Friday, November 13, 2009

Planning is progressing -- Student VideoConference today!

Hi everyone -- Jesse here for Bialik's IT Staff with a short update on our progress.

The rest of our cameras arrived last week along with two tripods/dolleys. our 10 media hard drives arrived yesterday -- and while we are still waiting for a few odds & ends, with this equipment we will be able to begin our project!

Planning for this project was difficult and intense -- finding time to carve out of our already packed dual-streamed, four-language curriculum has proven to be a challenge, but we think we've succeeded by (hopefully) integrating this project in with other lessons and offsetting some more traditional coursework requirements.

To assist us with a successful project, we invited Nikos Theodosakis, a noted Canadian filmmaker and the creator of the "Director in the Classroom" program, to provide us with some PD, oversight and assistance. A first planning meeting with Nikos, Simona and I was followed up on our last Friday PD day with a 2-hour videoconference for Hanna and Yossi (our involved Jewish Studies classroom teachers) on "Filmmaking in the classroom", and further followed up on Monday with a lively discussion about the assignment as well as some "hands-on" time with the equipment. Throughout the past week, we have been refining our assignments (which we'll post shortly) to make sure that they're inclusive of higher-order thinking skills and offer ample outlets for creativity without being too broad.

This afternoon, Nikos, who is in Vancouver, will run a one-hour videoconference with our two pilot classes (a Grade 5 and Grade 7 class) to inspire them and help get them excited about becoming Jewish Studies filmmakers. We're VERY excited to be finally unveiling the project to our students, and we hope to have a follow-up post about this conference shortly!

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