Students make anti-bullying videos

Some educators show public service announcements to address bullying. At arts magnet Keppel Elementary, students are tasked with writing and producing their own.

Under the leadership of art and media coach April Faieta, the school last month released a series of student-created videos aimed at educating other young people about the issue.

“As a student, I hated sitting there being lectured at,” Faieta said. “My mind would often wander. I just think that kids are capable of doing so much, especially with the technology that we have, that to ask someone who is really bright to just sit there and listen to you — I just don’t think that is the most effective way of teaching.”

The PSAs were made possible in part by Keppel’s share of a $7.5-million, three-year federal grant awarded to Glendale Unified in fall 2010. The money allowed the arts magnet school to invest in technology, as well as free up Faieta — previously a fifth-grade classroom teacher — for arts- and media-focused projects.

She kicked off the multimedia venture in mid-September when she began visiting four classrooms once a week to teach students about bullying and appropriate ways to respond.

In December, the students were asked to develop a concept for a related PSA. By January, collaborators were scouting around campus for shoot locations.

“I really enjoyed just being on HyperStudio,” said 8-year-old August Beklas, referring to the software he and his schoolmates used to create drawings included in many of the videos. “It was really fun.”

The resulting 10 videos, viewable on YouTube and Facebook, were produced using iMovie software and include student commentators and illustrations. At least one is multilingual, with the message being delivered in Spanish, Korean and Armenian, in addition to English.

Student producer Ellie Song, 9, said that she most enjoyed the filming and editing required for the project. The message of the videos is simple, she added.

“You shouldn’t be bullying other people, and if they do bully you, you should be able to stand up to them,” Ellie said. “You should tell an adult if it is something big, but if it isn’t something big, you can just ignore it.”

The PSAs have already had an impact among the students who worked on them, Faieta said.

“[Their teachers] said they have had positive results in their class and they can see the change,” Faieta said. “The kids are learning how to solve their problems,”

The videos are expected to be aired on the Glendale educational channel, Greg TV, in the coming months, Faieta said.


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