following was submitted by WHS student, Sara Frankel.
Students in Mrs. Leegan's and Mr. Cohn's 9th grade humanities class worked with Master Technology Teacher, Adam Pizzi, on a project called "Walk in My Shoes." The project was inspired by advice given by Atticus Finch to his daughter Scout in the novel, To Kill A Mockingbird. Atticus explains to Scout "you never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view...until you climb into his skin and walk around in it" (Lee 36).
Based on the Finch quote, students were challenged to answer the following essential questions: Why does "walking in someone's shoes" allow us to feel empathy and how can empathizing with others promote positive change? Specifically, each student group was given a picture of a pair of shoes and asked to create a story about the life of the owner of the shoes. In creating the story, students had to include some information about a daily hardship their fictitious person endures. Students brainstormed ideas and answered discussion questions to develop an idea of who the shoes’ owners could be and then developed the story of the life of the owner of the shoes by creating a storyboard. Students then captured this story in the form of a 2 to 3 minute film, which was shot using iPads and edited using Internet software tools. Students then presented the films at the Cohn Film Festival. Each group had to prepare an oral presentation in which it broke down the film. Specifically, students had to prepare and present a treatment of the film and an explanation of the film's title. Students also discussed their two most successful editing techniques and shared what they believed to be the answer to the essential questions.
As classmates viewed each film, students reflected on how successfully their peers answered the essential questions, and students offered editing suggestions. As a wrap up to the Walk in My Shoes project, RJ Millard, who "leads Obscured Pictures in handling unit & corporate publicity, film sales, marketing and publicity for festivals, theatrical and non-theatrical distribution, awards campaigns and production" visited the classroom to talk about film and the film industry.
Finally, as a culminating event, students are currently
coordinating a school-wide shoe drive to collect shoes for the needy.
They are donating to Mission Haiti Helping Kids, a foundation that
assists school children living in Haiti who are still recovering after the
earthquake that devastated the island in 2010. In total, the class plans
on collecting and donating 1031 shoes so that other children can walk in their own
shoes. Donation bins will be set up outside Temple Emanu-El and other Westfield
The students are collecting the following shoes:
• Boys’ shoes (black school shoes, sneakers, durable flip flops) sizes ranging from 7 to 10.5.
• Girls’ shoes (black school shoes, sneakers, durable flip flops) sizes ranging from 4 to 10.
For more information on the shoe drive you can visit the
student-made website www.showucare.weebly.com