My students need a camcorder to communicate with students from local and international schools about reading and writing projects.
One student last year said, "Mr. Hatch, why is it called Language Arts? Why not Reading and Writing?" It was one of those questions for which I had to improvise an answer (which I don't recall). Upon reflection, I realized how the "arts" part also includes non-text communication.
My students are hard-working, enthusiastic, and thoughtful young people who dive deeply into their books.
As their teacher, I see them come from backgrounds that I am amazed they survive. Our school is in a community with on average 90 violent crimes a week, which makes the lives of the students often very chaotic. Nonetheless, they manage to do (most) of their homework, listen to instruction, and concentrate on their writing and reading lessons. They are resilient and they are generally optimistic about their future. But in this day and age, they are also wanting to communicate through visual media. They are not strangers to texting and youtube and all the various ways one can be seen and heard. Without question, they are extremely expressive in person in ways their writing doesn't always capture. Camcorders can capture their naturally narrative skills and allow others to appreciate these skills.
Have you heard the series This I Believe? Our class is currently writing five paragraph essays about strongly felt beliefs. Some students write about the strength of their family, others about the waste bullies make at school, and still others the importance of goofy friends. Typically these essays get written, graded, and then usually tossed, but the sentiments that get captured in so many personal essays can impact students, both in our neighborhood and across the world. Here in our community, there are plenty of negative messages that get communicated; kids want and need to be inspired through personal messages. Our school site can host videos of our students, but we need a camera to record them reading their work. Later this semester we will be doing very short films exploring Socratic learning and what knowledge is particularly worth knowing. We will then share these with students from other classes in the neighboring high school and elementary school.
Our school is known for having short horizons - most kids won't graduate from high school.
A large chunk will be in the criminal justice system within five to eight years. Not much hope, so it is incumbent on us educators to lengthen their horizons, to have them stretch their sense of the possible, to get excited about learning. Getting on the screen and then sharing their thoughts with the world is an empowering act they will remember long after they have left my class.
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|Sanyo 4.0MP Camcorder with 2.7' Color LCD Widescreen - Black • Best Buy||$399.99||1||$399.99|
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