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Stop the Drama!

posted Mar 5, 2011, 2:41 AM by Michael Reilly   [ updated Mar 8, 2011, 5:15 AM ]
It's the last day of the drama project, tensions are high.  Students have been working afternoons, weekends, and getting in trouble with parents for focusing too much on this assignment.  What a problem to have!  Yes, we can compete with video games and cell phones in the classroom, and we're seeing that more and more.  Tomorrow our students will be showing their projects to the class, and we'll have a nice movie environment of popcorn, etc.  In addition to the two major movies, we have two smaller group movies, and a variety of cartoon strips.  Then, we'll upload all of these to our schooltube account, and have the school cast votes for their favorite award.  Hmm, what should we name them?  Oscars seems taken.  We'll let you know.
On April 13, we will be inviting parents, friends and CDAT Advisors to see student portfolios and interview them as well.  While I'm frequently told that my expectations of students are sometimes too high, I am so proud of these students and their accomplishments.  They have blown away the typical image of a 9th grader, and our graduating seniors have expressed their jealousy/admiration.
Some may ask:  yes it's fun, but how are the academics?  In our last 3 Language Arts quizzes, CDAT students have outscore or tied Pre-AP students!
We're going to be wrapping up the year with two more projects.  One is the portfolio that they will be showing off on April 13, which must be portable to show to schools, employers, etc., made from web technologies like HTML, Flash, etc.  The other will be a charitable effort:  the whole class will be a part of creating an website of real-world mini-scenarios to assist our most challenged students in GCPS.  Students with significant challenges who need to learn life and work skills have been hampered by lower funding to get them out and experience stores, workplaces, etc.  Our goal is to create a large series of 30-second vignettes, where they need to make choices like "Where is the entry door?", "Which table needs to be cleaned?", "Who would you ask for assistance?", etc.  We will publish this online, but also be ready to burn CDs for those who need it.
Only about 40 days left until the major end of year exams take over, and what a great year it's been!
 Students using an Android Smarphone to read script lines while using the video equipment to capture their movie drama

A movie poster as part of the promotion aspect of the drama project.