Weekly Huddles – 2020-21

1/18/21Moving from Pre-Production into Production!

January Goal: By our next full-cohort meeting on Saturday, Feb 6th, complete Pre-Production steps 1-8 in the Sequence for Making a Documentary, and complete one recorded interview & upload it to Google Drive, which begins the Production steps. Related: Set up a subfolder in your Google Shared Drive for footage & upload footage as it is shot so it is organized, backed-up, shared, and those uploads are spread out over time.

Learning-Scales Check-In: Sometime this week, please access the document shared in Monday’s email and locate your name. Here’s a template or example of what you’ll see on your document. On your own document, follow the directions at the top of the page. 

Reminder: Weekly Check-Ins: Please continue attending your weekly video check-in meetings for 30-40 mins with your social action team. It is so important to make space for these and attend to keep us connected, share successes, and seek help and ideas along the way.

Reminder: Film Contest #3: We are so impressed by what we’ve seen so far; we can’t wait to see what comes next. Directions: Share up to a 3-minute clip of one of your “real” interviews for your documentary. We’ve shared a screenshot of Professor Mittell’s presentation. Not all interviews ‘must’ look like this, but it’s a reminder of the norms in composition for this genre of film. Due Date: BEFORE February 6th, which is our next Saturday Session. Please find these details and where to submit this film, here.

12/13/20So Long, 2020! Hello, 2021!

Blog Post / Reflection: Based on our agenda from last weekend, we hoped to see new reflections/blog posts by the end of today. If you need more time or have questions, we are just an email away. The blog should:

  • Storytell about a few of the most interesting things you’ve learned so far in WTS that we’ve intentionally taught.
  • Storytell about a few of the most interesting things you’ve learned that might surprise us because we didn’t deliberately teach.
  • Showcase the elements of successful blog posts.
  • Be around 600-750 words in length

Weekly Check-Ins & Goals by 1/9/21: Each week, our social action teams are meeting by video conference for just 30-40 mins. During each meeting, members are sharing their progress toward completing the first five steps in our Sequence for Making a WTS VT Documentary before our full cohort meets again on Saturday, January 9th. During these check-ins, teammates also make plans for the coming week and help each other.

11/8/20 & 11/15/20November Menu of Options

Over these two weeks, please use our November Menu to guide your learning and collaboration. Your small team should meet by video conference weekly by the end of Sunday 11/15 and again before the end of Sunday 11/22 to discuss your progress, ideas, and questions. Videos meetings should be about 30-45 minutes.

11/1/20Readying for our First Virtual Retreat

Before we meet on Saturday morning, 11/7, please skim over the other blog posts from the previous week. You can find them on our website. As you read, please take notes: (1) what patterns do you notice in the individual interests for social action that is expressed, (2) what topics are unique, (3) where are there similarities among interests. In particular, pay attention to your own topic and how it is reflected (or not) in the others’ blog posts. When we return from lunch on Saturday, our discussion will be led by what you noticed. Also, please remember to skim the posts. We don’t want this to be overly difficult for you, and we understand that meticulously reading each post and taking too many notes could easily feel overwhelming.

10/25/20Blog Post #2Getting ready for our first Virtual Retreat

A few things to keep in mind as you approach drafting your reply to this week’s blogpost prompt, which you should post by the end of Sunday, November 1st.

  1. Your WTS peers and instructors will be reading and replying to these blog posts in ways that are conversational and part of the process of determining the topic and teams we’ll be working with this year. Please keep them in mind as you draft your reply to this week’s prompt.
  2. Back on October 3rd, we shared with you The Elements & Examples of Successful WT Blogposts. Please refer to this resource before and after you draft your reply; be sure that you include all of these elements in your blog post. 
  3. Please don’t sit down and bang this out in a single sitting. Get a draft up and running soon, either on the site or Google Docs, and then give it some space and return to it. And if you need some support, reach out to us, and we’ll gladly lend a hand. 
  4. Please make this blogpost between 750 – 1,000 words, and be sure to publish it by November 2. 

Now for the blog post. Please try to respond to the following question within your post. You can choose to use the format below for structure or develop one of your own choosing.

How / What I Learned

  • How did you approach your research?
  • What are some of your most interesting findings?
  • How would you describe the main conflict in this topic / story?
  • Who are the stakeholders or characters involved? 

My Perspective / Angle

  • If you / others decided to pursue this story this year, what are some of the key questions that still need to be answered? 
  • Any thoughts on whether / how you can approach this story in a way that is novel / hasn’t been done before? 

My Current Enthusiasm

  • How enthusiastic are you about this topic? Be honest, and perhaps indicate what is getting in the way of unrelenting enthusiasm.
  • Are you open to considering another topic? 

10/11/20 (Outline of the next three weeks)

FALL MENU ADDITIONS | greenacresicecream

This description covers the next three Weekly Huddles: the weeks ending on Sunday 10/11, 10/18, and 10/25. The learning revolves around three primary aspects:

  1. Research on a social issue of your choosing
  2. Film study
  3. Time-management, organization, and keeping commitments to your group-members

To guide this work, we’ve created a fall menu of options for these weeks.

Each week, you should select one Main Course from our fall menu to further your research. Additionally, we invite you to choose a Dessert, too, to continue to look at short documentary films, but these are entirely optional. As you complete your targets each week, be sure to add notes to your Learning Log that was shared last Saturday before you meet with your team.

Finally, we are expecting and supporting you to keep your commitment to your small team to meet and discuss, doing everything you can to make sure you are prepared and show up to your group’s weekly video conference. An important part of being successful in WTS each year is learning how to be even better at managing our time and keeping commitments to others. These meetings provide practice for those skills as well as a chance to further your understanding of your topic and film.

9/27/20 (to be completed by the end of Fri, 10/2)

In preparation for this weekend’s Saturday Session (October 3rd, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm EST), we’d like you to do three things before the end of Friday, October 2nd:

  1. Use these directions to access our website, update your profile, and write a blog post.
    1. We will follow up with each WTS youth and mentor through an individual email to you today with a username and password. Please change that password when you log in by going to your Profile (see directions).
  2. Use these prompts to write a blog post that answers three questions: 
    1. How did your team do with your meetings? How did you build understanding through conversation? What was exciting/difficult about working in a small team? 
    2. What are 2 -3 ideas/techniques you noticed that might be helpful when you make a film? How might you apply those choices to a topic you are interested to create a film about?
    3. What are you looking forward to in the year ahead with WTS, and what questions do you have about that work?
  3. Use our Slides of Ourselves (with names & without names) to reconnect with the faces and names of everyone so you’re ready for a new round of the name game. 

9/20/20 (to be completed by the end of Sunday 9/27)

  • Please watch “Schools for Change” (5 mins), that captures “an inspiring story of the power of Education, and how it turned around the lives of the kids when they fell in love with real education.”
  • Here are three questions to jump-start your thinking about choices the filmmaker has made. Please bring your own rough notes and reactions and other observations, ideas, and questions to share at your team meeting. 
    1. After watching the film, return to the beginning of the opening sequence (0:05 – 0:35). 
      • What did you see and hear (be as specific as you can)?
      • What impact did those choices have on you?
      • What is another choice the filmmaker could have made during that moment in the film? How would that have impacted the audience differently?
    2. Consider the same questions as above but zoom into the few moments between 3:35-3:45.
    3. This documentary illuminates something that is wrong and needs to be changed telling a hopeful, uplifting, and specific story about someone working to change one thing that is wrong in the world.
      • Consider a social issue of interest, either from your application or current thinking. What are the ways you might elevate and celebrate what’s right in the world on that topic instead of looking at what’s wrong or absent? How would that uplifting approach impact your audience differently than without focusing on it?

9/13/20 (to be completed by the end of Sunday 9/20)

We are thrilled with the courage of each person and family in this year’s cohort to have joined this group of intrepid youth from Vermont, the Navajo Nation, South Carolina, and Louisville; KY. We are able to come together through the work and generosity of the Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College, NextGen, the SNAVE Foundation, and the Bay & Paul Foundations. We are blessed to work with such dynamic and rewarding networks of youth and adults.

During yesterday’s opening kick-off, we established small teams that would meet each of the next two weeks. This begins a process of asking youth to establish habits and routines that will be vital as we move into the year together. In addition, they will begin to hone their understanding of filmmaking as a series of specific choices made to move audiences.

These meetings are a time for youth to share and discuss their ideas as they make meaning through conversation. This week’s prompt is below. Please watch the short film and record your own thinking prior to meeting with your group later this week. When you meet with your group, please record your shared and divergent ideas in the Google Docs you established this past Saturday.

Please watch “Beneath the Ink” (12 mins), which captures Billy Joe White’s journey to help others heal from their pasts.

  • Here are three questions to consider as you watch the film to think about the choices that the filmmaker has made. Please bring your notes and ideas to your group’s video meeting to share and discuss:
    1. How does the filmmaker develop a compelling character and make us care about Billy Joe White? (be specific)
    2. What are two memorable choices the filmmaker has made that seem to work together toward a larger purpose? What are the choices you see as connected? What is the impact of those choices?
    3. Rewatch the opening sequence (up to 1:05); list three reasons why those images may have been chosen in order to begin this film.

Header Image: Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash