Friday, January 31, 2014

A Golden Opportunity for 8 Gold

It's been awhile since I've posted, but I guess that just goes to show you how busy it can get in the library.  One of the largest projects we've been working on this winter involved Pioneer's 8 Gold Team, our alternative education classroom.

The 8 Gold students participated in a contest sponsored by ConAgra Foods and USA Today Education.  As part of the contest, teams of students are challenged to film a thirty second public service announcement (PSA) addressing the childhood hunger crisis in the United States.  Prior to filming the PSA, students needed to gather facts about childhood hunger.  They visited the library to complete the necessary research.  Students watched the documentary A Place at the Table and used websites for research.  

On November 7th, the 8 Gold team participated in two excellent learning experiences in Buffalo, NY.  The team’s first stop was Cornerstone Manor.  Cornerstone Manor, associated with the Buffalo City Mission, is a homeless shelter for women and children.  The people seeking shelter at Cornerstone Manor are often looking for refuge from the dangerous streets or from an abusive relationship.  Members of 8 Gold learned about the childcare, education, and life skills courses offered at Cornerstone.  There is even an extensive afterschool program for students staying at Cornerstone.  “Seeing what students did afterschool was really interesting,” said John Jackson, an 8 Gold student.  Perhaps what resonated most with the students was the culture of caring that permeates the day to day activity at Cornerstone Manor.  Nate Whiting, another 8 Gold student, stated, “I really liked how everyone at Cornerstone tries to help people in need.”  While at Cornerstone Manor, the students were able to gather facts about hunger to use in their PSA project.

The next stop was to dPost, a full-service production and post-production company.  Andy and Beth Donovan, the company’s president and public relations/marketing director respectively, were able to share many tips with the 8 Gold students about the steps that go into the creation of commercials and documentaries, including editing, graphic design, animation, color finishing, and sound design.  One of the most exciting aspects of the visit was seeing how animation was used to create the illusion of a baseball hat’s stitching.  Joe Loomis of 8 Gold said, “I loved our visit.  It was fun and I didn’t expect the company to have so many different rooms.”  The Donovans also discussed dozens of different careers related to video production. 

 On the bus returning home from the field trip

Once the team returned to school, it was time to begin filming!  A storyboard was created to outline what the PSA would look like.  The students printed their facts and took pictures of the facts that they wrote.  Nate Whiting investigated royalty-free music from the SoundzAboundz resource to use in the PSA.  The team should hear by late February if they won the PSA contest.

One of the slides used in the PSA

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