Education Opinion

Making Our OWN News: Be the Source for some Good News for Schools!

By Anthony Cody — March 11, 2011 6 min read
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The great radio news man Scoop Nisker used to sign off with the phrase, “If you don’t like the news, go out and make some of your own.”

Many of us have not been too happy with the news for a while now. And some of us are taking matters into our own hands. As part of building for this summer’s Save Our Schools March in Washington, DC, we are creating some video segments to build awareness. They will be posted on YouTube and Facebook. We are working with talented film creators Amy and Tom Valens, who recently premiered the wonderful documentary August to June.

We are turning to all of you, using an approach called “crowdsourcing.” This means that instead of one or two people spending months gathering images and video clips, we are relying on the ingenuity and input of thousands. Are you game?

Here is the way this will work. Below are the scripts for four short video spots, each less than a minute long. Each segment is focused on one of the four most important aspects of education: teachers, students, parents and schools as a whole. You can listen to the segments as they are read aloud - and imagine the images that might go along with the words. Our narrator is Jim Griffiths, a long time Bay Area actor whose company World Of Tales performed for many years in the public schools.

Here are the scripts:

Teacher Version

Here’s to the teachers.

The ones who taught us to draw outside the lines.

The ones who opened wonderlands
of books and of numbers,
of questions and of curiosity.

The ones who went beyond just filling out bubbles
to get us to actually think for ourselves.

The best teachers do not give us all the answers.
The best teachers get us to question the answers we have been given.

We are standing with our teachers
at the Save Our Schools March on July 30 in Washington, DC.

Join us!

Student Version

Here’s to the students.

The ones who refuse to be standardized.

The ones who insist on learning their own way.

The ones who push the boundaries.

When their learning is reduced to a test score,
When they are crammed into classrooms
With little regard for their individual needs,
We are in danger of losing a generation.

Our kids deserve more respect from us than that.

Let’s celebrate students,
And make our schools places where they will thrive.

We are standing with our students
At the Save Our Schools March on July 30 in Washington DC.

Join us!

Parent Version

Here’s to the parents - and grandparents too.

The ones who care for our nation’s children.

The ones who struggle to break through
The chatter of electronic screens and peer pressure
To keep our children focused on what really matters.

The ones who want public schools
That are exciting places for exploration and growth,
Not treadmills of worksheets and standardized tests.

Because our kids are unique and wonderful,
And they have a tremendous capacity to learn.

Parents, teachers and students will all stand together this summer
At the Save Our Schools March on July 30 in Washington, DC.

Join us!

School Version

Here’s to our public schools,

To our hopes and dreams for the future,
To the breeding grounds of our democracy.

They have taken some hard knocks lately.

Now, when times are tough,
our neighborhood schools need us the most.

Let’s give them support, not scorn.

So they can give our children what they need most:

A chance to imagine, explore, and create a world
That is better than the one they have today.

We are taking a stand for our schools this summer,
At the Save Our Schools March on July 30 in Washington DC.

Join us!

We have created a list of ideas for images that we need.
You may have some of these in your own photo album already. Or you may be able to create a few with your own students or children. Please make sure you have parental permission for any images or video of students that you send.

Here is one of the first images I received -- Thanks Mary Kim Schreck!

We are looking for powerful images. If there is some humor to the image, all the better. These can be still images or short video clips - no more than ten seconds or so, and can come from any era. You can email images to me, at anthony_cody@hotmail.com. If you have a video clips, just upload them to YouTube and send me the link.

Here are some ideas:
For the teacher spot:
Irreverant images of teachers (i.e. funny, like the famous one of Einstein sticking out his tongue).
someone who is in the act of teaching.
Adult hand holding a small animal (frog, chick, snake, guinea pig, praying mantis...), or plant material
Classroom shot that shows a rich learning environment ( puppet stage, blocks, science project, murals, clay, cooking)
Teacher and children:

  • laughing together
  • shooting rockets
  • looking through binoculars
  • reading a picture book
  • building a structure (newspaper bridge? Geodesic dome?)
  • walking on a trail
  • watching at a construction site
  • working with hands-on math materials (tangrams, unifix cubes, pattern blocks...)
  • involved in a play or puppet show
  • releasing butterflies
  • listening attentively
  • in a yoga position
  • measuring something
  • at a ropes course
  • sticking fingers in water

Very specifically we also need an image of:
Someone blowing bubbles
An adult artist or a child painting or drawing with abandon ( outside the lines)

For the parent spot:

  • Child on parent’s back
  • Parent
  • rocking a crying child
  • feeding a child
  • putting child to bed
  • reading to a child
  • cooking with a child (look for humor here)
  • putting on a bandaide
  • being vomited upon
  • roasting marshmallows
  • roller blading (awkwardly?) with child
  • running next to a child learning to ride a bike
  • waving good-bye as child heads off to school
  • walking child to school door
  • stooping to look at something a child is holding
  • jumping into a pile of leaves,
  • with a child who is wearing something unusual ( funny hat, oversized glasses, super hero outfit)
  • with a child who is doing something unusual (walking on a tight rope, standing on his head, holding her pet pig, playing the tuba)

For the student spot:

Children of many variations in one picture
A child

  • Balancing a book on her head
  • Writing in an awkward position
  • Walking backwards
  • Dressing himself (look for humor)
  • Wearing something unusual
  • Holding on to the railing at the ice skating rink
  • Drawing (playing the piano?) with her toes
  • Putting on make up
  • Jumping from a high place
  • Riding a bike with no hands
  • Skate boarding
  • Looking under a log
  • Touching something tentatively
  • Singing
  • Laughing
  • Fingerpainting
  • Doing something with great concentration

Children taking a test
Child’s hand filling in a multiple choice bubble
Many children squeezed into a small space ( look for humor)
Overcrowded classroom

For the school spot:
Exteriors of schools that include words Public School or P.S.--rural, urban, suburban, fancy, in need of repair.
Children arriving at or leaving school--getting off the school bus, walking up the front steps, lining up in the yard, greeting teachers, eating or serving a school lunch
Students active in classrooms--raising hands, working in small groups, digging in the school garden, performing in front of their classmates, demonstrating something they have made, tacking something on to a bulletin board
Children holding hands, comforting another child,
People demonstrating in support of teachers and public schools--shots of particularly catchy signs

For the final line of all the spots
: Adults and children holding signs supporting schools or teachers.

photo by Mary Kim Schreck, used by permission.

What do you think? Can you send us some images or video clips? Are you ready to make some news today?

The opinions expressed in Living in Dialogue are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.