Time for one last post before the Engaging Ed corporate jet lifts off for San Diego. (You would not believe how much Southwest pays us to paint it like one of their fleet!)
So a few months ago, I saw a tweet about ISTE’s Passion Based Learning Video contest. It was a call for educators to create videos featuring awesome lessons they had tried with students that led to amazing results and that inspired passion in students. On a whim, I created a video, wrote a lesson plan for it, and submitted it to the contest.
The topic? My fifth grade students’ exploration of the conflict in Syria. I’ve written about it on this blog before, and I always thought it was exciting and amazing work.
My fifth graders were learning about a devastating human rights crisis in a country half a world away, and in a way that allowed them to formulate arguments and develop empathy for a people living through atrocities that many Americans know nothing about. Personally, I think it’s a big deal that I helped 10 and 11 year olds learn about the oppressive regime of Bashar al-Assad’s, someone that I’m guessing at least 80 percent of all Americans couldn’t pick out of a line-up. Not for the sake of trivia, mind you, but because I want my students to understand that, as Thomas Freidman wrote, the world is flat, and what happens in a country 10,000 miles away impacts us here in America more so than ever before.
So, back to the video…I put together a video describing my students’ work and even included some of their opinions. AND it placed in the top six! The reward? The video (and the other finalists) will be featured during the conference kick-off reception and before EACH of the Keynote presentations! I am humbled and ridiculously excited, to say the least.
So, if you’re headed to San Diego for the conference and you see a video about fifth graders learning about Syria at any of those times …that’s me! And if you can’t make it to ISTE, check out the video embedded in this blog post by Steve Goldberg, my collaborator on this project.
Huge thanks goes out to ISTE for holding the contest, to Steve for being such a huge help (there’s no way I could have done this without him), and to my students for their enthusiasm and for reminding me the astounding things that young children are capable of.
When you see our video, and the other 5 finalists’ videos, be sure to be amazed and to take a minute and remind yourself why we come to this conference in the first place.