Was it just for fun and games or was it to get an important message out to kids? Either way we had to compete with our neighbor and friendly rival ISHCMC who had a whole program devoted to video production. We settled on the idea that our videos would unite the school and community in an entertaining way.
The professional development I attended in Manila, Learning 2, which is the source of a lot of this years ideas, lead to another development in our group. Three students at the International School of Manila held a cohort for a school news channel. The Bamboo Telegraph is entirely student ran with state of the art of equipment. The Program has been around for 20 years. Those kids were so talented and so confident speaking in front of a room full of teachers (I think they knew they were brighter than us). If I wanted to build our schools group within my two year contract I knew we had to act fast. Upon my return to ISHCMC American Academy I asked the video club to think of a name so we could buy the domain. Behold The Sunbear Sound
We are currently working with the school magazine to develop a fully online platform for appropriate, school related articles and entertainment that is entirely produced by the students.
Here is a taste of what we produce:
Not too long ago my class started something called a passion project. This slightly mimicked Google's Genius hour. My instructions started off kind of sloppy and unorganized. I felt as thought I confused my student. However, we went back to our passion project every Friday. Students would spend about 30 minutes on this project every Friday in class. The students were also instructed to spend more time on their own outside of class.
Two key points for any teacher who wants implement a passion project concept.
Develop a weekly/ biweekly check-in. - I found that when I checked in with students from week to week, they made much more progress than if I let them hand it in at the very end (I compared two years of passion projects and the second year I was much more diligent with my check-ins). The monitoring and feedback sessions we had together turned out to be really helpful for the kids.
Help them find their passion- The number one complaint of students will be, "I don't know what I am passion about. " Sit with them, talk to them, interview them, help them choose an area to focus. In the past I have assigned students a passion just to get them started, As it turns out, knowing what they don't like helps them find what they do like.
Be flexible, show your own example, show off students working hard and good luck.