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Jacob Burns Media Lab Features Somers Students’ Film

SOMERS, N.Y. – Second-graders at Somers’ Primrose School rose to the occasion recently when their teacher, Paula Pica, challenged them each to perform 100 acts of kindness within a month.

The idea originated when the children learned about the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

“The children then wrote their own speeches, focusing on injustices that they perceived in the world,” Pica said. “We became more aware of kindness and how one small act of kindness can change the world.”

Pica has been enrolled in a professional development program focused on applying 21st-century tools to education, so she put some common contemporary tools to use. The project is similar to one sponsored by the National Council of Teachers of English.

“The students filmed the process and interviewed each other along the way,” she said. With some final editorial assistance from their teacher, the class ultimately produced a 15-minute digital film called “100 Acts of Kindness.”

Second-graders, their families and friends received the red-carpet treatment when “100 Acts of Kindness” had its world premiere at the Jacob Burns Film Center’s Media Arts Lab in Pleasantville.

“The kindness and teamwork that has grown from this experience is remarkable,”  Pica said. “The students feel the true value of their work and take ownership proudly. They have had the opportunity to investigate, compose and reflect freely. That is the greatest reward.”

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