St. James High School is full of hands-on learning and interactive teachers who set out in their own ways to get students involved in learning. There is no better example of this than the English 1 classes of Mr. Moore. Most recently, his freshman English 1 students created stories about their lives and memories for one of the most involved projects at our high school.
The English 1 “Night of Music and Memoir,” created by Mr. Moore’s students is only in its second year. It is still just tipping the iceberg on getting students involved and learning in new, fun ways. On Monday, the auditorium of the high school was transformed into a concert hall of the lives of students.
The idea of the projects design is to create a memoir, a narrative composed from personal experience, using different media devices, centered on a music video. The students go through many steps of a process constantly working towards a final project. It is also coupled with a partner project, “Give Me Six,” the six-word memoirs that every St. James student is invited to write. This piece of the project is simply where a student, staff, or faculty member attempts to summarize their life story in only six words.
After both parts of the project are finished, there is the “Night of Music and Memoir,” the event that highlights the work of the students and their final products.
When taking to the enthusiastic students involved, freshman Sydney Wilder explained what she learned from the work she did. “Students were really taking it so seriously, and I could see how personal everyone got with,” she said. “It wasn’t difficult, but people struggled with it, and it got to them personally.”
First, for the English 1 students, their assignment begins by brainstorming and learning phases in which the student is coached on the science of a music video. They have to be introduced to what the purpose of a music video is and the power they hold to send messages. After grasping that, the students move into brainstorming their own ideas to tell their individual story.
Drafts are made, graphic organizing takes place, and the class then has the final goal of making a music video to work toward. They work with interactive computer programs that will eventually integrate the final product.
What comes out of the final project as a whole are many touching accounts of the lives of real teenagers; some of them strong and powerful, reaching into the hearts of the audience, while some are funny and warm recollections, giving insight of a better time.
Do not be surprised to see the return of this amazing assignment in later years, and remember that we have a voice and it is deserving of being heard.