Mooresville family’s video at school gets White House mention
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Friday, Mar. 28, 2014

Mooresville family’s video at school gets White House mention

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- PHOTO COURTESY OF THE FOX FAMILY
Becky Fox, center, says her twin sons Hudson, left, and Ethan learned a lot in making their video “The Coddle Creek Way.”

Becky Fox faced a parent’s familiar challenge on a cold winter weekend: finding something fun and useful for the kids to do.

“Every once in a while I’ll go online and look for a creative contest,” said the Mooresville mother of 7-year-old twins Ethan and Hudson. “This one looked interesting.”

She came across the first annual White House Student Film Festival, launched in November. Students from across the country were invited to create short films that showed the importance of technology in their schools.

She and her sons got busy. With the considerable help of Coddle Creek Elementary staff and participation from the twins’ first-grade classmates, they put together a catchy three-minute rap video featuring the boys that was a national finalist and received an honorable mention from among the 2,500 entries.

More important, Fox said, was the message of “The Coddle Creek Way.”

“Not only have we worked on a project together as a family that’s creative, but at the same time, we got to highlight things that the school is doing and how we learn from technology in areas like math, science, history and even technology itself,” she said.

“I think if we don’t expect technology to be used in learning, children are kind of left behind. When they go to school, they use Smart Boards (interactive flat-screen boards that replace the traditional chalk boards). The teacher gives them a test on their iPads. So for them, the technology is very natural. If they want to look something up, they look it up on the Internet. … That’s just the way of the world now.

“If we won, they were curious about how to get to the White House. We went to Google, and on Google Maps you can actually take an interactive tour. We virtually walked through the White House, so they feel like they’ve been there.”

When Ethan was asked what he liked best about the video, he quickly said, “the Abraham Lincoln part” – a snippet in which he appears in a Lincoln costume and says, “Four score and seven years ago.” His mom liked that part for another reason.

“That started a conversation among my kids: Where did Abraham Lincoln live? How was he a great president? What kind of car did he drive?” she said with a laugh. “It’s been really exciting to see that through the eyes of a 7-year-old.”

Hudson was most excited about filming in the class with his schoolmates. This was facilitated by the enthusiastic support of Coddle Creek Principal C. Brian Foster and teachers including Lydia Wood, Beth Puckett, Kerri Layne and Linda Lerch, among other staff.

“I worked with the teachers when the kids and I came into the classroom to do the video-ing,” Fox said. Mrs. Wood was one of the classroom teachers where we did most of our video-ing. The school was so supportive that it encouraged others to enter the contest, too.”

Fox said it took two to three weeks, off and on, to do the video. She filmed it with help from a teenage family friend.

“I kind of came up with the rap idea. One morning I started jotting down some things that I thought the boys would like.”

She said the kids also learned a lot about the filming aspect: “They learned about how voice overs work – ‘Wait a minute, I’m going to videotape this and then put music to it?’ We did a little green screen they stood in front of, which they had never done before. The boys were really interested in things like that, and sound effects.”

On Feb. 28, she and her kids watched the White House ceremony online that featured the 16 official selections. “It was really inspirational,” Fox said. “They had kids from all over the United States with different types of technology. It highlighted the fact that we have to continue to support education by encouraging technology.”

Meanwhile, their time in the spotlight continues. She and the kids were invited to the March 10 Iredell-Statesville school board meeting to show the video.

Reid Creager is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Reid? Email him at reidcreager@yahoo.com.

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