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AMFELLOWS  March 2000

AMFELLOWS March 2000

Subject:

presenting AM with students

From:

"Monica R. Edinger" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

American Memory Fellows <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 20 Mar 2000 06:33:53 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (62 lines)

Has anyone else done conference or workshop presentations of American
Memory with students?   I decided to give it a try last week at the
National Council of Teachers of English Spring Conference this past
Thursday and was really pleased with the results.  If you enjoy
presenting, can do so without getting too anxious (and, thus, making the
kids anxious), and are flexible I recommend it as  a different way to get
the word out about American Memory.  What follows is how I went about
doing this for anyone interested.

Once my proposal was accepted for the conference last fall I contacted six
kids from my last years' class, now fifth graders, and asked if they'd
like to help me present. They all agree with great enthusiasm.  After
preparing the visual part of the presentation (a cold website with my unit
and various American Memory pages that the kids had used) I met with them
for a couple of hours after school one day (along with plenty of pizza and
soda) and did a dry run.  One of the kids' parents is our adminstrative
tech person so he volunteered to manage the tech stuff for me and one of
our librarians (a friend and very familiar with the project) helped as
well.

Last Thursday it was quite amusing to drive up to the Hilton's main
entrance in a yellow school van and piled out with the door ever so
politely held open for us by a porter (this is New York so we were next to
quite a few limos!)  I must admit I got quite a kick out of trooping
through the exhibits and the hallways of the Hilton followed by my little
crew with their backpacks and chatter.  They got quite a few bemused looks
and a few, "Why aren't you in school?"- type questions.    At our session
I briefly introduced myself and the kids, the American Memory Fellows
Program and then just went through my unit (which begins with an
introduction to the Library and the site) and had the kids talk about what
they remembered, what they had learned, what they had did, problems
encountered, etc. at each step of the unit.  I made it VERY informal. I
had the kids sit in front of the dais (although one was rather petulant
when I told her, "No, you are NOT going to sit up there and use the
microphone!") and speak as naturally as possible. I would asked them if
they had something to say about a particular lesson I had described and
they would raise their hands and I would call on them.  I had worried that
they might get scared with an audience, but they were terrific about
talking.  The audience wasn't too large (we were at the same time as a
general session with Bill Moyers), the room was stifling, and the
projector we had brought decided to go flowerchild on us and only
projected psychedelic oranges and blues (next time, I VOW, overheads, my
first instinct).  Fortunately, I had brought their original collages along
and we passed them around.  The audience seemed to really find it
interesting and the kids were thrilled.  Bill Tally was the chair and
summed things up beautifully.  He may have some more comments to make
about this.

My main point though is that is that I urge everyone presenting this stuff
to get the actual kids in to your presentations as much as you can.  If
you can't bring the kids then bring their work, videotape of them work,
whatever helps people see the site USED by kids.

So, has anyone else tried something similar?

Monica

Monica Edinger
The Dalton School
New York
[log in to unmask]

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