I stage a lot of plays and musicals in English. Since the Covid regulations prevent gathering an audience, I decided that this time a movie would work better. Movies also put less pressure on students since mistakes can be corrected.
I didn't look for a script, I wanted something about the students, something that would interest them. So I asked them what they like to do. We came up with some ideas. It was a learning experience for all. They practiced their English and also learned about filming and editing. I learned how to make bracelets, became familiar with TikTok and discovered Toca World.
At first they were nervous. Then one shy girl raised her hand and said that she would work on bracelets. That broke the ice and others started to volunteer. Some didn't want to speak and asked to work on scenery. On their own they found the materials, asked how to write "Bracelet Shop" in English, and spent some of their free time working on the sign. Then they decided how to set up the rest of the scene. On the day we filmed some children weren't there so one girl recruited her sister from the 2nd grade. Two girls decided to write a story in English and create a movie. I helped them translate the story and recorded them reading it. The rest they did on their own.
With TikTok I had to approve the lyrics, not an easy task. But they learned the dances and practiced. I asked them what they could say about the app. They also helped me edit the film and chose the transitions.
I'm proud that this is their work. My job isn't to teach, it's to help them learn. They practiced speaking English and learned some new vocabulary, but more important they learned to be creative, work as a group, and gained confidence. Things that can't be measured. In my mind, this is the difference between what I do and formal teaching.
As I write this, I am waiting along with 3,800 others for a decision about whether we will continue teaching this year. Because of the ongoing budget debate, the Karev enrichment program, along with many other important educational programs, may not be continued.
I've attached a link to the movie we made, adapted for the internet. I hope this won't be my "swan song" and that I will post more during the year.