Teacher Spotlight: Michelle Frye

This blog post is a reflection from a current HS teacher and describes a process that the Digital Literacy team would love to recreate with any teacher!  Thank you to Michelle Frye for this amazing opportunity to help us learn.

Let’s start with the highlights first.  The student’s voices!

Course: African American Literature

Focus Standard: W.11-12.9 – Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research

Building: Kennedy High School

Grade: 11-12

Resources from the Lesson:

Reflection from Mrs. Frye:

Background:

This quarter focuses on analysis, and one of our big questions is how individuals use artistic expression to impact society.  I made it a bit smaller, by focusing on how artistic expression can enhance a written text. My coach and I talked about using WeVideo, especially since I was taking a Digital Storytelling class through the district.  Because neither one of us felt like we had the expertise to teach the technology, my coach connected me with the Office of Digital Literacy. This experience was far better than I could have anticipated. We met a couple of times and I tried to articulate my vision.  Luckily, the team and my coach were able to decipher what I envisioned, and between the three of us, came to some consensus. The Office of Digital Literacy was extremely helpful in the design of the unit…it created templates and came in and taught a lesson to the students.  It then came back as support to answer questions as students worked on putting their video together. 

Unit Revision:

Since one of the things we explore this quarter involves artistic expression, and since I am taking the Digital Storytelling class now, I thought it would be a good time to try something new.  I used several short videos, both professionally done (“Dear Basketball” by Kobe Bryant and “Still I Rise” produced by the National Park Service) as well as student examples. Students were able to pick out what was effective and not so effective in the examples (even if that didn’t necessarily transfer to their own work.  We used WeVideo, the tech tool in my Digital Storytelling class, to create the videos. The team was kind enough to learn the tool and not only that but develop some materials for my class. They even came to teach a lesson and then come back to help students with any questions or difficulties they were having.  

Teacher Growth:

Well…I felt more like a student than a teacher – I was learning right along with them {students}! When it came to trying to problem solve a tech issue, it was generally another student who had figured it out.  The students got the tech part really fast – my “help” came in when students were writing their original first-person pieces, whether it was a letter, a poem, or an informational piece about a passion the student has.  I could help with word choice and organization and what the student wanted their message to be, but honestly, I was “insufficient” at the tech part to begin with. After the process, I’d say I’m still developing. It was a great experience, the kids enjoyed it (except for hearing their own voices), and it was a way we were all vulnerable together.  It was lovely.

In conclusion, our Office’s goals center around a simple equation: Equity + Empowerment + Engagement = Every Learner Future Ready.  We could not be more proud of these students and feel this project allowed our students to increase the empowerment of their voices, which in turn led to more student engagement in learning.   The students truly shined.  We also want to ensure that we are empowering teachers and staff to take risks, be innovative, and be curious.  With that, we want to thank Mrs. Frye for reaching out and embodying all those dispositions.  

Please reach out to the team with any inquiries for an opportunity to plan with you!

cbarnum@crschools.us

rrydstrom@crschools.us

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