Lewis F. Mayer Middle School students explore family traditions and stories

Natalie Bauman, a video producer from the Center for Arts-Inspired Learning, speaks with a middle school English Language Arts class.

Students in grades 6-8 at Lewis F. Mayer Middle school are learning to connect with their families in a new way.

Through a grant from the Fairview Park Education Foundation, students are engaging in a cross-curricular learning project in their English, Social Studies, and Operation Advantage classes where they are learning how to interview their family members, record and edit video, and publish their work. 

Students were asked to read books by Alan Gantz over the summer, with a visit by the author this fall, however, due to the publisher canceling book tour dates for Gantz, another plan was put into action. 

The Fairview Park Education Foundation generously stepped in with a $4,400 grant to be able to bring local artist Natalie Bauman in to Lewis F. Mayer Middle School.

Bauman is a video producer and has created an App called “SimplyTold” which provides interview prompts to guide users through creating a personal or family legacy, one video at a time.

Natalie Bauman is the founder and CEO of The Digital Mosaic, LLC, an online video storytelling experience, to better serve families, organizations and people who want to tell and preserve their collaborative stories. Using her years of expertise in interviewing people and creating compelling stories, she’s created an easy-to-use video platform that bridges the huge gap between shooting videos on a phone and hiring a professional.

Organizations like the Alzheimer’s Association, leading senior care providers, and the Cuyahoga County Public Library system, are all on-board using the SimplyTold tool to gather the stories that matter to the people they serve.

“The students’ natural enthusiasm to share their own stories is so easily elevated to thinking about how to learn more about their family members,” said Bauman. “I love seeing them connect to their history and start to understand how their family’s experience impact them. Capturing and sharing their family stories helps kids see themselves in a different context, as part of a bigger picture, which I think is so important for pre-teens and teens. Digital storytelling tools like my SimplyTold app makes it easier to easily create and manage videos for Fairview Park City Schools Traditions program.”

Each middle school student in grades 6-8 will have an opportunity to showcase their projects under the theme of, “Tell Me Your Story: Family Traditions” which will be showcased to the community on October 3 beginning at 5:30 p.m. in the high school gym. Families are encouraged to attend and join together for a salad bar supper before or after viewing student projects. 


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