Monday, March 7, 2016

Kate's March Pause for the Cause

  • Overall, how did today go, and what was the vibe by the time the session ended?
  • What support / help do you and your students need from us?
  • On April 2, we hope that each team can present their works in progress to receive peer feedback. What do you anticipate your team bringing?

The Act 77 Group is an excited and highly functioning group; on Saturday, they were eager to start working together right away. And they did, working predominantly on their own for the day.

They finished their final footage for the documentary--interviewing each other about Act 77/What's the Story. They reviewed Ella's draft of the website and Jacob's current construction of the documentary. Alexa also decided to write a letter that requests administrator's across the state show their documentary to their teachers as a way to foster dialogue about how schools are/will live up to Act 77's vision.

Each students designated their own individual plan, and I am confident they will seek support from us when they need it.

On the April 2nd date, I anticipate the group presenting an near final stage of their documentary, website, and letter to administrators.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Ben's March Pause for the Cause

Saturday was a good and productive day. It really helped that, after an hour of us tslking at them and having them read through the letters and KUDs, they got the opportunity to get messy, talk, get their hands dirty with working, and just be free. The Solsr group made a lot of progress. However, as indigo said, we need to make sure we keep this momentum going. I'm trying to get them to meet for at least an hour again sometime this week to build on their momentum. At this point, they're still not ready to tackle the other menu items, but we'll monitor that progress.

I don't think we need anything other than the time, space and freedom to work.

On April 2nd, I would expect that my group has a draft (probably a VERY rough draft) of their video.


Courtney's March Reflection

The Emergency Dispatching Group seems to have a fairly clear path forward.  Each member has taken ownership of one product, and there is one student doing most of the editing of the video.  I think the logistical reality that only one student can be the main video editor was causing a rift in this group, but the additional products seem to have allowed for all the students to take ownership over something meaningful, which is helping everyone feel that his/her work is valued, I think.  These additional products might actually be the glue that brings this group together in the end. 

I think this group will need support in two ways: They will need deadline reminders and we could continue to push them in a constructive way to see that their work is their very best.  I will work with one student in particular to make sure she understands the task before her. 

On April 2, our group will be ready to show a draft (maybe close to finished?) of their documentary.  They will also be able to show their website, which will house a variety of other products, which will most likely be in different stages of completion. 

Colleen's March Reflection


Yesterday's work session went very well. Our four DCF students broke out into two groups at the beginning--two students worked on creating a story board for the documentary, while two others watched Tim's tutorial about using Power Director. Immediately the student who is mainly in charge of editing the documentary, felt better about the editing process. The group story boarding generated a lot of great energy around the project and their story board makes me feel like they've really and truly (and FINALLY) solidified their story, purpose, and audience. By the end of the session the group felt organized and energized.  

As usual, Laurie and I have set up a communication plan with the students, and we hope they follow through on that plan. There are deadlines in place (one next Saturday and another a few days later), and hopefully these short term goals and deadlines will help keep the students on track. I find that when a deadline is more than a week away it's easier to procrastinate, so I think these shorter deadlines will be good for our group. I don't think Laurie and I need anything, but further questions may arise from Adrienne in a few weeks, as she gets deeper into the editing process. 

I'm really glad Bill, Tim, and Bob came up with the idea to have students review the KUD. It helps remind everyone why we are here and what we hope each of them will accomplish. 

I believe that the DCF group will have a first draft of their documentary by April 2, and I can't wait to see it! 

Thanks all--what a great day! 


WTS: March Work Day Reflection

Good Sunday Morning,

Yesterday students were fully engaged, and I think the most important aspect for all three groups was to reconnect in person (We've heard this before; so much of the feedback last year was for more time to meet with each other).

All students were on time except one, who arrived 20 mins late, which was a bit of a bummer, but we started without him. He seemed to get caught up quickly, but it's the unsaid statements that behavior send that bothered me a bit and worried me about the impact on his team, which is already the most fragile team of the three that met in Middlebury, in my view.

At about 10:15am until almost 11am, all three groups meeting in Middlebury came together, were presented the letter, had a couple minutes to read, looked at the KUDs individually, and then they were presented with the Menu of Products and asked to meditate on what interested them. Next, we were able to hear from the Education Reform group about how they are already going beyond the documentary for each individual to demonstrate proficiency and growth in these areas. Those peer examples seemed to be powerful for the other two groups.

We also discussed the notion of not just creating products but thinking ahead to ways to deliver those products to targeted audiences. We discussed going on a local (Middlebury Comunity Television) show that talked about issues and community figures, presenting at open comment periods at public meetings at the municipal, school, and state level.

Next, teams broke out into different rooms to share what products individuals had identified, were interested in pursuing, and how those products work together.

I went with my group: Emergency Dispatch Cuts:

One particular student was quite obviously put-off because she had not been in control of the work on the documentary and seemed to mis-remember verbal agreements the group seemed otherwise clear about. The good news is that by the end of the day, she seemed to like being in control of a new product: a website! I think this sense of autonomy and control is just what she needed and has been very challenged by working in groups: something "the best" students in our schools would be challenged by because extended collaboration is not part of the educational landscape most of the time.

I've racked my own thinking a lot over the last two weeks thinking what is lost and what is won as we have asked students to work as groups. Saturday helped build back my resolve around the benefits and unique hard work we are asking students to do in collaborative ways. There are almost no other ways in which students are asked to work collaboratively for extended periods of time outside of athletic fields, and that is such a different experience than academics, research, social change, etc.

I think our group will have a completed a "best draft" of their video documentary by April 2nd, a website, shorter videos that edit down full interviews for archival purposes on the website, and letter to the editor for wide publication in local VT newspapers. They may have more.

At this point, I expect April 2nd to be a time where many groups present what they have created, receive peer-feedback, and use the remaining 3 hours or so as work time to tighten the screws on these pieces. And, I look to the May retreat to primarily reflect on the KUDS/LS and link evidence in a final and revised piece of writing and perhaps continue to make final adjustments on products and share those with change-makers.

Something all of our radars:

Video submissions for the Freedom and Unity TV contest (Vermont youth film contest) is due by April 14. Another contest run by Castleton University for our youth is due by April 21nd.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

March 5 Workshop with the DCF group at South Burlington
  • Today went well.  
  • The students forged new bonds and I appreciate how they welcomed Lydia back into the fold.  Adrienne  now feels confident and relaxed about the editing.  The students created a storyboard and there is a task list with deadlines.  Most importantly, they have agreed to check their email daily and respond back within 24 hours.
  • The students need to be HOUNDED (shouting intended) by Tim and Bill if they break their communication promise.  Colleen and I will let you know if this happens.  They listen better to you.
  •  Our team will bring a rough first draft to the April meeting.
  • Thanks to Bill and Bob for being here as well.

Saturday, March 5 Workshop

Our students had a productive four-hour session today. They were swift and decisive in identifying who needed to work on what project. Before lunch, Adrienne took on the task of learning PowerDirector, which seemed to come easily to her after watching Tim's tutorial video. (Thanks, Tim!) Meanwhile, Marianna and Alex created a storyboard outlining the video documentary, while Lydia drafted an email to WCAX to gauge their interest in the group's story. After lunch, the students projected the storyboard, added to it, and decided what needed to be done to fill in the gaps. They made a to-do list and divided responsibilities. Now, near the end of the session, everyone seems to have a fairly good sense of what's expected of them between now and their next meeting.

In terms of extra help, Adrienne may need more support with PowerDirector down the road, and Lydia may need some extra communication to ensure she stays in the loop. Aside from that, I think we're good for the time being.

Since this is my first time working closely with the DCF group, I'm not familiar with their work pace and so I'm not quite sure what to expect for our April 2 meeting; however, I think we can reasonably hope for a fair amount of narration, both written and voice recorded, that gives a more concrete structure to their work. This should be shared with Adrienne, the point person for video, as early as possible so she has enough time to add and edit video footage in conjunction with it. Overall, the group worked well together today and I look forward to seeing what they've completed by next month.

Emily's Reflection for Saturday, March 5

Hi All,

This has been a great, productive day for "Breaking Binary." The time was so valuable, and the three members of the group collaborative beautifully. It was so cool to see them come together and look at what they have accomplished with pride, and then set themselves goals for the 4 hours. They worked right up to the end, and would have kept going had I let them!

I don't think they need our support over the next few weeks, but I will keep checking over the next few weeks. They have a great documentary, but really high standards...I think they are going to pull it off, and they are aware that they may need to cut part of what they want to do if they can't get to it.

On April 2, this group will have a complete draft of the documentary, a formal letter that will be sent to schools about the documentary, and a website draft. They will be ready for peer feedback, but would love to use the bulk of the 2nd to continue working together on polishing the documentary and finalizing the website. Will they have that time then?

Thanks for making this day work and for organizing so clearly!