It’s been insane this week. Who would have thought that I was a homemaker when I’m never at home! I went to NYC this week to see my students present their documentaries at Carnegie Hall. I’ve never been more proud of my students. Honestly, they were nothing short of amazing–especially considering the students are only 8th graders.
Let me take it back a bit. Last August, I met with representatives from Carnegie to discuss a partnership with my classroom. They had created a program called “American Roots: The Great Migration,” to focus on the migration of African Americans to the North. We would teach about it through journal entries from migrants and blues songs written during or just after the time period. But it gets better.
Part of my philosophy as a social studies teacher is to make history come alive. I’ve gone to numerous trainings on this, and frequently used the History Alive! program. My students have grown used to my craziness in an effort to teach, but Carnegie topped it all. We brought in a teaching artist once a week for 4 weeks. Little Toby Walker brightened our classroom with his guitar, while he taught the Great Migration. He had kids singing, bopping and learning. It was great.
So any good teacher knows that it’s not enough to look at the class and know they “learned.” They have to DO something with it. My kids were no different–only I decided to go big or go home on this one. We decided to create 3 documentaries on 3 musicians who have moved North to New York from the South. Kids did it all–videography, photography, editing, directing, you name it. That was about when I had to leave to give birth.
I had to leave mid-project, and I give all of the credit to Molly McBride and Mark Burford of Carnegie Hall and my students, especially Bermary, Kathy, Yadesh, Angela, Brittany, Vinette and Damissel. They really stepped it up and got the job done. I’ve never been more proud–and as I watched their accomplishments, I couldn’t help but wonder if they realized how unique they are. How many 8th graders can claim to create a documentary for Carnegie? How many 8th graders even know what Carnegie Hall is?!