Welcome to Our World

Use student created video messages to welcome new families to our community.

Photo of Jill Jensen

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Joining a new school can be a scary experience, especially for elementary grades. Who are these kids, what's the lunch room like, what should I know to help me make it through my day that they don't tell me in the office. Who better to explain a day in the life of a student, than the students! Teams of students, or student leaders can help create a welcome video for the school. While I haven't helped organize this project in real life, I would imagine a separate video for each grade level. The students could  highlight the parts of the school such as: 

  • the route from the doors to that grade level section
  • features of rooms in that grade level 
  • a run down of their daily schedule 
  • interviews of students in that grade about why their grade is fun 
  • how they get to the lunchroom/recess 
  • specialists 
  • special grade level features 

Videos could be emailed to families or shared on school websites. 

Share research or student experiences that informed your idea!

I've helped organize as well as witnessed a number of projects where students share their learning or experiences with other students; sometimes it's students in the same grade, sometimes they share with other grades in the school. In general, kids will listen to their peers more than their teachers. Allowing students to be in the leadership role of explaining the in's and out's of the school gives a personal feel and a unique perspective for new families.

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Photo of Theresa Shadrix
Team

I'm actually about to start this very project as part of my Media Arts course! My students and I will start working on it in the next few weeks. It's not a new idea as our school completes the video every year. It is part of our focus on being welcoming and it has been instrumental in sharing information and introducing families to the school. I'm going to add your ideas to their list of what to include.

Photo of Jill Jensen
Team

Of course you are Theresa Shadrix, because you are an amazing person! I'd love to see an example!

Photo of Theresa Shadrix
Team

Jill Jensen We are working on finishing this video project as our "Welcome" night for parents is on Thursday night. They do it every year and it seems very helpful for parents. I'll share the finished project, along with everything else we create for it!

Photo of Rebecca Peters
Team

This is an awesome idea, Jill! Thank you so much for sharing it - the students in our schools can create EXCEPTIONAL videos, at every level, and I agree that it would make a huge impact to have new students learn about the school from their peers, especially with something they could go back and look at / listen to anytime they were feeling uncertain! It would also be a cool way to highlight student leadership and empower student voice - and the finished product would give educators / staff some insight into what the students creating the video thought important to include!

Super cool, I'm going to try to get some of the students in our district to take this on...

Photo of Rurik Nackerud
Team

Love this idea. I was doing an interview (kids doing the interview) of an outgoing teacher but I love the idea of kids interviewing each other and celebrating a welcome to our school.

Photo of John Faig
Team

Maybe new students could also create a video introducing themselves.

Photo of Jill Jensen
Team

Hi John,
I think that's a great idea. I'd love to see an iPad handy in the office for kids to send a video to their new class!

Photo of John Faig
Team

Or, you could use a Chromebook with a cloud-based video tool like WeVideo. We've started to leave Samsung Galaxy devices (<$200 with no cell plans) in our Nursery and K classes for students to reflect when they have a powerful thought.

Photo of Jill Jensen
Team

I bet those kids have plenty to say too! I'll have to check out WeVideo, I'm unfamiliar with it.

Photo of Alysha English
Team

Jill Jensen I LOVE this idea; such a cool way to make the school experience more human...especially for new students and families who might be overwhelmed with information and the process. I wonder what it would look like to roll this out as a program throughout the year and have almost a buddy system for sending videos to check in and offer words of affirmation/advice. I also love that you're thinking about how students can really be at the center of this and lead the activity. Since you've tried this, are there any powerful stories or moments that stand out to you?

Photo of Jill Jensen
Team

Sorry for the misunderstanding, but I have NOT tried this particular project myself. I have had a handful of projects of one grade presenting/sharing/learning with a different grade and have watched student pride and ownership skyrocket! It also sounds like @theresa shadix is doing something along these lines. I'll be excited to see her work!

Photo of Paula Marra
Team

LOVE this! I wonder if we could have one also with interviews where admin , parents, teachers, students would share why the choose the school/love the school as an introduction video for new families.

Photo of Jill Jensen
Team

That's a great idea! I can see expanding this to a variety of support staff as well - like lunchroom staff.

Photo of Tiffanie Harrison
Team

I love the student leadership in this idea Jill Jensen ! This totally centers students and fosters communication and collaboration between students, parents and teachers.

Photo of Jessica Lura
Team

Jill,
I like how this helps ease the transition for learners. I would if something similar would be designed to help parents with the transition as well? Either by current learners or by existing parents?

Photo of Jill Jensen
Team

Great idea! I'm sure parents would love to add their perspective as well, plus another friendly face to know always helps!

Photo of Jessica Lura
Team

Ohh, I do like the connection to a friendly-face-- there is something about being able to recognize people that makes you feel connected and not as alone. I wonder if there is also something that could be done that helps current learners and their parents (and the teachers) recognize the new students (similar to John's thought below). So rather than having to introduce yourself over and over again, current learners would be able to be like "Welcome, Jessica--we're in math now. Come join my group" vs "what is your name? where are you from?"