I serve a combination of gifted learners and high achievers from disadvantaged backgrounds in three rural middle schools in Edgecombe County, North Carolina. We live in an area where there are more deer than people and poverty is a way of life. An area where many homes don't have access to cable television or high-speed internet because the lines don't run out that far. All students eat a free lunch because the county is so poor.
Most of my students dream of having the same opportunities and resources that most schools take for granted.
For example, core content classes are the only classes where my students have regular access to Chromebooks. In my Academically & Intellectually Gifted (AIG) enhancement class, we have no computers since there is no funding for Chromebooks for elective classes. How are my students supposed to be prepared for 21st-century jobs without exposure to 21st-century technology?
Despite their socio-economic challenges, my students are bright, inquisitive, motivated, and eager to learn. They stretch me to my limits as a teacher with their thirst for knowledge, particularly in the areas of science and technology. They are the best hope we have to return prosperity to our economically deprived community.
This past winter we got a project funded to provide stop motion animation cameras along with LEGO movie-making sets for our class. However, when the sets came in, they just did not contain enough LEGOs for all groups to build the sets they wanted to have for their stop motion films. These new LEGO sets would supplement the Legos we have, allowing more creative filming options while also enabling students to leave their filming sets intact between filming sessions.
Students will write and produce their own stop motion animation parody film retelling a famous story of their choosing.
This will combine ELA storytelling and writing skills along with important STEM skills including building and film production and editing. The goal is to have them develop their skills in analyzing a text and transforming it into a new and original format in a fun way.
My students are very excited about this project, and I think this will make an awesome assignment to come back to after our COVID-19 break.
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