By Karolina Manko, Education Assistant07.25.14
Today marks the close of the 2014 Summer Teachers Institute. It’s been a full and busy week of thoughtful discussion, creation, and participation.
For K-5 grade educators in Thomas Frankie’s Focus on Nature session, the latter half of the week began with an engrossing presentation by landscape ecologist, Eric Sanderson, on his new interactive project, Mannahatta2049. The project asks the public to develop and share their visions for an ecologically sustainable city. The Focus on Nature participants spent the rest of their session shooting and editing a collective documentary on ecological-consciousness in Pleasantville, NY.
The theme of individual responsibility and collective partnership also resonated in Peter Nelson’s session for 6-12 grade educators, Choosing Ourselves: The Roles We Play which was presented in collaboration with Facing History and Ourselves. Participants in this session discussed how personal experiences affect teaching styles and classroom politics. Educators watched films, examined texts, and discussed strategies to help combat bigotry and to cultivate a school culture of compassion.
To understand the self is an integral part of practicing empathy for others- a fundamental skill for both teachers and storytellers. In Rob Morton’s Short Form Viewing and Writing session, 6-12 grade educators watched various short films like The Record Breaker and discussed how universal truths are the seeds of great stories. Short films, in general, are a fantastic resource for teaching analytical and critical thinking skills, and screenable in a 45-minute period!
While it’s important to teach students how to be thoughtful consumers of media, it’s equally important to empower them to be creators as well. In From Viewing to Doing: Stop Motion Animation, animator-in-residence, Joe Summerhays spent the latter half of this week getting Pre-K – 12 grade teachers involved in the hands-on creation of 2D animated films. The group learned how to shoot and edit in iMovie, telling original visual stories, one frame at a time.
Today also marks the final day of our week-long session for elementary educators, The Joy of Writing: See Hear Feel Film. Anne Marie Santoro, designer of the JBFC’s very first education program, See Hear Feel Film, led participants in this interactive workshop that applied the tools of filmmaking to teaching writing skills. They explored how viewing, writing, and storyboarding provide inspiration and motivation for young communicators.
Although Summer Teachers Institute has wrapped, we’re grateful to all of our eager participants for their willingness and their dedication to advancing media education in the classroom. Thank you to everyone who contributed their time and expertise!