For nearly 10 years, Bob Wood has spent much of his time outside of the classroom trying to bring new concepts into the classroom. During his summers, Wood travels and studies, conducting interviews and taking notes for his students to analyze and discuss within the scope of history. Recently however, Wood has added the Flip Video Camcorder to his storytelling arsenal.
Written by Digital Wish teacher Bob Wood:
In Senior Current Issues at Oakridge High School in Muskegon, Michigan, we focus on issues of the day. I’ve taught the course since 2000. All things political, international and domestic, natural disasters like Katrina, and this past January the earthquake in Haiti, land in our lap. If the kids feel the urge to get involved - we move. The course also provides us the chance to use Flip cameras for a myriad of assignments. From interviewing local small business owners to “four a year” student video diaries, the Flip serves as a creative tool for class projects. This year Oakridge student efforts for earthquake relief in Haiti and my use of a Flip camera came together quite nicely on a sunny Sunday morning in Selma, Alabama.
The Haiti earthquake moved many high school students around the world to action. An article in the February 5th New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/06/world/americas/06tuberculosis.html?hpw provided us inspiration. Touched by the story of Pierre-Louis Monfort’s tuberculosis clinic, my students began a passionate effort to aid those struggling to survive in Haiti. We sold t-shirts, secured donations and pledges for a 24-hour fast of solidarity with Haitians in need, and invited local high schools to join us. Our cheerleaders wore Help Heal Haiti T-shirts as uniform tops and our basketball team warmed up in them on Fast Night. The entire Oakridge Community joined in. In the end we raised $3,129, which with contacts gained through the Times article, we were able to wire directly to the streets of Port Au-Prince.
The Flip video camera entered the picture the following week. I was in Selma, Alabama for the Bridge Crossing Jubilee, which takes place annually and pays homage to the foot soldiers of the Civil Rights movement. On Sunday morning prior to the Bridge procession when speeches were being made outside on the steps of Brown Chapel, I explored inside the church. It was quiet and empty except for a handful of people near the back pews having their photo taken with an elegantly dressed man. They asked if I could take the picture. I did…and was introduced to Raymond Joseph, Haitian Ambassador to the United States. I filled Ambassador Joseph in on our fundraiser, that a bunch of kids in a small rural school in West Michigan had fasted for 24 hours and collected over $3,000 for his beleaguered nation, and that we were giving our donations to Mr. Pierre Louis Monfort and his tuberculosis clinic in Port-Au-Prince. Ambassador Joseph too had read the story in the Times. He was touched by our compassion and conveyed through me a generous message of gratitude to all of my students. His only regret was that he could not thank them in person.
Luckily, I always travel with my trusty Flip video camera. I asked Ambassador Joseph if he wouldn’t mind telling them himself. He was pleased to do so…and here it is: See Video!
To be able to bring this thank you message from the Ambassador of Haiti back to my students in Muskegon made our mission complete. With the video, my students and my school were able to truly feel the gratitude for all of their hard work to “Help Heal Haiti.”
To follow our entire Help Heal Haiti campaign please go to bhttp://blogs.muskegonisd.org/bwood/
Bob Wood - Oakridge High School Muskegon, Michigan