Mindy Pope, a theatre arts teacher at Stephenville High School, spoke during Monday's school board meeting about a new project that she created last year with her students in conjunction with Chamberlin Elementary.
She asked two Chamberlin teachers if they would have students create characters to help with the project. The Chamberlin students created their own character, wrote about it and then drew a picture.
In return, Pope had her tech theatre students design a plushie doll based on the characters the Chamberlin students created.
“I think one of the things that our students really want is they want to create,” Pope told the board members. “Technology is great; we do tons of stuff with technology, but they want to create with their hands and they want to make things that have purpose - a real-world purpose. My educational need was that my tech theater students needed to learn how to sew by hand and with the sewing machine.
"We do a lot of our own costuming and those are skills they need, but I wanted the work they were doing to be low pressure and to have a flexible deadline. I didn’t want it to necessarily have to be on stage and have that pressure.”
The students had to take a one-dimensional character and turn it into a three-dimensional one, which Pope said posed a challenge for some students, but in the end, all of the dolls turned out great.
“We had a whole mermaid family. There were four high school girls that were just thrilled they got to make a mermaid family,” Pope said.
Pope provided felt, thread and a sewing machine. She said some of her students were so excited about the project that they wanted to take the doll home to work on it and even wanted to use materials from home to add to the doll.
Her varsity theater students also created a short script for each character along with a voice. The students recorded the voice, saved it on Google Drive and created a QR code, which was then printed out and attached to the dolls. The Chamberlin students could then scan the code with their iPad and hear their character’s voice.
After the dolls were finished, Pope organized a Google Hangout for the students so they could meet.
“The enthusiasm from my students was incredible. My students worked so hard because they knew the dolls had a real importance to the kids that were receiving them. They were pumped about it and so both the high school and Chamberlin students really loved working with each other so we’re definitely planning on doing this project again,” Pope said.