May 20, 2010 by admin
I was invited to participate in PDX Pop Now! in the Schools this year, on April 15th at Parkrose Middle School. This is the third time I have taught at this event, but it’s the first time I’ve been invited to teach anywhere as myself; I always did the event under the OLS banner before.
I was really thrilled to see Ian Mouser of My Voice Music participating this year. He had a great set-up, with instruments for the kids to play. As you can see from this panoramic photo the classrooms at Parkrose Middle School are really strange. Like something out of Star Trek.
The software I presented is a totally free, online electronic music production suite called Audiotool . The kids loved it and their classroom teacher promised to give them another class day to use it after I left.
You get a good sense of the whole PDX Pop Now! in The Schools experience from the video they produced this year. I’m in it very briefly, but the shot is exciting enough to give a sense of what my classes are like. I have the kind of teaching style that moves, but don’t blink at 1:12 or you’ll miss it.
The video leaves out a few details.
The kids in that classroom create their own movies and design their own computer games. I got to play one of the games designed by a student there. I was blown away by the clever artwork, innovative level design, and the playability of the game I tried. What an unexpected gift to discover a hidden talent at that age !
One girl in that class was dressed in all purple, she had a purple pen, purple backpack, and a purple binder. Before I started teaching she raised her hand and asked me, “Do you like purple” ? I said, “Yes. Yes, I do”. She smiled at me and said, “Ok. You are cool”. Well, you heard it here first.
While I was there I had an eye-opening discussion about the lengths one teacher had to go to keep his teaching credentials up to date. It was astounding. He was basically going to have to sit out a week of teaching, while a substitute teacher ran his class, all because the testing center administration were dragging their feet about scoring his (i’m told very simple) re-certification test. I could tell that this guy was one of those “favorite teacher” teachers, that the kids really admire.
I left with a smile on my face, and an entirely too small PDX Pop Now ! t-shirt as a parting gift. I grabbed the Large american apparel shirt, didn’t see it said “classic girl” in tiny print on the tag.
Fast forward to a couple weeks later, I’m still helping out on the campaign trail with PVO. A letter arrives at my house addressed to me. The return address says it’s from “PMS”.
Did someone write me an angry, hormone driven nastygram ?
I opened it very carefully.
Let’s see what the kids had to say:
I like Jade’s note the most. She has a jade green pen. She writes all over the card, more than anyone else. Yeah… and she didn’t really see the performers (the blue cranes) who weren’t me, but she thinks those guys were great !
Best thank you card ever !