by Bob Geary
What's the secret sauce that'll lift our public schools to better results? I think the recipe contains getting kids on their feet more ... and encouraging them to work in groups, helping each other so everyone does better.
Working alone is tedious; and, if your parents can't help, it's so much harder.
Groups are fun. Presenting as part of a group is fun and a real-world skill that can take you far.
Why shouldn't learning be fun?
Anyway, I love seeing stuff like this. (h/t: Mike Charbonneau at the Wake schools office.) It's a music video produced by a 5th-grade class at Pleasant Union Elementary School — in North Raleigh— and it won the grand prize in a competition with an interesting back story, about which more below. But first:
So the contest involved teachers and their students making music videos using one of many lyrics written by a guy who works at N.C. State.
He's Dr. Lodge McCammon, who's in the College of Education, and he writes "curriculum-based" songs about various subjects from social studies to, in this case, algebra.
Jeffrey Collins had his 5th-grade class do the one about deciding on the order of operations in an algebraic equation. Think about it: How important is getting the order of operations right in your life?
The "Dr. Lodge Video Challenge" was sponsored by a for-profit company, Discovery Education. It sells digital content to schools, so don't confuse it with a philanthropy. On the other hand, no reason to assume that because it makes money, it isn't producing good material.
I've excerpted the company's press release below.
Silver Spring, Md. (June 21, 2012) – Discovery Education has honored Pleasant Union Elementary students as the grand prize winners of the DEN Dr. Lodge Video Challenge, which asked classes across the country to select one of Dr. Lodge McCammon’s (Dr. Lodge) curriculum-based songs, learn the dance moves and film a music video. As the grand prize winner, Pleasant Union Elementary has been awarded an event with Dr. Lodge, a renowned education expert who writes songs and supporting materials about science, math, language arts and social studies topics for K-12 classrooms. The DEN Dr. Lodge Video Challenge was hosted by Discovery Education’s Discovery Educator Network (DEN), a community of tech-savvy educators who are passionate about teaching with digital media, sharing resources, collaborating and networking. Pleasant Union Elementary is part of the Wake County Public School System.
Jeffrey Collins’ fifth-grade class from Pleasant Union Elementary won for their music video about the order of operations – a critical topic in Algebra. During the event to celebrate their grand prize award, Dr. Lodge will perform the song while the class acts out their winning music video. The performance will be shared with their school and streamed to classrooms across the country.
“The DEN Dr. Lodge Video Challenge was designed to provide teachers an engaging and fun way to help students learn science, math, language arts and social studies by connecting concepts to music and movement,” said Kyle Schutt of Discovery Education. “We are proud to honor the students from Pleasant Union Elementary and their teacher Jeffrey Collins with the grand prize for their hard work and creativity.”
For the challenge, classes from across the country filmed their videos using the one-take technique (no transitions, digital effects or editing was permitted). A panel of judges selected the top 15 entries based on their content, organization and creativity. The top entries then appeared on the DEN Dr. Lodge Video Challenge website and the public voted to determine the grand prize winner.
In addition to the event with Dr. Lodge, Pleasant Union Elementary also will receive a Flipcam and backpacks for the winning students.
For more information about the DEN Dr. Lodge Video Challenge and to view the video created by Pleasant Union Elementary students, visit http://www.discoveryeducation.com/DEN/drlodgevideochallenge.cfm