“Most people never ask,
and that’s what separates people who just do things,
from the people that just dream about them.”
During the last month of school my students and I decided to take over an abandoned room and set-up a studio that could be used for video, photography, and audio. The back-story on the room is here. I then convinced the teacher who was across the hall from the room to switch with me so that I could be closer to it in September. When school ended a seventh grade position opened, and it just so happened that there was a larger open room right next to the seventh grade room. I interviewed, received the seventh grade job, and then received permission to build a bigger and better studio…with one big twist. The new room would be a live performance space for monthly shows.
I used to have a student punk/metal band. We would practice each morning and then have our one and final show at the eighth grade outing. Each year the band attracted kids who had great passion, but no where to express it in school. As I looked around there were 100’s of kids just like them looking for the same opportunity, and a space to that would allow them to play. Kids who loved photography, kids shooting and editing video, kids who loved to paint and draw, kids who love to write poetry and create spoken word masterpieces, kids who love to play music and sing…there was just no home space for them in school.
I want to create that place with the new room. It will be called “2 Floors Up.” It will not just be a room with a green screen for class projects, but also nighttime performance center. A place that kids passionate about the arts can feel at home. A place that will nurture their passion, feed it, hone it. A place for live performances that can be streamed live around the world. A place that kids can come to for monthly performances that does not smell like school. A place that is cool, funky, and with equipment that treats them like professionals. I also want it to be a place for kids who like to work on the “other side” of the performers. A place where kids can get experience working the sound board, shooting music videos, and creating promotional websites and all feeding all the supportive social media accounts–a safe place to create their digital footprint. A place where a kid interested in photography can use quality lighting or green-screening software, and a place where a kid editing a music video can have access to a computer and quality video editing software. A performance venue where kids can attend concerts in a safe environment that will include artwork, poetry slams, and musical performances. A place run by a team of students who are just as passionate about being behind the mics and doing everything from collecting tickets, to producing the show.
In order for this to happen there are still some outstanding pieces of equipment needed. We decided to do a Kickstarter campaign to get the last pieces of equipment. Hitting the final button on the Kickstarter site was scary. What if…what if we ask for people to help…and fail. I was reminded of a video my wife shared with me last year.
So with Steve Job’s words ringing in my ear, “I never found anyone who didn’t want to help me if I asked them for help,” I hit that final publish button and will hit another publish button for this post to ask folks for help in making our little dream come true. In a year in which our school system will spend thousands for consultants to implement common core, thousands on prepping for the new SBAC tests, and thousands more on the new teacher evaluation system, our request is minor. It is all the time we will be spending on standardized units and testing that makes this request and idea so huge. As a teacher who tries so hard to provide a home to the kids of all types, this Kickstarter request becomes more important this year as I know that already so many of the activities I used to do have to be eliminated in order to conform to the new district units supporting the common core standards.
So without further ado, please consider contributing to our Kickstarter campaign and helping out our middle school.
Any amount will go a long way to making a difference for my kids. Worried about whether my class and I are legit? Here is my “class commercial“ for the 2014-15 school year with quotes and video from last year’s kids, quotes from last year’s class evaluation, and a deeper look into what we have done. I think you will see that if our Kickstarter campaign is successful we will make a big dent in the world.