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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

DKG - Connecting Women Educators

Many years ago I would listen during lunch to my colleague and principal talk about attending a "DKG" meeting after school.  As they chatted I used to tease them by referring (lovingly) to their club as "The Old Ladies Club" (for which I would always be reprimanded).   That nickname stuck until about 10 years ago when they both decided to nominate ME as a member. (They probably figured that would stop the teasing!)

At the time of my induction, my friend, Peg, said that the Delta Kappa Gamma International Society would be a way that we would always stay connected even during retirement. She also said "there's something special and powerful about being in a room full of women educators." She was always promoting the efforts of women in society.

Fast forward...for eight years.  As a member I attended meetings sporadically, but never put much effort into being a 'true' member.  I didn't see what all the fuss was about.  I don't think I fully appreciated my friend's sentiment until recently.

Fast forward...two more years. During this time I have had the opportunity and honor to be more involved by becoming a Committee Member specifically working with Scholarships.   At a couple of the Chapter meetings I have offered to present topics involving Technology.  Being more involved has help me build some nice relationships.

Attending those Board and Chapter meetings has afforded me the circumstances to meet women educators from many different backgrounds. Some were teachers more than 50 years ago while some are currently teaching.  Some are administrators while others are music teachers.  Some have been members for 25 years while others have been members for two.  All of them making a difference in the lives of those they taught or continue to teach.  These women think of others when they create and distribute Literacy Bags to those less fortunate, make donations to the local Food Pantries and send gifts to the Shriners Hospital. Certainly a group of which to be proud.

Today, while racing after school to attend a Chapter Meeting at a nearby High School, I realized that the DKG has been connecting women long before Twitter started connecting educators.  I realized that there are people willing to collaborate and share their knowledge who are right in our own backyard.  I realized that there IS a special bond among these 'women educators'.  "There IS something special and powerful about being in a room full of women educators." 

Listen to the Delta Kappa Gamma International Society for Key Women Educator's Song HERE.  Surely, you can see we belong to an organization like no other.

What organizations do you belong to where you feel inspired?

Above graphic created with Pinwords


Saturday, March 16, 2013

Genius Hour - For the Teacher!

"Quiet on the Set! We're ready to record! 3, 2 1 Action!" shouts the director.  The long wait was over...finally, the students were in front of the Green Screen, behind the camera and handling the teleprompter.

Last year a colleague and I wrote a grant for the "Green Screen Chroma Key Project"  The idea was to work with the kids to create a movie as a way to share something related to their learning.  Using a Green Screen background allows you to add whatever background you like in the editing process. It took quite a while just to order the "Green Screen," camera, and software.  When it finally arrived we were on our Winter break.   

The weeks passed and still I hadn't started the process with the students.  On Thursday of this week I decided to take the last hour of the day and have my own GENIUS HOUR.  I needed to take a chance, take a risk to figure out the whole "Green Screen" idea.  While students worked at their desks I began setting up for the video shoot.  It took more time than anticipated to set up the lights, lighting umbrella and camera.   After what seemed like an eternity, we were ready to begin.

The day before several students volunteered to write a brief script which they then quickly typed into the iPrompt Teleprompter app Waiting patiently and with anticipation the class watched as their volunteers started taking part in the process.  Camera people and teleprompter holders were selected and we were good to go.  After witnessing the process and first recording session  the remainder of students became interested in writing scripts.

A self-professed MAC girl, it wasn't easy getting used to the PC based Corel VideoStudio Pro X5.   After many failed attempts and spending a couple hours after school with a colleague we figured out the basics (which will be shared with the students at a later date).

When creating the student videos the day following the video-shoot, I asked each student to sit with me and choose their background pictures and music.  Text was added and then we uploaded the new video to Youtube. Unveiling the videos in class was worth the wait as the oohs & aahhs from the crowd affirmed this was going to be a project that would easily fit into many lessons.

Check out the first video and see for yourself the power of "The Green Screen Chroma Key Project!".

A True Genius Hour ends with Lessons Learned:
  • Check out all equipment right after purchase.  Do not wait - some items may be missing or broken (in this case - the lightbulb sockets).
  • Let the kids help - they are less fearful and more willing to take chances.  The students figured out some great features of the Teleprompter.
  • Lighting in a project such as this is important. You should use more than one!
  • Standing several feet in front of the screen works better than right against it.
  • Student Holding Teleprompter should be close to EYE level for actor.
  • Start with a small production (1 minute) which will be manageable & offer success.
  • Save Often!
  • Be patient.
  • Enjoy the process!
Sometimes we need to give ourselves the time needed to learn and try new things as well.  It shows our students that we are life long learners as well!

Have you given yourself a Genius Hour lately?  Please share! 

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