One year later, I have another argument to add to my July 2009 Case for Filmmaking in the Classroom post: Filmmaking empowers students.
In May I watched a team of Lesley McKillop’s students (see argument #6 in last year’s post) once again step onto the stage and into the limelight to accept a 2010 SEVA for their PSA entry – totally challenging both the state-assigned student labels of FBB (far below basic), BB (below basic), B (basic), P (proficient), or even A (advanced) and the school labels of Title 1 (high-poverty) and Program Improvement (PI).
And Rudy Alfonso’s students (also at a Title 1, PI site)…what can I say?! In the previous school year, I watched many of them begin to engage with technology in Teresa Cheung’s 4th grade classroom. As they moved on to Rudy Alfonso’s 5th grade, they were ready and willing to step up to the challenges and multiple roles of filmmaking and increasingly took charge of all facets of producing movie after movie.
Towards the end of the school year, I asked one of Rudy’s students what she liked best about being a filmmaker. She talked a bit about the collaborative aspects, and then added that she enjoyed having people from different parts of the world comment on her productions via the class blog. Filmmaking is bringing the world into Mr. Alfonso’s classroom – and it’s a two-way path. These students (like Lesley McKillop’s students) know their work is being viewed and enjoyed by an authentic and worldwide audience. Now that’s empowerment!