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Collaboration, Critical thinking, and Creativity

    April 7, 2015

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    Meet our Educator of the Month: Sergio Hernandez

    This month we’re giving a huge shout-out to Sergio Hernandez from Katherine Smith Elementary in San Jose, CA for taking the initiative to bring new engaging project-based learning (PBL) programs to his school. Sergio teaches a grade 4, 5, 6 combo class of students with special needs, and is always looking for innovative, new ways to engage his students in their learning. We met Sergio at Buck Institute's PBL World in June 2014, and again at our BizMovie Training in August 2014 where he learned about BizMovie and thought it would be a great addition to his already entirely project-based and technology-integrating school.

    Katherine Smith Elementary is a Title I school that has been transforming its learning environment with the purpose of bringing meaningful 21st-century experiences to the diverse population of students. Since BizMovie aligned perfectly with the school’s focus on authentic project-based learning and STEM opportunities for its students, Sergio helped facilitate a BizMovie training for the teachers at his school for 3rd through 6th grade classes.

    The fifth grade team was led by an amazing group of teachers, Sergio Hernandez, Debbie Driskell, Ginger George, Sheryl Melo, Kim Weaver, and Carol Oliva. They launched BizMovie as part of their interdisciplinary project unit called, “To Sail or Not to Sail … It’s an Exploration!.” Through BizMovie, students learned the basics of entrepreneurship and leveraged technology to develop their own animated movies about the Age of Exploration. It culminated with a school-wide Box Office Day for students, parents, and visitors from the San Jose community. The fifth grade team used this opportunity to raise money for an upcoming science camp.

    After the Box Office Day, students in Ms. George’s class shared with us their “critical friends process” which they use to provide meaningful feedback to their peers on their movies. A student, Anna Maria, shared how using technology in BizMovie made “learning information better because you can put more things in the movie than just reading from a textbook.”

    Students like Carlos, who generally struggled to participate, were able to shine as they led their team in marketing and sales. Some groups even came up with out-of-the-box marketing campaign ideas such as advertising their movies on the side of the cardboard boats they built and floated in their real-world experimentation with buoyancy.

    The fifth grade teachers emphasized the importance of teaching 21st century skills in school through programs like BizMovie because it helps “prepare our students for the future and jobs that don’t even exist yet. Communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity are vital set of skills for any occupation.”

    Thanks, Sergio, for helping bring BizMovie to Katherine Smith Elementary, and to the 5th grade team for inspiring the next generation of 21st century-ready movie animators and entrepreneurs!

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