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Let’s Get Together Thursday – March 20, 2014

Posted by Brooke Ahrens in Check this out!.
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A collaborative post written with Derek McCaw, Director of Visual and Performing Arts at Notre Dame High School, San Jose

Most of the time we think of collaboration as a short term arrangement, a way to complete the project, assignment or task in front of us. Sometimes, however, we should take the opportunity to collaborate on a long-term project with someone outside our area of expertise. We can create something new and vital for our students that gives them a better experience.

For a few years, I had taught a “Video Editing” course, giving students skills in software and recording techniques, but achieving only a basic technical proficiency. To be candid, I’m not a film maker, I’m a technologist.

This year, our Director of Visual and Performing Arts stepped in from his Drama duties in order to help. Recently certificated by UCLA’s Professional Screenwriting Program, he was able to provide the missing piece in that class. He could help students develop their content; I could give them the skills to polish it into a final project. The students learned to express emotional tone through visuals and sound, and discovered that even in the most basic of projects, good storytelling makes a difference.

As teachers, we were able to play to each other’s strengths, keep the students’ interest high, and learn a few things ourselves about film making, and each other. Our combined course was fun to teach, and became stronger than it had ever been before.


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