I'm of the firm mindset that Media within the teaching profession is one of the most inclusive departments. We understand that the industry requires collaboration and live it every day in the practices that we preach. I have long pushed to improve media in my district, not only because it provides my students an outlet to meet other's interested in the same things as themselves, but it allows them an opportunity to continue their studies well beyond their time with me in middle school. I have also come to the conclusion that by improving other's I have improved my own practices as a media teacher. Our latest collaborative piece involves Waipahu Intermediate and their teacher Ms. Keanini who are looking to expand their media production to include a monthly broadcast. Being able to articulate my thoughts on the questions posed by her students helped me better understand the intricacies of my own program. Having my Advance Media class complete the same survey and then comparing my answers to theirs, has helped me quantify my teaching practices and that's reassurance any teacher could appreciate.
Advance Media students, please review and discuss within your groups. We will talk about it as a class to determine how we can improve for future challenges. STN Challenge entries can be reviewed HERE.
While the title might be a bit dramatic, in my experience 3rd quarter has always felt like it was the one quarter where everything comes together. That is, right before we spend the last quarter debriefing and preparing for next school year. 🤦♂️It's a vicious cycle for video production, but 3rd quarter is the time of the year that I'm both super pumped up about, and also quite exhausted from. Here's what I expect to accomplish (though might fall short, it's always good practice to set my goal's high, right?! - New Year's Resolution and all that jazz 🤷♂️):
While I would normally reserve something involving "clients" for my Advance Media class, I feel confident enough in the abilities of my Exploratory Media class that we will be doing a multi-class recording of the Git Up Challenge. Each period will cover a different portion of the song and will venture out to 3 different classrooms that have agreed to participate in the Challenge. Each group will have 25 minutes to record multiple takes of the sub-40 second part of the song they've been assigned. They'll need to get moving shots and static shots and interesting angles to really sell the excitement of the Git Up Challenge. The footage will then be compiled and recut into our very own Ewa Makai version of the music video! Check out the tutorial and original music video to get an idea of what we will be doing come December 20th!
It's an unspoken understanding that teachers get a little nervous whenever administration comes into our room. Not for the fear of looking like we aren't doing our jobs, but because children are children and anything can happen. For the most part, I've come to terms with this as I've had my share of embarrassing moments - like a group of boys deciding to do wrestling moves on camera as a counselor walks in - and have learned to just accept the fact that being embarrassed is a normal part of life - you just can't control everything, no matter the amount of planning you do. Now imagine your Principal coming in with a news crew and you can imagine how nervous I was beginning to feel this past Thursday (Dec. 5).
On the other side of the coin, I've also figured out that if you give kids the opportunity to shine, more often than not you'll be surprised with what they can do with the little lessons you've tried to instill in them. Furthermore, what I've learned about good teaching is that it is not a matter of standing in front of a class or assigning heavy loads of homework, it's allowing students to learn their own lessons through the challenges you present to them and then adjusting, re-directing, and reflecting on the experiences as you progress to the next big thing.
Luckily, my advance media class is the perfect place to constantly push my way of teaching and learning and luckily, they shined when given the opportunity to represent Ewa Makai on Hawaii New's Now's piece on our school. Little known fact about the TV/news industry, some of the amazing shots you see are re-shot and/or staged. But none of that was needed for our segment. The students treated the shoot like a normal class advisory and they truly stepped it up in the roles they were given or assigned as the class so fluidly moved through their assignments for the day.
Roni, was an amazing stage director, she kept her broadcast crew on task and they brainstormed a creative (albeit really funky) way to handle the problem that came up (how do the anchors go from sitting in one segment to standing in the other so that they had enough room to fit 2 anchors and our 2 adult guests on camera - without breaking continuity). The solution, position enough production assistants just out of frame to pull out the props. Her scriptwriters re-worked the script so quickly that I'm beginning to think I've set the bar too low for TigerTV (shall we try for a 30 minute show?!). On the other side of the room, production didn't stop from the pre-production workflow of Kevi's January TigerTV group to the post-production productivity of Khloe and Ainsley's group editing their Olelo YXC PSA's.
While I am focusing on a few students to mention, in all honesty, EVERYONE had a part to play in making me look good (lol), because everyone was just doing their everyday thing - and producing! But in all seriousness, this is what I always envision learning to be like in my class. Not with me leading the way, but with the students taking the opportunity they're given to be the masters of their own learning. It's the reason why I let them make their own mistakes, and the reason why I allow them to ask for stories I know aren't going to get approved. It's the reason why, I spend so much time observing, and so little time handing out notes or going over presentations. It's the reason why I tend to talk to them one on one, and why I might seem like I'm not "teaching" like most teachers do. I really hope that sentiment comes through in the final piece because for once, we aren't in control of our own video, but leave it in the hands of professionals to tell our story (who, by the way, were so thoroughly impressed with my students that Billy V. ended up giving them an impromptu 20 minute Q&A guest speaker-type session and why no one from the production team could stop raving about how amazing the kids were! #proudteacher).
Look for our story on Hawaii News Now in the very near future.
Photos courtesy of the DOE Communications Branch.
Mission: "To Enrich our School Culture, our Community, and ourselves through visual storytelling."
Media @ EMMS
Tiger Media is the video production team of Ewa Makai Middle School. Our programs include an Exploratory program for students interested in learning more about video production and an Advanced program for students who would like to extend their learning into professional and real-world video production.
About Mr. Toyota
When they say "professions run in the family," the saying holds true for my family and I. My mother, my aunty, and my grandmother were all teachers before me and I didn't ever think I'd be the one to take up the mantle. I've been teaching since 2008 and started at the age of 23 years old.
I'm a National Board Certified teacher with a Bachelor's in Secondary Education: Social Studies. Additionally, I have served in various roles ranging from an HSTA PD Trainer and Consultant, AVID Site Team Member, Club Advisory, Volleyball Coach, Event Organizer, and Chair for the CxK Media Cohort.
Basic Teaching Philosophy
There are constantly occurring learning opportunities. As a teacher, it is my duty to not only help students see these opportunities at face value, but to help them profit from these experiences.
I believe that learning is growing and that growing in the right direction is an important aspect of being successful. I can help the imperfect, I can hardly help those who are perfect. Although academics is an important part of a child's life, I understand that a child's life is even more important than school as an institution. Homework, tests, grades, and due dates pale in comparison to preparing a child for their future. I am but one person amongst a community of people that will come into a child's life, whether my role is small or large, my actions have lasting implications.
I will always strive to make a difference, to help student's grow in the right direction, to develop their passions, and to prepare them for the struggles ahead. It is my duty, my honor, and my will as their teacher.
- Ethan Toyota