On April 5, filmmaker Anna Sergeeva and her team interviewed 18 Hamlin grade 7 students. Each student was asked to share what she would do or change as the President of the United States.
We hear endless opinions about politics from adults, but the voices of our youth are often missing.
If I Were The President is a nation-wide art project that asks youth under 18 years old what they would change if they were the President of the United States.
In December 2018, all these messages will be delivered to the White House in hopes of making a strong, poetic statement about a future worth fighting for together.
The Hamlin School was Ms. Sergeeva’s first stop in a journey that will take her all around the United States interviewing young people from: Colorado, Louisiana, Ohio, Tennessee, and New York. The completed short film will be shown in San Francisco this June.
The Hamlin.orgGlobal Citizenship webpages needed to be created, and Dan was preparing for a seminar he was leading about Global Citizenship. We wanted to have visual content to supplement the written/spoken material that had already been assembled. What better than a student created iMovie project to meet these needs!?
Dan Polk, Director of Global Citizenship, and Marisa Felt Bellingrath, Assistant Head of School, teamed up to envision the project and created a proposal for two Grade 8 students, Ava and Bella, to complete.
Jim Lengel, Middle School Tech Integration Specialist, and Liz Beck, Project Manager LMS, were teaching Bella and Ava in the Digital Art Elective at the time of the project.
Q: What grade level were you working with?
Dan Polk and Liz Beck: Grade 8
Q: What were your goals going into the project?
DP: The central goal of the project was provide a broad overview of Hamlin’s Global Citizenship program, one that incorporated the voices of both students and faculty.
LB: Both students who created the video had been in Digital Arts for 5 trimesters. They are iMovie and Photoshop power users and are very talented esthetically. We needed a project that would challenge these students and help them take their skills to the next level – creating digital content that can be used in a real world context, and learning how to work as a part of a team to execute a creative project.
Q:How did you roll out the project?
LB: Originally, Dan asked me to work on this project. While I was happy to help, the timing perfectly coincided with the start of Trimester 2 of Digital Art and the struggle I was experiencing with keeping the course relevant to Ava and Bella.
Dan arranged a time to meet with Ava and Bella during Digital Art. He introduced the scope of the project, as well as its goals and timeline. He and Marisa also dropped in periodically to check on their progress. The students knew I was there as a resource, but overall they managed the project independently and worked on it both during Digital Art and on their free time.
DP: I also provided the students with music ideas, images, and questions to pose to faculty/students.
Q: If you were to do the project again what (if anything) would you change?
DP: I might include a live shot or two of students doing something Global Citizenship related, skyping, working in the community etc.
We believe that EFFECTIVE teaching is REFLECTIVE teaching – here is her reflection on the project’s success(es):
Goals going into the project: The On/Line Teen Dance Film Festival is a natural extension of the “dance for the camera” work that we have been doing at Hamlin over the past four years with 7th and 8th grade students. We wanted to think outside of these school walls and see what other middle school and high school dancers are doing around the United States, as well as other countries. How and why is dance important in teens’ lives and in education?
How we were successful in meeting those goals: We had a great first attempt with the project! With the wonderful support of Hamlin teachers and staff (including Wanda Holland Greene, Marisa Bellingrath, Rose Helm, Jim Lengel, Rachel Davis, and Mark Picketts), we got the application out through several education, tech, and dance networks around the world. Twenty schools sent in letters of interest, and about 15 schools completed the process and submitted films. The Hamlin students were excited to see the responses. The students created a thorough rubric to assess the films. Lots of great conversations, connections, and inspiration came out of this.
When we do it again, we will…… We are already excited about next year. We will select a theme that all submissions must relate to, to deepen the connections and conversations. We also will be articulating more for the Hamlin students – and for all applicants – more tips and tools related to film editing. What questions are the dancers trying to answer? What does a film offer that a dance onstage does not?
Stumbling blocks: Keeping track of all of the applications and submitted films! We will create a different system for next year.