An open letter to my Students…

It’s 12:37 am, the night before our last class together and I find myself not wanting to shut my eyes.  I don’t want tomorrow to end, like I don’t want a holiday to end. I’m ready to say goodbye to you as your teacher and every time I think the words, type the phrase or think about it longer than a few seconds, I’m fighting back tears. 


I know I’m just an 8th grade Media/Technology teacher, but you all have meant more to me this year than you’ll ever know.  I love my work and I love that you all or “yinz” decided to work with me this year.  

We did great things. We had great broadcasts, we worked on new segments, new assignments, we started to a podcast and we completed some big projects as well. We started Facebook videos and updates, worked with all social media and completed the best Lipdub out of the ten that I have produced. 


What will happen when you all leave?  Will Eagle News and me stil he a blip on your radar?  I hope so, but I know in all reality it will fade away.  There will be new blips, I’m crying again, new goals to reach in high school as the 8th grade memories will fade away. 

I am positive you will not forget, it’s been extra special. The Mannequin challenge was cool, the Survivor broadcast was special, all the artwork, the collaboration, design, storytelling, editing, hours of editing, planning, etc that you put just in Eagle News will never be forgotten. 


You challenged me, asked me why or told me that another way was better and I appreciated that. Your dedication was top notch. I knew I could always ask anyone of you to do a project, take a picture or write up a tweet for the good of our program. 

I am proud of every group that passes through the Eagle News studio. I’m especially proud of you all. I always dread saying goodbye, but I fear it today. Not for you but for me.  I know you all will go on to do great things. I fear it for me because I will move forward and a new group, hopefully, will fill your shoes and I want to be as proud of them as I am of you. 


You all made me a better person and teacher this year. I cannot thank you enough.  You all will always have a special place in my heart. I am always available to talk, for any reason, to share stories, to gloat or tell me a grade, to cry, to laugh or to ask me how Eagle News or my kids are doing. 

Please come back.  What hurts the most that I will never be your teacher again. It hurts so much.  But I know you’ll move on to more challenges and teachers that care.  Work hard and do your best.  Don’t ever forget, #EagleNews!


With respect and admiration,

Mr. Meta

The Hyatts Film Festival

This was an email I sent out the staff of the district where I work.  I will be working on this show for the next two weeks and I love every minute of it.
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Olentangy Friends,

This is the 8th year(I can’t believe it has been 8 years already) for the Hyatts Film Festival.  We will be celebrating 18 films this year at the AMC Lennox Movie Theater down near OSU’s campus.  I know everybody is extremely busy, but if you have an interest in the arts, filmmaking and what it’s like through the lens of a student at Hyatts come down and check out the show.

We will also be celebrating the work of the Eagle News students, as they find out what video is the Eagle News video of the year as well as the world premiere of our newest “Eagle News Lip Dub” titled “Early MTV, Celebrate the 80s with Us.”

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So if you have a couple of hours, HA HA, come down to the Lennox next Monday, bring the kids, Adam, my third grade son at Glen Oak, watched the films and then decided his passion was to start a band with his buddies from Y-Club, order some popcorn and enjoy the show. The show starts at 7:00 PM with some pre show activities starting at 6:15.

Tickets are $6.00 from me in my room at Hyatts or $7.00 at the door, next Monday!  Here is the website if you are interested in what the show looks like. There’s lots of pictures and the winners from previous years on the site.
Thanks for reading, have a great end of the year and peaceful, restful summer.  You all are great and we work in a great place!  Go Olentangy.

All the Best,

Jim Meta

Am I doing a good job?

This is more of a guest blog from one of my students.  You see, this weekend is the last weekend of the 5th 6-week period for school and my media students have their final blogs to submit.  Blogging isn’t a favorite of some of the students but for others it is an avenue to express themselves through words.  Some write about movies, some write about books and some find inspiration from all over to write.

As I read these hundreds of entries, as I preach to the students, the audience of our shows love to see themselves on Eagle News, as I love to read about Eagle News and me in their writing.  Tonight, a student, “stood up” for preparing a “live broadcast” every morning. Here is her account of what we do in the morning, I though it was amazing…

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Hey everyone, I know this is pretty early in the week for a blog, but a big change is going on in Eagle News and I had to say something to try to make a difference.|

Here is the quote:
~ Take every chance you get in life, because somethings only happen once ~
Today , my video production teacher, Mr. Meta, was talking to us. We had to cancel the news once again because of lack of prep. I was disappointed that we had our one chance to do the news that day, and we blew it. Then, my teacher said something that shocked me even more: Next year, the news will be taped. Everyone had big reactions, and while I kept mine to myself and thought about it, I’m ready to share it now.
While many classes teach beneficial material like how to solve an equation or parts of a sentence, they don’t really talk about people skills. Eagle News does. Through Eagle News I have become a better leader, I’ve learned about time management, and I have come to the realization that you only get one chance. One chance. That’s the amazing thing about going live, you only get one chance to get it right. This is the most important skill I have ever learned during all my years of education. In other classes, if you fail the teacher will help you then let you retake the quiz or test. While this is helpful, it doesn’t prepare you for real life. In real life you can’t mess up. You can’t forget to go to a conference in Minnesota, you can’t skip a lesson as a teacher, and you can’t mess up a live broadcast that is being projected to thousands of people around the state. You only have one chance to get that right, and if you don’t, you’re fired.
Going live, even if it is only for 900 students, is important. You can’t mess up here because there is no way to re-take the shot. You only get one chance. Without the live aspect of Eagle News, you don’t receive that vital life skill of one chance.
Another aspect of going live is that you only get one chance to do the job. In the beginning of the year, I was more shy than I am now (I never was completely shy, but I definitely wouldn’t be willing to jump at all the opportunities I get like I do today). Eagle News helped me break out of my shell and take the jobs when I could, even if that meant I only had one shot at getting it right. I used to be afraid of making mistakes, but Eagle News taught me how to live with my flaws, and how to conquer my problems instead of running away from them. I knew I only had one chance of getting the job, and that made me want it more. Now, people won’t feel the excitement or pressure as much because there is nothing to look forward to. If you make a mistake, you can fix it. If you don’t want to do the job, a kid from study hall can do it. Not going live takes away the special aspects of the class. The class taught me exactly what the quote says, to take every chance because it might be the only you have.
Before the change happens, I wanted to let all of you know the benefits of going live, and the consequences of taking that option away. I know many of you can’t do much about this, but if you can, I urge you to take that ONE CHANCE you have and make a difference. Because you never know, your one chance could give hundreds of other kids their chance.

 

…kids write about stuff all year long.  This student above is the best writer that I have read in 8th grade through these blogs.  Don’t get me wrong, other students write well, but the above has moved me everytime I have read her work.

It was an honor that the above entry was the last one she will write or I will read.

Mr. Meta

It’s Been an Emotional Week..

I have been away from the blog lately.  It is starting my really busy time at school.  We are starting a new year of Washington D.C. work, the film festival is about to pick up with the student films due in three weeks and I had the flu B, which kicked me in the rear end!

This was the week before spring break and if you are a student reading this or a teacher reading this, you know that this week is full of excitement and unrestfullness (Is that a word?) The weather this week stunk, it was cold, snowy, then windy and rainy and it was just plain awful.  That never helps when you are coming up to “spring break” right?

It’s Friday and we all made it but I wanted to talk about running into old students from previous years.  On Thursday night, I took Adam to his Ninja World class and as he ran off to do his ninja thing, I ran into an old student of mine from Eagle News last year, Brad and his mom.  Brad was finishing up his pole vault practice. My plan was to drop off Adam and run to the gym to get a quick workout in, but Brad was happy to sit down and talk to me for that hour.

We talked about everything over the past year including some stuff from last year.  I was going to just say hi and move on with my night, but I am so happy that I didn’t.  I learned so much and recollected about last year’s Eagle News class.  I found out what has happened in his life the past nine months and I enjoyed hearing his journey to so many new things in his life.  What I also loved about my time with Brad was the fact that he was still interested in making my program better, he asked about my family and cared about what was going on with me.  That lifted my spirit.  I appreciated my time with Brad and his mom.

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It took me back and made me realize how my time with these kids, all kids, are so precious and so valuable.  It made me realize that I am down to eight weeks with the kids that I have in Eagle News.  After these eight weeks, it will NEVER be the same.  I sat there today with the kids that were at school and I watched them laugh, collaborate, edit video, film video, plan projects, critique final video, dance to “Just Dance”, study for a test, etc.

I love my job and I love the passion that the kids have for their work.  I appreciate all the work that these students, my students, have for the work that I assign them and for the work that I don’t assign them, but they do!  I care about the work that we all do together.

Yes, I am writing this at one of my late night blogs, but we are on spring break…..and this is my first official tear for my students of 2016-17.  Every year I dread the last day of school, it’s the day that makes it real that I will no longer be their teacher.

Enjoy your spring break everyone, it’s officially my 20th and I am going to enjoy it.

 

When it’s a Good Day…

Our school is having “Learning Walks” and one of my colleagues came into my room last week to see exactly how Eagle News works.  I told him that it would be my pleasure to have him visit and I look forward to hear what he thought about how the classroom works.

The Eagle News classroom works like this:

  • Kids come in
  • We have a meeting to go over the previous broadcast
  • Then we look over the next couple of days and make sure that all work is ready to go.
    • This includes the class’ next assignment
    • Who is doing what for next broadcast
    • Schedule out jobs and
    • Go over a short 5-8 minute mini lesson
  • Then process what all groups are doing and then the kids go work.

img_3058This gives the kids about 25 minutes to work on many things going on in class.  There are their big projects for the 6-week period (4 Projects), their deadline projects(One group has to do the “daily” project and the “opening” video for their broadcast, social media to publish and the weekly podcast to publish.

There is a lot going on.  It is a very active classroom. I walk around the room, the school etc to keep up with what is going on in all groups.  Sometimes I get caught up in what is going on in one specific group. There is a lot of observation going on during the time too.  While walking around the room, I always keep an eye out for what all members of the groups are doing.

At the end of the visit, I showed the teacher our new podcasting equipment.  I showed the teacher that this work could be used in the world language classes to record students speaking so that they could evaluate how they are doing with their speaking.  We also talked about how some media tools could be used in class that could be a better alternative to PowerPoint or Google Slides.

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Katie and Megan took a selfie with my phone….HAHA!

Push forward a week or two later, I was sitting in a staff meeting and our boss told the staff that it was cool to have the student centered work and student driven work in my class.

That was good to hear.

I have worked with the librarian at our school for nine years and for about the past seven or eight years, she has been telling me that the work that I have been doing in the Eagle News classroom is the right thing to do with these kids.  She has told me these things and I haven’t shrugged them off, but I thought that she was just trying to make me feel better. I believe that what I am doing in my classroom is the right thing to do.

It is amazing hearing good things from colleagues in your building. I love what I do.

img_3063I finished my day interviewing one of my students of the year from 4 years ago in my new podcast or section of our Eagle News podcast called, “A Look Back.” I have interviewed 4 alumni from Hyatts and each one has been a pure joy to have.  It is amazing to sit down for 30 minutes with old students and have them give advice to the middle school kids and to look back at their time at Hyatts.

What a day, I didn’t include the projects that we are doing in 6th grade, the Minecraft that is now missing in 7th grade and the possible changes to how we do Eagle News that was discussed today, which, I am ok with, if it means things will be better for kids at Hyatts.

We also had a Hyatts Film Festival meeting today after school.  Only two kids came.  I wasn’t too happy about it, but about 10 kids told me that they couldn’t come to the meeting. I know that there will be plenty of involvement in the show this year.

Oh yeah, the Eagle News kids discussed the two topics of this year’s lip dub.  I am PUMPED for this!  More to come.  Have I told you that I love what I do…..

It was truly a busy day but a great day altogether.

Being Sick…..I need NORMAL

I know it is flu season and “bug” season, but I have always said that this stuff doesn’t happen to our family.  We have been so very blessed, knock on wood, that our kids haven’t been very sick when it comes to the flu or virus issues.

Well that all came to a complete halt last weekend as Adam’s teachers at Y-Club called and said that he wasn’t feeling well and that I was to get him ASAP.  So I did and he kept saying he wasn’t feeling well, I kept reassuring him that all would be good.  No worries, until we pulled up to our house, he opened the door and, yep, projectile on the open door of my car, on his way out the car.  This was the first time as a parent that one of my kids didn’t make it out of the car to let loose with puke!

Adam had a not so fun next 24 hours, but as he started to come back to life, what happened to me and Beth was pure brutal.  That is all I have to say.  Sunday was a complete waste.  I felt bad for my kids, in fact we relied on my sister-in-law to go get some groceries so that we had bread products to eat to slowly come back to the living.

Beth laid at the toilet for 15 hours and I was on the couch making sure not to spread it to the kids again.  The windows were open, the house was cold, Emme never left her pjs and Adam was a rockstar.  He got us anything that we needed, prepared Emme’s lunch and made sure everything was done.

I have to say, although its nice to lay around for a day and sleep and recover, but wow, when you miss a day of life, everything piles up, projects to be graded, laundry to be done, dishes pile up, etc.  A complete mess.  It is now Monday night, I missed a day of school and now I don’t feel like feeding the kids or getting them ready for bed.  In fact I’m getting to bed early too so that I am ready for work tomorrow morning.

Back to normal, I hope.

#HereWeGo….

#HereWeGo….

18 hours until my Steelers, yes, my Steelers take the field against the New England Patriots and, although you who read this will laugh, I am trying to take my mind off this game!

I can’t.  Although I am trying to watch a movie, I decide to revisit this game in my head by writing this blog entry.  I react the same way to all Steelers’ playoff football games!  When the game is announced, whether it’s the Wild Card round or the Super Bowl, I spend most of the weekend breaking down the game in my head.  I imagine what will happen, I have dreams about how the game will play out and I try to envision all the good that will happen for my team.

So on Friday, I come home from school, do my parenting thing and then when the family goes to bed, I look back upon good and bad Steelers’ playoff games and I don’t know, watch more football than I need to in preparation for the upcoming real game. On Saturday, I do the same, except I now listen to all the talk shows, sportscenters, nfl podcasts and read whatever I can to see how all the so called experts are picking the game.  Then I stay up late on Saturday night and I watch lots of football as I fight sleep, hoping to have all good dreams about my favorite team winning the next day.

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My GameDay Outfit.
So Sunday arrives and I put on the clothes that I will wear on each game that the Steelers have during the current playoff run. This year is my jeans, ripped and torn, with my “Got Rings” long-sleeve black Steelers t-shirt with my new Cameron Heyward jersey over top.  This is the outfit that I have worn every Friday to work and every Sunday during the game.  They have not been washed.  Thank goodness they don’t allow people to smoke in bar/restaurants anymore.

I know I am crazy about Steelers’ playoff football, but I will never change the way I am about it.  It’s all about the Steelers.  I love the Pirates (Baseball is fun again) and the Penguins (That Stanley Cup run was a blast last season) and even my University of Dayton basketball team. (That run in 2014 was a lot of fun)

Nothing tops the Steelers.  16 games a year are so precious for a fan.  The one game that I get to attend in person in gold. Any playoff run in the NFL is such an unbelieveable ride. I know there are so many people that live around me (Columbus, Ohio) that are Browns or Bengals fans and these people, good people, have not been able to feel the ride that I have been on so many times since 1993.

My wife puts up with it, she is so good about it.  She readjusts our schedule so that I can watch the games with family and friends whom also love the Steelers.  They may not be as crazy as I am, but they are close to my craziness.  I get my sunday outfit on and start my day.  

On this AFC Championship, I need to get a workout in, get to Emme’s soccer practice and then get Adam to his third Pinewood Derby.  When that all ends, my boy, Paul will pick me, we will arrive at our spot for the game, one hour prior to the game, wait for our other fans to show up and then watch the game.

With the Steelers and their run through every season, here is how I handle the NFL playoffs….if the Steelers are alive, I expect a Steelers win and hopeful for a blowout win.  When the Steelers aren’t a part of the playoffs, I POUT through the games and hope that they are competitive.

Here are the AFC Championship games that I lived through as a Steelers fan:

1984 Miami 45 Steelers 28 — Mark Malone did his best to hang with Dan Marino and the Dolphins, but I remember seeing Mark Duper going deep for a touchdown and my dreams as a 9 year old Steelers fan crushed.  My mom still says I cried for a week.

1994 San Diego 17 Steelers 13 –The Steelers were heavily favorite in this game and there are three things that stick out about this game. I remember a long touchdown pass to Tony Martin from Stan Humphries and then Neil O’Donnell’s 3 yard pass at the goal line being knocked down on a 4th and 3 that would be the last chance for my boys.  My roommates at the University of Dayton, tore down my decorations and threw them on top of me as the game ended.

1995 Steelers 20 Colts 16 — All I have to say is Ernie Mills at the 3, Bam Morris for the TD and then the Hail Mary that Jim Harbaugh threw that ALMOST was caught.  The Steelers went on to lose the Super Bowl to the Cowboys, 27-17.

1997 Broncos 24 Steelers 21 — Kordell Stewart threw too many interceptions on this day and Shannon Sharpe caught a crucial 3rd down conversion in the 4th quarter that broke my heart.

2001 Patriots 24 Steelers 17 — The Patriots scored a touchdown on a blocked field goal and Drew Bledsoe came into the game for an injured TOM BRADY to lead the Pats over my Steelers.

2004 Patriots 41 Steelers 27 — This game was just too much for Big Ben.  He threw a couple early interceptions and the Bus got jammed up on a 4th and 1 and too much went New England’s way early that the Steelers couldn’t come back.  I also remember Plaxico Burress missing a TD pass that I thought at the time would have changed how the final 15 minutes would have been played.

2005 Steelers 34 Broncos 17 — This is still said to be Big Ben’s best playoff performance, minus the final drive in Super Bowl 43.  The Steelers dominated the Broncos from the opening drive.  I remember the pass to the back of the endzone to Hines and Ben ran over to the sideline and did the gunslinger motion.  I also remember hearing a fan screaming in the stands who must have been close to CBS’ microphones.  This was a fun game to watch at the Steelers club in Columbus.

2008 Steelers 23 Ravens 14 — Troy’s Interception is one of my favorite all time plays as a Steelers fan.  The hair on my arm still rises when I see that play and her Bill Hilgrove’s play by play of that play.

2010 Steelers 24 Jets 19 — This game was one that the Steelers needed to hold on to.  We scored 24 points really fast and then we held on for the win as Ben threw for a first down to Antoino Brown to seal the win.

So now we come to the 2016 version of my AFC Championship run.  Can the Steelers beat the Patriots?  I really think they can, but I really hope its a good game. Obviously I want to win and I want to win big.  Here is my take.  The Steelers have better talent at every position except for the QB.  Brady is probably the best QB that I have every watched.  But everywhere else the Steelers have the advantage.  If they can pressure Brady and not let Gilette Stadium bother them, we should win.

Why not this team, now?  I believe. #HereWeGo!

Above are all the staff and students at my school that had Steelers gear on!  I make a point to recognize them as a part of #SteelersNation while at school!