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written Tuesday, 6/29/2010
Last summer I aspired to have students write and perform mathematical poetry during the school year to come. The assignment would have required them to demonstrate mathematical content knowledge of at least one topic studied during the year. It also would have challenged them to write with a strong, empassioned voice. To provide an example of the type of poem I had in mind, I first felt obliged to write one myself.
While I failed to follow through with the classroom assignment, Sinusoidal Curve was born from the summer musings (see earlier entry). I was so pleased with the poem and its reception that I soon envisioned an accompanying video. My skills for such an endeavor are limited to animation or perhaps a photo slide show, and neither of those forms fit what I had in mind. The clear choice was to call on the services of Lusher Media Arts students who have demonstrated tremendous talents for making short film projects.
Mr. Jeansonne heads the C.A.M.A.L.S. program (Certificate of Artistry in Media Arts at Lusher School). He recommended Charley Whitman who planned on studying/making music videos for his senior project. I collaborated with Charley to refine the rough storyboard that I had already written, and he ended up directing and editing the video. Charley recruited Adrian Womack to create an original music track and Evan Eyer to assist with lighting and other aspects of the filming.
We recorded the audio of the poem recital just prior to spring break and spent a couple days over the vacation filming in my classroom. I made a few animation elements and then Charley spent many late nights over some frantic weeks putting it all together.
Graduating seniors Charley and Evan both had to juggle the exhausting demands of the C.A.M.A.L.S. program with the significant time requirements of my AP Calculus class (not to mention other lesser academic classes, of course!) Adrian is still on the fence about whether he’ll take on the challenge of AP Calculus as a senior this coming year. My interactions with students are so often limited to the context of math class. I found it incredibly rewarding to collaborate with these talented young guys in another area of great commitment and interest to them.
On May 8 and 9, C.A.M.A.L.S. showcased the year’s student projects during a morning film festival at the local Prytania Movie Theatre (Louisiana’s only single screen theater, opened in 1915). I was genuinely impressed with the overall quality and originality of all the works. Watching Sinusoidal Curve on the big screen was admittedly a thrilling highlight for me. Through the whole experience of bringing this project to life I gained some insight into some of the wonderful school ventures taking place outside of my classroom. We have some extremely creative students at Lusher High and I wouldn’t be surprised to see their names on the big screen again someday.
Note: In an earlier posting I indicated that the video might be further refined over the summer. That’s looking unlikely to happen, but I’m pleased with the entire project as is.