- Hey everyone, this is Jeremy Schieffelin
from Khan Academy.
Thanks so much for joining us in a long running series
of Remote Learning 101.
It's gone on a little longer than we expected
at the beginning back in March, but we're happy to serve you
with whatever is most of interest.
We've heard from a lot of teachers across the country.
They say Yeah, technology is hard
and academics are hard right now.
But motivation and engagement, sparking
that fundamental curiosity and passion for learning
is really the toughest thing to summon
when everyone's feeling a little down.
And so into that void, has stepped
this amazing Khan Academy Ambassador, Laura gas,
who is an incredible sixth grade teacher
in Southern California, and who even before
this crisis started, highly motivating her students
with a very special part of Khan Academy that was built
in collaboration with Pixar, which is called Pixar in a box.
Basically, an online curriculum that's not about calculus,
or algebra or AP U.S. History,
but about how do you tell really amazing stories
using both human ingenuity and technology.
And so, I would love for you to learn
from Laura about her experience and her recommendations.
And I wanna give you a little bit of an extra bonus today.
In the spirit of Pixar and innovation,
we're gonna try a new way of asking questions
for these webinars.
So instead of just asking questions in the question box,
and then waiting to see if your question will be answered,
we're actually gonna use a new tool,
which you gonna find @khan.co/pixarKhan.
I will chat that into the chat area right now.
And what you will find when you get there, is a list
of questions coming in from teachers across the country
that you can not only add to, but you can also upvote.
So if you see question that you're really excited about,
just go ahead and give it a thumbs up,
and those will rise to the top.
And those are the ones that will turn to Laura first
to make sure they get priority answers.
So that being said, Laura, we're so excited
to have you here today.
- Thank you - Thank you again
for sharing your expertise in the midst
of everything else going on.
Take a moment to tell us about
your own educational adventure
and how you got to this moment.
- Well, I'm a teacher here in Southern California.
I've been teaching about 20 years now.
And I teach in Victor Elementary School District,
at a school called Galileo Academy.
And I've been there teaching, I taught third grade
then sixth grade, is what I'm currently teaching right now.
- That's awesome, and tell us how things are going,
like how is the remote learning going for you?
What are you learning along the way?
- Well, I've become much more technological (laughing).
We've been really doing a lot of zoom classes
and it's been really great.
I'm able to see the kids still, and the kids are able
to see me and I'm still able to give them some,
a lot of different lessons.
Today We even took a virtual tour
of the Great Wall of China.
So, it was pretty neat.
- That's awesome.
Well clearly I can tell that you're really focused on
that engagement and motivation piece,
as well as the technology piece.
So, why don't you tell us a little bit more
about Pixar in a Box?
Like, what is it?
And why did you use it in your classroom in the first place?
- Well, one of the reasons why I started using it,
I actually started out as an elective.
We were able to choose, each one of us were able to choose
an elective, something that we really enjoyed doing,
and not something that I really enjoyed doing.
I really think that Pixar in a Box is,
the art of storytelling by storytellers.
Which is pretty fantastic.
And so the last couple of years, I thought,
this is such a fantastic, just these lessons
are just amazing that I'm gonna actually use them
in my writing block
rather than just using them as an elective.
And the kids, absolutely into it.
They really have blossomed as writers
and they really enjoy the process too.
- That's awesome.
And so tell us how you typically use it with your students.
Like how do you roll it out?
How do you get them excited about it?
- Well, we usually do lessons per day but, say for example,
the very first lessons.
So we'll go to the art of storytelling.
And in the art of storytelling,
it's just so fantastic, all of those different lessons
are just all about the storytelling.
So the first thing that I like to do,
is I'd like to show a Pixar short.
What's amazing is Pixar has so many fantastic shorts
and they are short and it's so great for the kids
to be able to tell back the story and they'll be able
to use those to help tell their stories.
So we start with, we are storytellers.
I don't think that the kids realize
what great storytellers they truly are.
They just don't know how to tell that story.
Or, you know, and they learn how to do it in a Pixar way.
So, first they learn what amazing storytellers they are.
In the first lesson, it talks about the characters
and the unique perspective of characters.
And what we do is, it's so relatable
to the kids because once we watch the videos,
because that's another really important piece,
there's always a video on there and Pixar
has allowed us to see a lot of the different stories
that come from people who actually work at Pixar
that they are able to share their stories about
how they became storytellers.
So, then when it asks the student to do is then allows
the student to self Reflect.
But what's great is most of these kids have already seen
these Pixar movies.
So, they'll ask you, pick your three favorite, Okay.
Now let's apply what we've learned.
So, if there are like, for example, in the first activity
it's about, you know, the emotions
and it's about really starting to try to express a memory
that they have.
So, they'll take it and they'll put it in the same concept
as that memory is a story that I can expand on.
So that's what it asks the kids to actually draw
on their own experiences to be able to
tell those stories, which they soon find out
that they are now storytellers.
And then we work into just the structure
of the story or that I've loved the what if activities.
In one of them, the what if this happened or that happened.
And what's fantastic is you can take,
say, "The Incredibles", and then I'll ask the kids,
well, who asked what if?
What is that What if they asked?
And they'll be able to tell me exactly
what if there were superheroes
that couldn't be superheroes anymore?
Well, so there's your story.
And that's how you can start it.
And then after that, we'll work into character.
The kids will start creating their characters
which is really fantastic because once they really get
their character developed, because we spend
a lot of time on developing that one character.
So once they get the character developed using
that internal and external characteristics,
they have to draw the character, they have to tell me
who is this?
Do they have a list?
Do they limp?
You know, and so they have to really define
their characters really well.
And so once they can define that character,
they can then put the character into a world.
So then we talk about setting, Okay.
Let's go ahead
and we'll talk about, what kind
of world do you want to live in.
And I love that one piece where it talks about
the wants versus needs.
Because it's an amazing way to start the story.
They can, what does your character want?
And what do they need to do to be able to go
and get what they want?
And then after we get our character,
we wanna know, you know, What's happening to the character?
Where are their stakes?
You know, those kinds of things.
Then we start looking into the story structure,
which is where the kids really start to develop
their story itself.
The one thing that's absolutely amazing is this story spine.
This story's spine is just something
that gets their juices really flowing.
The once upon a time, every day until one day
and then because of that, because of that,
because of that, until finally.
And it's a great way to start the story.
Sometimes what we'll do in class is, I'll put up
the story spine and I say, "Okay kids, tell me
"once upon a time."
And we'll do it in a group and then the kids
will tell me once upon, and then I said,
"Okay now, every day what did they do?"
And then somebody will tell me, this thought
or the other thing.
And then we'll have a class story that we can repeat
and we Just have a really good time with that,
because sometimes they turn out pretty funny.
- You could even do that over Zoom this days,
have that sort of like, class wide story building.
- And then after we work through the story spine,
I love that, the spine then turns into three different acts.
So then we have act one.
And then we have the three, there's act one,
beginning, middle and end.
Act one is the once upon a time, every day, until one day.
So then we work through act one.
And then we go on to act two, which is the because of,
because of, because of,
and we've worked through that and they get
their middle meat part of the story.
And then finally, we'll go on to act three,
and that's until finally and then ever since then.
And then they have a story, which is really fantastic.
And then after that, what we do
is then we'll start storyboarding our story.
So we'll work through that and they can see
what their story is gonna look like.
And then once they have their story, we were talking
a little bit earlier about, then they have,
then they really get excited about writing
their story into a script.
So what we then do is we go to, there's an extension
in Chrome, that is youMeScript.
And the kids can download this into their Chromebooks
and they can actually write a script.
So, they end up having a complete story's full script.
And sometimes we talk about, we're doing this
and we're gonna go from beginning script to screen and,
so sometimes, if we end up being able to have
a little bit more time, we can maybe recorded it
or do a live action or sometimes they can do claymation
and do a stop motion.
And so they get a complete story.
But the other wonderful thing about this, we've been talking
about narrative for a while here.
This also, I have used in expository
which has been really great.
We will study something like the ancient cultures.
And so what we'll do is, I will give them a prompt
and tell them, "okay, now you are the character
"in this ancient culture."
So now you can then, they have to do the research
on their ancient culture, they have to find out everything
there is to know about that culture because they have
to be able to write the setting for that.
And then they can have an adventure.
In the meantime, they're also learning
how to write an expository to be able to show
an ancient culture or even scientist,
they can become scientists too.
- That's awesome.
- I have to tell you like, I am super impressed because
not only is everything you shared the kind of stuff
that I think any student would love to work
on during normal times, it's a special kind of material
that a student could work on,
even in these very strange times, whether it's with
the class or Zoom or on their own through assignments.
- That being said, I know there are a tonne
of questions coming in.
I do wanna remind folks
that if you wanna ask those questions,
And if you don't mind, Laura, I'd love to start at the top
with some of the top questions coming in.
Okay, so I think this is kind of the elephant in the room
at this point, which is Laura is a sixth grade teacher.
But do you have any recommendations as far as like,
would this work for younger elementary,
would you recommend it all the way up to high school,
like who is this really for?
- Well, I'm actually going to be,
next year I'm going to be doing third grade
and I am gonna use it in my third grade class.
I think this can be used for all ages.
If you're in kindergarten and first grade, you can do it
as a directed instruction and they do it a talk through
in kindergarten and first grade, and even Second grade.
Once you get to third grade, I think this
is really something that they can absolutely do as well.
When you reach the sixth grade is just gonna be
a little bit more sophisticated writing, they're gonna
have a little bit more, the language is gonna look
a little bit different.
But this can be used, I would suggest in kindergarten first
and maybe even second, for it to be a whole class direct
and maybe write a story all together.
But third through six, it works out wonderfully.
- Great, and we'll also mention, we've talked mostly about
the storytelling element.
But there are a number of technical sections focused
on animation and visual design and all that.
And those are actually recommended for fifth grade
all the way through high school with some of the chances
to really apply advanced offerings, if your students
are hungry for that.
So, definitely serves a wide range.
- Yes, yes.
I'd use the animation in my sixth grade class,
but some of my kids will come and tell me,
"Oh, we've already done this, you know,
"we did this when I was in fourth grade,
"or we did this when I was in fifth grade."
So, it depends on, if the kids really loved it.
Just really go in there and try and use it.
- Very cool, and then, in terms of actually finding it,
I'll send out this link again,
but it's basically, right here in your chat.
And if you ever have any trouble hunting it down,
just flat out type Pixar into the search box,
and there you go.
So, next question that was coming in is,
that unit that you describe a storytelling
all the way from coming up with inspiration,
to building a finished script,
how long does it typically take Laura?
- Well, it depends on the group.
And, I think it's really important to when the kids
are really working hard
and they are so interested in these things.
Take as much time as the kids wanna take.
I typically will do a lesson a day,
but there's quite a few times when I'll take, like
the character development, sometimes
they'll take maybe two to three days, because we really want
to get that character really down.
So, we can put him or her into, or it, into a whole bunch
of different situations.
So, I would typically do it,
maybe a lesson every two days or so.
The first couple of lessons are gonna take maybe,
you know, an hour.
But as you work through it and start getting into
the meat of it, the act, the three acts,
that's gonna take a little bit longer,
maybe two to three weeks to get through that.
But it's typically, we work on trimesters.
So typically, in a trimester I can have
all the Lessons finished.
- That's great.
So it sounds like if a teacher started right now,
depending on when their school schedule goes through,
they could probably finish it up
by the end of the school year.
You'd have a nice thing to end the summer with.
- Yes, Yes, I think so.
Now going back to the sort of mathematical piece
that we alluded to, the more technical side of things.
Can you talk about how that works, what that looks like,
and how you may incorporate math into some of that?
- Well, that's mostly for the ones that,
when you look at the Pixar in the Box
when you're looking at, there's with the animation,
they are working through math with third in artistry.
So, they're just learning how to plot and how to program,
how to do the animation, how they're using animations.
So, really in the animation there,
that's where they're using the mouthpiece there.
We don't do it as much but,
the kids get right in there.
And with the animation, there are so many tutorials in there
that actually show them exactly what to do.
And they plot it out for the kids.
And it's so exciting with the one
that you're showing round now with a bouncing ball,
they get so excited when they get the bouncing ball.
But most of the kids will go right in there,
and plot it themselves.
- Very cool.
And then just sort of expand upon
what we were talking about before.
For each of these more technical sections,
there's both an introduction,
and then a more advanced mathematical section.
So if you have fifth graders, you can start with
the intro and stop there.
If you have middle or high schoolers,
you can even go all the way to the end.
What do you think about this
as a whole course versus supplement?
Think it goes back to
that elective versus integrated approach?
- Well, I have to say that when I gave it
as an elective, I only had an hour, maybe a couple of days
a week, and the kids wanted more, more and more.
And because they've really enjoyed it,
they also enjoy watching the Pixar movies in short.
So everybody wanted to be in
that particular elective.
But, I think that this is such an incredible program,
Pixar in the Box, that it it helps the students so much
with their writing and their writing block.
I think it's just, I use it in my writing block,
and I will continue to use it in my writing book
for my whole class, from now on because,
I just think the quality of their writing
that's coming out is fantastic.
And then when they writing in the scripts,
they also start learning about dialogue,
and they also start learning about,
they learn about how to place the action
and those sorts of things
and, I just like it.
I would recommend doing it as a writing block.
I know folks are asking about Google Classroom,
which is something that you mentioned to me before
we got started here.
What do you recommend there as far as the integration?
- Well, I really have to say, Khan Academy has done
an amazing, and Pixar together, have done an amazing job
with creating the Pixar in a Box when the lesson.
So the lessons are just right there for you.
But then what I would do is, I would go ahead
and create a Google Classroom.
And then you can share that with your students
and that gives your students an opportunity
to start adding all of the lessons there, so you can see
all the different things they're doing.
I've had quite a few students, what they'll do is
they'll take pictures of their character
with them, side by side and they'll send that to me.
You can have each, you can separate your Google Classroom
into different activities.
Start with the storytelling activity 1, 2, 3, 4
and then work it that way.
And then you're able to see what the kids are able
to create when you're there.
And then we also do, you know,
our distance learning Zoom meetings, and kids are able
to share all of their information that way too.
But I think Google Classroom is probably one
of the best ways to get some assignments and be able
to give your kids some feedback on how well they're doing.
- That's great.
And so we do something as simple as take that URL right out
of the assignment or the exercise, and then paste it
into an assignment in Google Classroom.
- That's it.
- Okay, cool.
As far as a teacher guide, obviously it's gonna feel
a little overwhelming at first cause it's such
a big piece of content.
Any sort of resources you found that are useful for like,
digging in and making those first steps.
- Well, again, when you're going
to the Pixar in a Box, what I would suggest doing
is just looking at that educators guide
and it really will explain a lot of the,
what's behind Pixar on a box?
And how the lessons were created.
And I would just go through each one of the lessons.
And teachers are just amazing kinds of people,
they always take things and they do it
and make it their own.
Some of the things that I have done, I have added
a little bit to their learning.
So really look at it and try to make it your own.
You might see something and go, "Oh, this is fantastic.
"That's why I added bragging scripts to it."
I would suggest going through each, look at
that educators guide and then I would actually look
through each one of the lessons.
And they're pretty straightforward
because they've done a great job at explaining exactly
what they want the student to learn.
- That's awesome.
Okay we shared that link there.
I know someone else is asking for a link to
that script writing extension, we'll put that in as well.
Let's see what else here.
Can we see a finished product?
You don't have to violate any
of your student's confidentiality or PII,
but can you give folks a sense of like,
what your sixth graders are coming up with?
- Well, I've been getting a lot of stories about unicorns.
A lot of pictures of unicorns and things like that.
I wish I could, I had some of those things,
but we left before we got to get
a lot of the finished products.
But, a lot of the students, some of the students
will come up with amazing narrative scripts about things
that are happening in their own lives,
and, I just I wish I had some to show you
but, you're gonna be amazed at what you find
and what you guys are gonna get.
Some of the pictures that they draw for me
and then with the characteristics, you have to draw on
the outside, the external and then the inside, the internal
and some of the pictures these guys are sending me,
you can tell they really enjoy it.
- That's awesome and especially right now I think.
You know, like talking about
the really tough emotions of this moment.
And for students to have an outlet to share
how they're feeling, even
if it's through a fictional scripts,
like it's so powerful to be able to get that out there.
As far as the scripting piece, I don't know if you're able
to speak to this Laura, but have you heard
of anyone doing something similar on an iPad,
if they don't have access to Chromebooks?
Maybe a scripting app or something like that.
- You should be able to, if you go into Chrome
and you're opened up, you should be able to access
the YouMeScript on any device that you have.
I haven't had any one tell me that they haven't been able
to access it because it's an actual, app that comes from
the Chrome Web Store.
- Yeah. - So if you
have Chrome you should be able to find and have it.
- So it looks like the extension is a nice thing if you do
have Chromebooks, but even if you just have a web browser,
like Safari on an iPad, you can still go to youmescript.com
and get started it looks like.
- you should be able to do that.
Then sort of the question around,
isolation versus whole unit,
obviously, there's a huge cornucopia of lessons here.
Do you think it's okay just to sort of pick and choose,
like hey, if they wanna do a little bit of geometry
or a little bit of stat, or is it really better
to go through that full unit of storytelling?
- Well, it's better to go from beginning to end,
especially with storytelling.
Now with the animation,
some of them build upon the other ones.
So it's really better to go in the sequence
of how the lessons are provided for you.
- Makes sense, Yeah, I think storytelling is such a like,
additive cumulative process, that you don't wanna just dip
in and out for that one.
What about this question, especially for younger students.
So maybe like, sixth graders and below,
obviously anytime you have students who are under 13,
there are very specific policies in place
when it comes to technology.
Do your students actually have Khan Academy logins,
or is that actually irrelevant?
Every single one of my kids has Khan Academy login.
That's one thing that we have emphasized.
It's been incredible to be able
to be a Khan Academy ambassador because I've been able to,
specifically at my site, be able to show
all the teachers how to get on Khan Academy,
how to get their classroom set up, all of that.
And so they are able to, every single one
of our teachers are able to use Khan Academy
and they all have their own accounts on Khan Academy.
- Great, I'll just mention like, I think that's probably
the best scenario in the sense that that way, you can track
their progress using Khan Academy reports
and things like that.
However, I know these are very different circumstances
than we're used to.
And so if you're just like, I wanna roll this out,
but I don't have time for another platform, another set
of passwords, like we were just saying a second ago,
you can always come over to Google Classroom
or whatever LMS is, and just flat out paste the URL in.
Anyone can access it, even without a login.
- Right. - and then just say,
"Hey, send me your finished product.
"Send me your brainstorm, send me your script,
"send me whatever."
And then, your students get all the benefit
of all this goodness, without having
to create another password, another registration process.
So, just throwing it out there.
Let's see here.
Here's a really interesting question
around special education students.
So actually, we did a session dedicated to this audience
a couple weeks ago, which was one
of our most registered sessions ever.
And there's a real concern right now
that I think, every student feels like
they're being left behind in some ways,
but special education students have unique challenges
that we have to solve as educators right now.
Do you think that this program could work
for that audience and drive that same level of engagement?
- Yeah absolutely.
I work pretty closely with our special ed team.
And I'll go back to when I was doing it as an elective.
I had some of the kids that were from sped
that came into my classroom and they were going through
all the lessons together with us.
But we work closely together and I absolutely,
some of those sped kids have great imaginations,
and i think that they can do it without any problems.
Yeah, it does feel like this is really happening something,
pretty universal in this moment,
which is our desire to tell our stories.
And doesn't matter where you're coming from or whatever,
like this is a chance to really have that outlet.
Well, I know we're at the bottom of the hour,
and I wanna respect your time law,
cause I know you have your own students to serve.
Any final words of wisdom that you
wanna leave your fellow educators with, as they go off
on their own journeys.
- Like I say, Pixar in a Box,
it's just the art of storytelling.
And we are gonna create a generations,
if we continue to use this.
We're gonna create a generation of storytellers,
which I think is gonna be fantastic.
And, I would just keep plugging away and, like I say,
it's very straightforward, it's pretty easy to use,
and, you just can't imagine the wonderful stories
that you're gonna get from your kids.
I think that's what we all need
a little bit more of right now.
Right, thank you for sharing your story, Laura.
And then I wish everyone else incredible adventures yet
to come and stories yet to be written.
And please, please, please wish you all incredible success
on that tough road ahead.
Thank you so much, Laura.
Thanks to everyone.