There’s more than one way to teach children vocabulary. In January, Crocker Highlands Elementary School’s word of the month was “compassion”, and since Martin Luther King, Jr. Day also falls in January, the school staged a march for peace, ending in a human peace sign on the playground.

The event was captured by three dads, one on the ground and two using drones to capture footage of the peace sign. Then, the footage was stitched together into a video so the event could be shared with students’ family and friends. Take a look at the moving video below, and then read our interview with Crocker’s Principal, Joci Kelleher, who shared some of the background of the event with Animoto.

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BETH: Can you provide a little background about the event? How it was conceived?

This is the first time we have done this march. We were inspired by a similar event at another Oakland school, Melrose Leadership Academy. One of our teachers, Anita Graffius, shared their video with me and suggested we do something similar with our kids. Together, we decided that honoring Dr. King’s legacy and celebrating one of our 8 Cougar Words of the Month (compassion) would be a great way to kick off the Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend.

It also turned out to be a great event to have the week before our Martin Luther King, Jr. Oratorical Festival, whose theme was “A Call to Action.” It was great to be able to direct the students’ attention to the fact that we had taken action the week before when we showed everybody how important we believe it is to show others our compassion.

BETH: What lesson plans, if any, led up to the event?

Several teachers had the kids make signs about compassion, and all of our teachers do lessons during January related to compassion. We usually “celebrate” the word of the month with an indoor assembly, but we decided to make our “Compassion Creation” instead this month. ‘

BETH: Can you tell me a little bit about the planning that went into the march?

Anita (a third grade teacher) and I did the initial planning, figuring out how to get all of the classes outside in an orderly fashion and how to move the procession onto the playground after the lap around the school. We decided to ask classes to vote on whether we should create a heart or peace sign as a symbol of compassion, and the kids voted for the peace sign.

When we shared the idea with the rest of the staff, one person suggested we have each grade level wear a different color, which we added to the plan. On the day of the event, Anita, my 21 year old daughter, a parent and I used string as a radius and chalk to draw an outline of the peace symbol. Once kids started to arrive, we got a few of them involved in drawing it as well.

BETH: How did you arrange the drone footage?

The drone footage was shot by two Crocker dads, and another dad added video from the ground level. The drone dads coordinated efforts before the event.

BETH: It looks like you’ve had a lot of great feedback from the video!

We had people expressing their joy about the event within a day of posting the video on Facebook and our website.


Are you sharing events at your school using video? We’d love to see it! If you want to show us what your school’s been up to, share your video below, or reach out on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter with hashtag #MyAnimoto.

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