Great Global Videos And Resources

Student Products: Engaging to Stop Ebola in Sierra Leone

12/14/2014
I am excited to share two new products from students in the United States who have been working closely with Hindogbae and the Bumpe Ngao Chiefdom in Sierra Leone.  Both of these schools work closely with World Leadership School on their global initiatives.  Congratulations to all on these inspiring student-driven products!Town School for Boys (San Francisco, California) has been doing a project on exponentials in their high school Algebra class (8th grade).  Once they realized, through the math, that a donation now has more impact than it will in even a few weeks, they mounted a fundraising campaign to support the grassroots work in Bumpe.  Please see and share their video below.  Teachers: Hilary McArthur and Garrett Frank.
The Madeira School (McLean, Virginia) is doing a project on Ebola eradication in a new course called Contemporary Issues in Science (12th grade).  Their first product, which is embedded below, is a Public Service Announcement for use in Bumpe Ngao Chiefdom, which was created at Hindo’s request–and which features a Mende soundtrack students found on the CDC website. Their second product, a documentary film designed to explain the science and engage a western audience, will be finished in early January, 2015.  Teacher: Ashley Johnson.

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Here are a few reflections from Ben, the Town School student who did the bulk of the film editing for his team:“I really enjoyed this project, and I think that as we have grown to be 8th graders, the projects we do more apply to real world topics. This has pushed me to take more care in my work and create meaningful products for very real dilemmas such as Ebola. I spent most of my Tuesday night finishing our poster and video at school, something I probably wouldn’t have done if the overall goal of the project hadn’t meant what it did. These kinds of projects are also open-ended and allows the students to contribute in their own ways, and in my case, making a video. That is a great segue into my role in this 8th grade project. I joined the video team along with Ethan and Freddie. My decision was based on that fact of an video idea I had before the brainstorm. I knew I couldn’t make as much of a difference on the bake sale, assembly, or the other teams, and that making a video was a way I could help the cause the most. I wanted to start small, advertising for Hindo’s cause in our community. The video is underway now but here is the initial storyboard:Overall this project was a realization of the Ebola epidemic. Being here in the US, I often forget of the problems that don’t involve myself. But after talking to Hindo and hearing about his experiences, I really wanted to do something. To help in anyway I could for the people of West Africa and give to people like Hindo.As for the math part, Exponential equations are also a very real thing. Especially when discussing and predicting things that grow rapidly, they will be a great addition to our math arsenal.

Humanizing the World through the Creative Arts: The WORDshop and an Argument for Art’s Sake

5/20/2013

“COMMONSENSE HAS TRAMPLED DOWN MANY A GENTLE GENIUS WHOSE EYES HAD DELIGHTED IN SOME TOO EARLY MOONBEAM OF SOME TOO EARLY TRUTH… COMMONSENSE AT ITS WORST IS SENSE MADE COMMON, AND SO EVERYTHING IS COMFORTABLY CHEAPENED BY ITS TOUCH.  COMMONSENSE IS SQUARE WHEREAS ALL THE MOST ESSENTIAL VISIONS AND VALUES OF LIFE ARE BEAUTIFULLY ROUND, AS ROUND AS THE UNIVERSE OR THE EYES OF A CHILD AT ITS FIRST CIRCUS SHOW.” –VLADIMIR NABOKOV

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by Jody Lynn Nye, from http://twentytwowords.com/
Many years ago, I had the good fortune to meet and work with poet and legend Nikki Giovanni.  It was just after 9/11, and I remember driving her around Denver in my old Subaru and her talking to me like she’d known me for years.  In particular, she lamented the fact that we were turning to poetry for consolation only after tragedy has struck, when really we should realize that it offers preventative medicine and could keep us out of conflict to begin with.  If only we could use our creativity to help us connect across boundaries and share our most authentic experience and perspective with each other, from our joys to the grit under our fingernails, maybe we could start to understand each other and recognize how interconnected our lives really are.Audre Lorde put it best: “…poetry is not a luxury. It is a vital necessity of our existence. It forms the quality of the light within which we predicate our hopes and dreams toward survival and change, first made into language, then into idea, then into more tangible action. Poetry is the way we help give name to the nameless so it can be thought. The farthest horizons of our hopes and fears are cobbled by our poems, carved from the rock experiences of our daily lives.”I have to be honest–I’ve gotten really tired of having workshops on humanizing the world through the creative arts turned down by conferences which consider themselves innovative.  I’m tired of how hard it is to convince anyone anymore that artistic expression matters for its own sake, not just when embedded into the latest STEAM initiative.  My heart is still that of a creative writing teacher, the daughter and granddaughter of musicians and artists, someone who wants to bring out the best in students’ ability to express themselves, who wants to bring something to life for students, through writing, that is about living with a deeper sense of connection to our common human experience, that is about communicating across the boundaries which separate us, and being our most authentic selves with each other.My colleague Erin Sanchez and I have developed a new project we would love to bring into your schools,“The WORDshop.”  We want to create a safe and transformative space which helps your students connect with themselves, the world, and their own best words to describe their experiences.  We want students to connect with their best, weirdest, most important visions of the world and learn to evoke them for others.  Please scroll down in the flier below for more information.Below the flier, please find a few of my favorite poetry videos.  Let them help you connect with something deeply human, let them draw you to the pen, the brush, the chisel, the camera, the piano, the cello, whatever it is that you speak through best. Remember what it means to be alive, and then share your favorites with your students and other people you love.  Make creativity matter again, even just by valuing art for art’s sake.

Still one of my all-time favorites, “Yellowbird” is Andrea Gibson’s swan song in support of arts and creativity.
“To This Day” is an exceptional spoken word and digital production by Canadian poet Shane Koyczan.
Anis Mojgani’s “For Those Who Can Still Ride in Airplanes” offers a modern take on the same themes as W. B. Yeats’ “Stolen Child.”
This is Sonya Renee Taylor’s favorite performance of her poem “Beautiful,” and the revelations are mind blowing.
This nearly wordless film is a poem. “With a Piece of Chalk” reminds me of the
gifts beneath every rough surface and hard experience, and it makes me wish
every classroom could be as safe as that empty warehouse,
a space where the gifts of every child can flourish.