Frustration = writing

My school district approved a text which, had I been around to help out, I would not have chosen. It is confusing and frankly way over the heads of my students (considering most of my students were placed in the class because they are required to have an elective and are just now beginning to realize they can have fun and learn…but that’s another story, as is the fact most are below basic in reading and math skills). Anyhow, I had that textbook in the classroom and only used it once. I’ve been working off a list of what I believe students need to know to produce good stories, using the assignments on this blog to gradually build their knowledge. However, the lack of a text of some type for them to refer to is frustrating for both me and the students.
Solution – I guess I’m gonna have to make my own “text.” I operated at my last school with a list of resources and a CD with all assignments and examples of the type of projects I expected students to produce. It worked. This time I have all summer to put together a binder, complete with the following:
Table of contents
Class expectations
Class rules/procedures
List of required materials
Lab fee explanation
Equipment waiver
Movie waiver
Objectives (what students are expected to learn – they will check these off as they achieve each goal)
Assignments (team powerpoint, basic, animation, autobiography, dvd)
iLife (iMovie, iPhoto, iTunes, iDVD, Garage Band) overview and instructions
Equipment diagrams (camera and tripod)
Insert with CD (student examples)
That’s it for the beginning students. The nice thing is, I can adapt and change as we get new gear or students move up to the intermediate/advanced classes – they can just add sections to their binder. This also gets me going on planning for a summer video boot camp I’m teaching at a local college as well as long term plans for the training section of think-news.
I’d appreciate hearing from you what lessons you feel are important for the rank beginner – the person who has a consumer camera and thinks they know it all (hey,they’re kids and they don’t know how little they do know). Or not. Let me know what you wanted to know (or want to know) when you first picked up a video camera and started shooting.
By the way – taxes are done (ouch), planning for the most part for school is done…just sliding into the last six weeks right now…and I’m down to one daughter in the house (and two out in the world).


2 thoughts on “Frustration = writing

  1. What a great class. Total immersion in the basics… and more.

    One of my most valuable media tools is the AP Style Book ( I still have my 1992 copy. It’s been stuffed into my gear bag for many years (and looks it). Gonna buy a new one online today. Also California Newspaper Publishers Association’s ( “Reporter’s Handbook on Media Law.” I’ve still got the pre-911 copy, but they are releasing the 2007 version this month (gonn buy that too). It’s bound so you can fit it in your back pocket for quick reference. I actually had mine in my photo vest when I got “cuffed” for tresspassing during a student high school protest in ’98 (refused to leave a public sidewalk– all charges dropped later). Both books are extremely useful for quick reference.

  2. Thanks Kathleen
    My plan is to use the binder “text” as the basis for the class, but have a couple of bookshelves of reference books and magazines, as well as online resources for students to refer to. The binder will include research assignments eventually, and students will be expected to look up information and create PowerPoint presentations, which they will present to the class…class will take notes during presentations and then I will test on information they present. Subject areas will include law, history, ethics and more.
    The AP Style Book is most definitely on that list of reference books – thanks for reminding me.

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