Muddling through the blogosphere

More Than Words – Middle School Kids on Literacy


I love it when students speak out on issues that impact their learning – such as ways educators can promote – or kill – a love for reading. Of course, having the always-learning, ever-inspiring Jim Bentley encouraging his 6th graders to delve in and create a documentary really helps in moving a project from vision to reality.

Here’s the driving question Jim’s students worked on during and beyond the school day: How can we as filmmakers show middle schoolers the importance of developing literacy skills? I’m pretty sure you will agree with me that in 15 minutes, Jim’s students have produced an important piece for a broad audience. Drum roll, please …..

More than Words: A Documentary on Middle School Literacy

I am very fortunate to be working in the same school district as Jim. Whenever I need a little inspiration, his school is only a 10-minute drive from my office. Because Jim loops with his students (5th/6th grade), I’ve had the good fortune to follow their work over the last two years. Several times I’ve taken teachers to visit with Jim’s class. Although his students are always busy with their research and production schedules, they’re happy to provide a tour of their classroom and video production studio (former janitorial closet) and to answer visitors’ questions.

More Than Words is a wonderful example of student-driven, project-based learning (PBL) and of good things happening in public education.

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