SRL Connected Educator of the Month: March 2016
Although a newbie to the SRL program, Dalton Middle School teacher Gina has hit the ground running, leading her students through several successful rapid responses such as their inspiring ‘Taking Flight’ story for ‘Outside the Box’ about female-pilot Hannah Miller.
We asked Gina how young students engage with current events.
How do you like to receive your news?
I am a very visual person, so I love watching compelling news stories on TV. However, I must admit that I get most of my news updates from social media.
How can we get youth more interested in the news?
I have finally given in to the fact that we have to reach our youth through their own world and that means through social media. Putting news and current events on Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat and presenting news in a way that relates to the youth of today is the key. But it’s also very important to show them how it relates to them — how events in even the farthest place can have a direct impact on their lives.
What is your teaching philosophy when it comes to storytelling?
I believe in starting in the most basic way: planning a beginning, middle and end. I challenge my students to have strong visuals that can tell the story on their own. When students realize that their story has a purpose, you can get the best result. Make your stories relatable and always press record with intent.
How can student reports help promote a greater understanding of the world?
I love most about my job is listening to what my students have to say about current events and hot topics. They always surprise me with some crazy or interesting insight that I never saw. “Students are the future,” says the old cliché, but it’s true. The more insight we have into what they are seeing and thinking, the better we can be at preparing them for that future. Their perspective is fresh and innocent from the bias that adults often can’t escape.
How can we teach youth to be more inquisitive in the world around them?
I’ve always believed the answer to this question was to get their heads up and out of their cell phones and devices. But I’ve discovered that is very hard to do on a regular basis. So using what does have their attention to share all the interesting and amazing things in the world could be an answer. But also teaching them how to share their own ideas through video can open their eyes to being more interested in the world.
What do you hope to accomplish with SRL?
I’m hoping to help my students see the world in a different way and learn to tell stories that need to be told, but I am also hoping to show our community and the wider public the value of student reporting. Students have a valuable point of view and unique insight that just needs to be explored and given a chance to shine. I am hoping that SRL will show my students how much I believe in them.