Tuesday, February 21, 2012

What am I thinking?

My math students are getting ready to begin filming their math videos today. So why I am the one who is so nervous? They are excited. I am unsure. They seem to feel confident they know what they are doing. I have no idea what I am doing. This is all new to me, and I think it is new to them. Why is there such a difference in our feelings?

Earlier this year, I stumbled across the Student Made Math Videos wiki. As I looked through the videos on the wiki, I thought, "wouldn't this be fun for my students!" So I showed them the wiki, and asked them if they want to try to make their own. The answer was a big YES! Okay, we decided to make videos. "Now what?", I thought. Other teachers asked me "how are you going to do it?" I didn't know. In fact the more I thought about it, the more nervous I became. I didn't know if I wanted to take on something this new and this big. After all, I am not even the regular 5th grade math teacher. I am subbing this year for a 5th grade teacher who is out on long-term leave. Frankly, the more I thought about it, the more I wondered, "What am I thinking?" Maybe the girls would forget. No such luck. After a couple of weeks, the questions started, "Mrs. Shriver, when are we going to make our videos?"

So we moved forward. I split the girls into teams of 3-4, and I gave them their mission -- make a math video. I didn't give them much more than that. I did make a rubric, and I suggested they work in Google Docs to brainstorm and plan their videos. I gave them the link to the wiki so they could get ideas from other students. Off they went: brainstorming, planning, writing, creating. And not one word of worry from any of them. This is truly amazing to me. Don't they know how much work this is going to be?

But I don't think they care how much work this is going to be. They are having fun. They are working together. They are creating. They are even working a bunch of math problems in the process. I don't know how good the final products will be, but this is where I have to let go. Does it really matter? Shouldn't the learning that they do along the way outshine the the importance of the final products? My answer to this is YES!

So here we are -- the first day of filming. They have their scripts; they have their costumes and props; they certainly have lots of excitement. What about me? I'm providing the camera, a tripod, and a wish of good luck. Somehow, I don't think they'll need it.