In the next week or so, my incoming sophomores will receive a short postcard from a colleague and I. During the University of Illinois Writing Project (UIWP), I started a conversation about personal writing and the “You will write every day” attitude necessary to build a solid classroom writing community. From that discussion, the idea for sending home postcards to students was born.
Each student of mine will be receiving a postcard to welcome them to our New Tech house and invite them to watch a YouTube video. With the hard work and insight from a colleague, we managed to write, edit and revise a pretty good script for a video that tells students a little about us, the pillars of our house, and our goals with project-based learning. Check it out below… hopefully my students will, too!
Without being able to publish authentic student voices (per district policies), we had to do our best to make sure we set expectations that would still be relatable. Writing for YouTube and the web is tricky business, but now that I have a few workable samples, I may begin to use my own videos, scripts and storyboards as mentor texts (inspiration from some work by UIWP leaders, actually). After producing this video, I am really beginning to realize the importance of a background music track. Thankfully, Vimeo has really set up a music store with an ever-building archive of Creative Commons media to buy or borrow at really low cost!