Western Mass Writing Project

I am happy to be a part of the Western Massachusetts Writing Project (WMWP). As a part of the National Writing Project, WMWP is an amazing professional learning community of teachers from around the Pioneer Valley. I want to share a few things…

1. For those fellow educators out there, consider attending the annual “Best Practices” conference this October. I am facilitating a workshop on digital storytelling. FMI download the attached PDF

2. This summer I taught a digital storytelling class in Springfield. My wonderful co-teacher wrote an article about our experience that I would like to share…

 For the past several years, through a partnership with the Springfield Y, the Western Massachusetts Writing Project has been able to offer classes on digital story telling to campers enrolled at the Springfield Y summer camp. This year, for the first time ever, the class was offered to teen campers attending the North End Youth Center’s Teen camp. Over the course of the summer, teen campers from all over Springfield wrote stories, used digital video cameras and digital cameras to gather footage, and used editing software to create their own digital stories. Fellow Western Massachusetts Teacher Consultant Will Bangs and I met with the teen campers every Monday for 6 weeks. After viewing digital stories created by other area youth, the teen campers worked on writing their own stories. The group produced a wide variety of texts, including personal narrative, poetry, informational texts, and satire. After working on their stories, the writers began to storyboard their movies. This process helped them to consider what images, audio, and film footage were needed to tell their story. Once finished with storyboarding, the campers used digital cameras and video cameras to gather the footage needed. Finally, when all of the footage was gathered, the campers used Windows Movie Maker and iMovie to edit their footage and create their movies.

To read the rest of the article, check out the attached PDF. WMWP Fall 2012 Newsletter

The beginning of something great…

Hi folks,

I am writing my first post in a while. I am really excited for the new school year. I have had a wonderful summer and I hope you have too. During July and August I…

– Cycled 200 miles in the Pan Mass Challenge to raise money for cancer research

– Bought a house!!!

– Played concerts with my band

– Taught a writing course in Springfield

– Hung out with my awesome dogs

– Camped near Acadia National Park in Maine for the first time

As relaxing and fun as summer has been I am so pumped for the school year to get underway. Keep your eyes peeled for more updates on my blog as I start to add more stuff.

Best,

Mr. Bangs

My Students Need Your Help

Can you feel it? It’s almost spring! My class could really use help with supplies in order to finish off the school year strong. So I’ve created a classroom project request on a 501(c)3 charity website called DonorsChoose.org.

I’m writing to ask for any donations possible for my students – no matter the size, it will help my kids. This week only, any donation you make to my project will be doubled! If you know anyone who is passionate about education, please pass this along. Your tax-deductible donation will have a direct impact on  students (and many more in the future), and you’ll hear back from our class about your impact on our learning!

To learn more or donate:

  1. Visit my Teacher Page, http://www.donorschoose.org/we-teach/1026633
  2. Choose one of my projects, enter the amount of your donation, and click “Give”
  3. During check-out, enter the word BLOOM where it says “Match or gift code”, and your donation will be matched dollar for dollar.

The BLOOM match code will double your donation until the end of the day on Monday, March 19th. So exciting!

Please feel free to send me any questions you may have, and know that my students and I greatly appreciate your support.

Happy Spring!
William Bangs

I am looking forward to watching the movie BULLY. I was moved nearly to tears by this movie trailer clocking in just over two minutes long. Looks like a powerful movie that teachers, parents and administrators should all watch.

I came across this film as I was collecting resources for a student who is writing her persuasive essay on bullying. Unfortunately, the film is rated R. However, a high school student who was a victim of bullying wants more kids her age to see this film. So, she started a petition to have the MPAA change the rating from R to PG-!3. Click here to sign the petition!

Photography + writing project with partner school in Rio de Janeiro

Towards the end of the school year the Hybrid Huskies will study Latin America in social studies. Students are going to have the opportunity to learn about Latin American culture and geography through a pen-pal project. However, as I am planning this with a teacher in Rio de Janeiro, I am learning that there will be a language barrier…only a small percentage of her students speak English. So, were seeing this as a creative opportunity for the students to take photographs representing their daily lives, the geography surrounding them and eventually write a caption or word as the basis for this cross-cultural exchange.

To make this pie-in-the-sky dream come true, I am partnering with a non-profit called Every Person Has a Story.

“EPHAS shares stories and connects people around the world through the power of photography. We put cameras in the hands of students and provide teaching and guidance. Then, we use the power of the internet to get their stories told. EPHAS currently operates 20 schools in Cambodia, the DR, Haiti, Rwanda, and the U.S., and we share over 300 images per week. We believe that Every Person Has A Story, and that every story deserves to be told!”

Script Frenzy!

I just got an email with tons of great resources for students and teachers from The Young Writer’s Program Script Frenzy! I won’t ever forget the powerful writing experience my students and I went through during The Young Writer’s Program National Novel Writing Month (NanoWriMo) back in December.

Script Frenzy is an international writing event in which participants attempt the creatively daring feat of writing an entire script in the month of April. Click the link below to watch a video trailer explaining Script Frenzy!

Who: You and everyone you know. No experience required.

What: Write a script in 30 days. (Screenplays, stage plays, TV shows, short films, comics, and graphic novels are all welcome.)

When: April 1–30. Every year. Mark your calendars.

Where: Online and in person (if you’re participating with your class or with a group of friends).

Why: Because you have a story to tell. Because you want a creative challenge. Because you’ll be super-bummed if you miss out on the adventure!

How: Sign up. Tell everyone that you are in the Frenzy. Clear your calendar. Start some wrist exercises. Have fun!

iPad

I recently got an iPad. During this break, I have downloaded app after app to explore the iPad’s usability in the classroom. One of my favorite websites for the iPad is built just for teachers and students – http://www.appitic.com/
Whether you have an iPad or not, you can explore some of the powerful uses for teaching and learning. While I have my reservations (cost of product, fragility, difficulty of typing on device, etc) there are plenty of benefits for using a tablet like the iPad in the classroom. For example, the apps “explain everything” and “screen chomp” are great freetools for students to create presentations or for the teacher to create tutorials. I recently participated in a webinar all about the uses of those apps and more and the possibilities are very exciting.

Pen pal project social studies

I am very excited to have letters, photographs and stories arrive from our partner school in Kenya. My students have already written letters introducing themselves and asking questions to their pen pals. As my sixth grade social studies classes are learning abut culture and geography in Africa, this is a real, meaningful and authentic way for students to learn. It’s taken a while to establish just the right partnership with a school, but I have connected with a heroic teacher at a middle school in rural Kenya. She is typing up all 70 of her students letters at the local cyber cafe. I will post more info as I get it!

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