This week I had an opportunity to help out with another residency. Over the past 4 years May has been involved with Adobe Youth Voices (AYV).
AYV is one of Adobe’s philanthropic endeavors. They donate software to schools in exchange for students making media pieces with ‘purpose’. Since this program is similar to our T.E.A.M. program we have tried to combine the two forces the past couple of years.
One of the requirements of the AYV Chicago program is that our students attend a “Rough Cut”. During these events students bring projects that are still in progress to be shown to an audience of their peers that are also participating in AYV. The audience then provides critical response feedback to the media piece in hopes of strengthening the quality of the project. I accompanied two 8th grade students that are working on the “Our America” T.E.A.M. residency that you can read about here. The students were fortunate to see a plethora of media projects: print media, storyboards, animations, and stop motion to name a few.
Here’s a bit about the Critical Response process that the CPS AYV program uses and how our students fit in.
Step 1: Viewing of the Media Piece (2 minutes)
Brooklyn surprised me by offering to go first out of all the students there. It was a great show of confidence and I’m glad she felt comfortable enough doing so. Her piece is the beginning stages of an iPad eBook that she is creating to compare her America to the authors' America in the novel. Joe is working on the same project and was excited to show off his draft which included his own drawings.
Step 2: Notes/Reflection
During this phase the audience takes a moment (in our case 3 minutes) and jots down notes to reflect on the media piece. These notes could contain suggestions, questions, or feedback for the discussion that will soon take place. To help the students with this part a graphic organizer was created so students could focus on the following aspects: (videos) timing, visuals and text, message, audience. (Print media) composition, imagery, text, message and audience.
Step 3: Artist Statement (1 minute)
The media makers have a chance to talk briefly about their piece. They provide background, context, inspiration and intent. It’s important to note that this takes place after the viewing and reflection components. While some of the questions that were listed in the notes may be answered by the artist statement its important to not persuade the audience’s point of view before viewing the media. Here are Brooklyn and Joe’s artist statements:
My America is about my life. My story should be heard and get out there because a lot of people just go by how I act and judge me on that without even knowing my story. I believe that my finished story will touch people’s hearts because I have been through so much, more than some others my age have even heard about.
In my story I talk about my good times and my bad times, the times that I laughed and then the times that I cried. I also talk about my friends and what we do for fun. I think my story should get out [there] because I want people to see I don’t have a perfect life and people should stop thinking that I am better than them because I’m not. I am a human and imperfect, just like them.
In most of my story I interviewed Tre’zure. I interviewed Tre’zure because she lived in Tinley Park and now she lives in Austin. I wanted to compare our lives and I also wanted her to talk about the differences in the neighborhoods and schools.
This year my class has been doing an audio project with audio recorders. We are working on what “our America” looks like and how we feel about it. We also describe our social life and what goes on in our community and the places around us. One of my chapters that I am working on is about “how young teens play basketball to keep off the street.” We are using Audacity for our media and are starting to use Photoshop to edit my own drawings. This whole thing is addressing some of the crime in my neighborhood and how that makes us feel. This story is mostly for teens, but also for adults. Adults can help us speak louder, to get our voices out there so the world can see how we feel as kids and teens. The message is that adults are not the only one that is affected by all the crime in the community, kids are too, in many ways.
Step 4: Generating Dialogue between Audience and Artist (10 minutes)
It’s during this step that the audience and artist finally interact. The audience can ask clarifying questions that are now addressed by the artist. Suggestions are made as well as warm and cool feedback. In this session students had the first chance to respond to the artists. After they exhausted their thoughts then the educators could join the conversation. Here are the comments each student received:
- Audience enjoyed the narrative- put in more images
- Fill in missing parts (some pages had titles but no narrative)
- Audience like that highs AND lows about community are addressed
- Are these pictures you took? Make sure pictures are YOUR OWN, not Internet images
- Nice comparison of neighborhoods (Tinley Park/Austin)
- Leave "voice" alone but edit grammar (spelling)- can articulate better in audio recording but written is in own voice. Maintain your voice- you wouldn’t edit a photo to remove negative elements. I'ts what makes your story your story.
- Formatting- first pages left justified, others seem centered
- Fix the grammar! Misspelled words.
- Take photos yourself, not Internet stock photos
- Photos enhanced text, weren’t random. We like your photos!
- Talented artist!
- Background is nice color
- Strong, simple title “My America”
- Question: Are chapters following the book? Yes- title’s stay the same
- Good visual imagery by comparing what people “think” the neighborhood is like as opposed to what it is really like
Step 5: Artist Reflections (2 minutes)
Here the artist talks about what they learned from the feedback and what changes/additions they will make (or not make for that matter).
Step 6: Thank You (1 minute)
The artist thanks the audience for their feedback.
Step 7: Educator/Student “Offline” Discussion (2 minutes)
While the next project was getting set up there is a brief moment for the educator and students to discuss what feedback was just given and what the next steps are.
|Thanks to Peter Moi for taking this picture!|