Jennifer Hall, a seventh and eighth grade gifted language arts teacher at Brown Middle School, was one of 10 APS educators who received a surprise from Atlanta Families’ Awards for Excellence in Education (AFAEE). Ms. Hall was awarded a check for $7,500, which includes funding for a school project ($3,500), funding for a professional development opportunity to increase her effectiveness in the school or classroom ($1,500) and a personal stipend ($2,500).
Ms. Hall will use the money to help fund her innovative and exciting project, “Lights, Camera, Action!” The main goal of the project is to enrich and expand Ms. Hall’s existing film and Shakespeare program at Brown, enhance the teaching of the Common Core standards, and provide students with real-world experiences along with college and career readiness skills.
Each year, Ms. Hall’s students read and analyze middle school versions of Macbeth (6th grade), Othello (7th grade), and Hamlet (8th grade). The classes then re-write scenes, adapting the setting, characters and events, while adhering to the play’s themes. Students “hire” their classmates for film jobs (i.e. writer, director, camera operator, actor, and crew). The students pitch story ideas and the writers create an adapted script. After rehearsals and pre-production, students collaborate and film their productions.
Through the production process, students learn invaluable skills utilized in the field of filmmaking. The project funding will be utilized to provide additional production equipment for students.
With sixteen years of experience, Ms. Hall has been teaching at Brown Middle School for eleven years. She serves in several capacities including Gifted & Talented Academy Director and Communications Ambassador.
Ms. Hall has received numerous accolades; she has been selected as a District Demonstration Classroom Teacher, National Teacher of the Year by izzit.org, Distinguished Middle School Georgia Educator, Project Grad Master Teacher, Brown Middle School’s Teacher of the Year, and a semi-finalist for Atlanta Public Schools Middle School Teacher of the Year. Ms. Hall earned her bachelor’s degree in English Education and master’s degree in Reading Education and Language Arts from Florida State University.
“As I think about the sixteen rewarding years I have been an educator, countless smiles highlight my students’ determination, strength, and development as learners,” Ms. Hall explains. “I strive to equip my students with the essential life skills and academic knowledge necessary to achieve their dreams.”