Posted by Azul Terronez on Feb 21, 2013 in Uncategorized
Project Purpose: A BullyProof Production
By: Meghan S. Smith
8th Grade High Tech Middle
When Mr. Terronez told my class in January that we were making a short film to help young people who needed support, while raising awareness about bullying, I imagined that we’d use actors. Human actors. When Mr. Terronez told us we would use puppets, we were all confused. Our initial reaction changed once we realized that the puppets made our project so special. We were also excited about the subject of the movie- helping someone is one of the best things in life.
We named our production company BullyProof Productions, which had 6th, 7th and 8th graders in it. I was given the role of screenwriter, with my co-screenwriter, Joe O., and we had to write a story about not fitting in at school, learning to be yourself, accepting others and getting help when you need it – all with puppet characters. It was pretty difficult! Other people in my class did marketing and advertising, sound mixing, editing, directing, and much, much more. We worked every day for 2 ½ hours.
“I learned that if we work together we can accomplish something great,” said Elora, an 8th grader who was a part of the marketing and advertising team. Our costume designer who’s in 6th grade, Molly, said, “Teamwork is hard. But you can work together to fix any problem.”
We knew that the main character in our script would be facing a lot of challenges that many LGBT students face too, like feeling out of place just because of who they are. I have always been a supporter of LGBT rights and always felt that everyone is equal. So when our class decided to feature The Trevor Project, I was eager to start working. Not only because I wanted to work with a national organization, but because Trevor truly helps people every day. Plus, they started with a movie, just like us. I was ecstatic when The Trevor Project said that they would love to help. They even set up video chats with James Lecesne, the Academy-Award winning screenwriter for TREVOR, and Peggy Rajski, the producer of TREVOR.
After two months, we made 18 puppets and created a 13 minute film called TREY: THE MOVIE. The movie is about Trey, a middle-school student who is confident and happy as can be, until he gets to his new school. His classmates bully and taunt him because he’s a puppet and he’s “different” from the rest of them. He goes through his life feeling confused and worried until a helpful school janitor tells him about TrevorText, The Trevor Project’s newest program. A TrevorText counselor, River, helps Trey accept who he is and the world around him suddenly changes. At the end, one of the meanest kids at school even becomes accepting. Through Trey’s journey to self awareness, he learns to stay true to who he really is.
On March 21st we screened TREY on Exhibition Night at our school, High Tech Middle in San Diego. It was a hit! Everyone at school had wanted to see it and students were talking about it all night. “The most important part of the movie for me was learning that being yourself is always the best and that nobody deserves to get picked on.” said Adrian, an 8th grader who was the director of photography and filming for TREY.
In the end, BullyProof Productions created a film that we hope the media will love and share, and that people will learn from. “I hope that students learn that it is always okay to be yourself, and that bullying can affect everyone,” said 8th grader Sara, Line Producer. Josue, who did construction for TREY, said, “I learned to be yourself and not let anyone judge you.”
What I personally have taken away from this project is that everyone is vulnerable in their own way, that some people do feel different, and that not everyone feels safe around others. Whatever your race, sexuality, or personality is, there is no reason why you should be picked on.
I hope others who watch TREY will learn that everyone should be able to be themselves and understand that its okay to be different and love who you are. That message is one of many that The Trevor Project instilled in me. The Trevor Project is so important, because they are the people that will always be there, no matter what. They are the reason why we started our project and that it came together. They are the ones who taught me indirectly that no one ever deserves to feel pain in their heart or a slug in their step, that no one is better than anyone else, because we are all worth it.
Posted by Azul Terronez on May 13, 2013 in Uncategorized
On Thursday, May 23 2013 at High Tech Middle,
The Terronez/ Shulman Team hosted an Exhibition called Automation Nation.
Featuring “American Ingenuity” a collaboration of History & Physics. Students shared their automatons and the design process used to automate their ingenuity.
Posted by Azul Terronez on Dec 12, 2012 in Uncategorized
There needs to be a revolution in Education and the way schools are run. Watch this video, from Sir Ken Robinson and you will be inspired to think differently, but most educators have no idea where to go next.
How to move from worksheets to projects would be a huge shift if this was the only thing necessary to meet the demands of the creative void that needs to be filled in the next several years. Our industrial model of education is churning out students who think that just because they went to college, there will be a job, but the jobs of the future have yet to be invented. You will either be creating in the future or waiting to work for someone that is creating, or worst yet, they will outsource your job and you will not have one at all. Colleges haven’t had to change because people just keep showing up expecting to have jobs when they graduate, but ask any recent graduate if they are having this experience.
Students will need to be creative and able to think through solving creative problems that meets the needs of a changing world. We are done with the industrial revolution and on to the connected revolution.
Teachers are the ones that will lead this charge, we need to change if we want the students to change. Start a revolution stand up and refuse to show up to a job. Be original.
Posted by Azul Terronez on Sep 19, 2012 in Uncategorized
Since High Tech Middle is school where there is very little student turn over, it’s rare that students join the school in 8th grade. We were lucky enough to have a few students join our team and they quickly became part of our family. Since we looped up with our students that we taught in 7th grade, I thought that perhaps the students on our team would take more time to accept the three new students that join our already tight family of 53 students and two teachers. The day that each new student arrived the class cheered and welcomed them, as if returning home after a long trip abroad. It was magical!. I wanted to share one of those student’s graduation speech, because it was so telling about the reason culture in classrooms is so important.
“When I first came to this school It was in 8th grade. It was at a pretty hard time in my life, new school, new house, new city, new everything. But there was also new people! I had never met a group of people more welcoming and kind. It was astonishing how much they made me feel like I was one of them. Laughing when they laugh, clapping when they clap and even, the occasional inside joke. Sure, there were times when I felt secluded and alone, but the happy atmosphere quickly took care of that. Some people in particular made it difficult to feel out of place, and touched me personally, even if unintentional. Before I knew it I was experiencing new things that I never would have dreamed of if I hadn’t met all of you.The students. The teachers. Heck, even the projects! From the Elemental Superheroes, to the Hovercrafts, and even the Debate P.O.L., I enjoyed it all so much that a year has just gone flying by. It feels like just last week that i stepped inside and met all of you for the first time. And I know I’m not he most normal person on earth, but, even if i don’t show it, I do appreciate each and every one of you. So thank you.Thank you all.”
–Carroll Ishee 8th grade, HTM
Posted by Azul Terronez on Aug 28, 2012 in Design Thinking
We started the first day of class with no desks! Why you might wonder? I wanted to see what would happen to my instruction and the students’ learning if we didn’t let the classroom design, desk, chairs, whiteboard etc. dictate the way I teach class. What would come of the studio space that use to be my classroom if students became the designers of their own space?
Though it’s not clear what will become of our now empty classroom, it’s been great to see that I don’t have to sit and lecture to make work meaningful to kids. We will be using the design thinking model that I learned at the D-school at Stanford to frame out thinking about our space. We will begin our empathy work around the problem this week. After we do a few design challenges to get our mind thinking, exciting work.
The first thing we did we was to conduct empathy interviews for users that were not in our class. The students protested and asked why should they interview students who would not be using the classroom space. I told them that they needed a specific user in mind, we weren’t looking to please everyone. Design for everyone is design for no one. So students interviewed students in other classes, grades and even other schools. The question they asked was, where do they do work? The majority of students did not do their studying or work at a desk, unless it was at school. The students found out what their interviewees needed to feel comfortable and then returned with their ideas.
Students returned to the classroom and did some ideation or creating dozens of ideas based on the needs of their users; crazy wild ideas that solved needs of the student they interviewed. They use the “how might we” statements that I learned from dSchool bootcamp. They took these hundreds of ideas to then begin to develop physical mock ups of their solutions.
The students then selected the most viable solution from their ideation activity to create a prototype for how they would solve the users need for a comfortable study space solution. The students only had about 30 minutes to create their prototype and then presented their solution to the class.
RETURN TO USER
Students then took their prototype to the user to get feedback and make adjustments to their design. Students reported back the feedback to the class. Many students reported that though some of their designs were cool, they seemed a bit distracting or not as important as just mere comfort. Once the class presented their findings we selected the most feasible design to solve the new studio space challenge.
DESIGN THINKING AT WORK!
The solution that the students settled on was a Project Bar, much like a Starbucks counter, with a Project Barista that manages computers. The project bar was designed and built by student with the help of a parent volunteer. We often worked after school and on weekends to finish the space.