Get Connected

Reports, Commentary & Creativity from Eastside Media Arts Students

The Science of Storytelling: It’s Good for the Brain

You know what I say, everyone has a story to tell, what’s yours?  Here is an interesting article about the benefits of telling stories. Worth the read.

Science of Storytelling

#EdublogsClub Prompt 2: My Classroom

Our Space

For the last five years my classroom was one large space with a corner dedicated for our broadcasts and a back room for the studio director. Here is a post I wrote last year when I was working to improve that space which I tell the students is OUR room. Granted, I flip flop on whether that is a good idea because sometimes little pieces of trash, etc left behind leaves me to believe some treat the space as they would their own room, so maybe I should call it MY room and it will remain tidy out of the utmost respect for me, the teacher. Mmmm, doubtful!

Work in Progress

This school year I was blessed to acquire the smaller room next door that is long and narrow. A doorway/passthrough was cut in-between the rooms so now the big room can evolve into a dedicated studio space and the “new” room is my teaching space. It was a blank canvas I wasted no time putting my personal touch on.

I researched color to see what would be the best to inspire creativity as well as instill a sense of calmness and attention.

I have also added an area by my desk of “flexible seating”. I know I do my best work when I am comfortable. My go-to place when I am working on my graduate school class is a cozy corner at the coffee shop in town.  So it only makes sense to make the classroom a comfortable place.

Josh, a 3rd year student, clutches a pillow in comfort as he edits a video for a class assignment


Eventually the coffee table will be painted with “whiteboard” paint so students may brainstorm by writing ON the table!


Aesthetics: The Beauty is in the Detail

I am adding plants, not only are they attractive, there are health benefits. Since plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen that helps deter illness with improved indoor air quality which in turn assists in breathing.


I hate fluorescent lighting so I have added several incandescent lights to add warmth.

I LOVE monograms, so you will find a lot of “R” goodies around the room.

My students helped take ownership of the room makeover and painted a chalk board wall where I often post the bell ringer.

It allows students to gather together and talk about the post instead of sitting alone and not interacting.  When I don’t have a bell ringer posted it has become a neat place where students leave fun doodles which I think is therapeutic for them!





The look of the chalkboard wall also adds a nice touch of “Whimsy” to the room.


… More Whimsy:

“Newsie” our decorative decoupage reindeer head over the doorway. I made him!

Staying organized?@#$%^&*!

Can we say #Goals? I aspire to be the most organized-pseudo type A teacher, but let’s be honest as a middle age person  who has yet to master that art, I am a constant work in progress. I am trying and I am making progress in the forms of baby steps. This year I got a Happy Planner. It is allowing me to add my crafty inclinations to my planning which is proving to be fun.


Slowly Getting Organized


Tips & Tricks to accomplish Classroom Nirvana

DIY, Flea Market Finds, and a little imagination.


#EdublogsClub Prompt 1: My Blog Story

I wrote my first blog while I was still a reporter at a local TV station. It was around 2006. Called Michelle’s Dog Blog, it was prompted by the cancer diagnosis my beloved dog George received at the young age of five and a half years old.  As I learned about the wonderful treatment available to pets who still had so much life left in them in spite of a serious health crisis, I wanted to share what I was learning with the viewers of our TV station.

Writing the blog was not only therapeutic for me, but it was rewarding to get so much feedback from the people who read it. I still remember one woman whose dog had nose cancer. She ended up taking her dog to the veterinary oncologist my George was being treated by, who was one of only two in the entire state back then.  Unfortunately her dog was far along in his illness, but the oncologist was able to make her dog comfortable for the remaining months he had left. This made me feel so good that my story was able to help someone else.

Three years after his diagnosis,  my George passed away. After that I sat down and wrote from my heart about the lessons my boy taught me in life and  in the three years of boldly, bravely, and even enthusiastically battling his lymphoma. That post was nominated for an Emmy for writing. To this day I share a copy of that post with friends after the loss of a pet in the hopes it brings them some comfort.  The power of words is amazing.

Follow-Worthy Favorites

Off the Grid and on the Map

Although this Blog is not updated anymore, it is still one of my favorite that I followed regularly when it was current. It was created by a former co-worker of mine and his wife who sold ALL of their worldly belongings, including their home, bought a utility van and converted it into a house on wheels. That is where their story begins. I loved living vicariously through their exciting life as they traveled the states and beyond.

Fridays With Freddy

A dog named Freddy and Dirty Jobs host, Mike Rowe. What’s not to like?! I love this blog written from the perspective of the dog. Good stuff.

What My Daughter Wore

This is a fantastic blog for the artistically inclined. The title says it all. A mother who is an artist documents her daughter’s fashion choices by drawing them with colored pencils.  While no words are used, each illustration still tells a story.

2017 Goals

With my broadcast career behind me, I am encouraging my Media Arts students to blog. This is the third year it has been a part of my curriculum.  It’s been hit or miss. This year, sadly, it seems to be a miss.  I think it is important for everyone to feel they have a voice and blogging is a great platform to be seen and heard through the written word, spoken in a podcast post, or showcasing expression through art and photographs.

Blogging is a tool for expression that can be taken out of the classroom and into life. I have had students who loved it so much they continued blogging on their own after leaving my class. One young lady documented her first year as a college student in a blog which I thought was a great idea.

I am excited to join the #EdublogsClub for the weekly prompts to not only get back in the habit of blogging for my personal enjoyment, but to also model blogging for my students in a way I hope inspires them. Additionally I am looking forward to connecting  with other educators across the country who are participating in the Blogging Club!




Post Election Podcast

Election 2016 has been one for the history books indeed. In the news business it has been what we call a water cooler Topic, meaning something people stand around the water cooler in the break room and talk and debate about.

It has been very interesting as an adult to see the immense amount of interest among teenagers throughout the entire election. The day after the election was no different.

My PM media arts students created this Podcast to discuss their feelings after Donald Trump was elected as our next POTUS.

Challenge Accepted. Say More with Less.


Saying more with less is either harder or easier depending upon how you approach it.  In some ways, I think it is harder to say something extra powerful in just six words.  For famed author, Ernest Hemingway, it was a sad tale. So few word, such a sad story.

What I love about this concept is how addictive it is. Once you get started, it’s almost like a game to say something so deep or wildly funny in just six words.  I challenge everyone to do your best. Look at this not just as another assignment, but as something to tackle like a great puzzle.

Just like slogans, a six word thought that’s really good has longevity, standing the test of time. New York Yankee’s legend Yogi Berra probably didn’t mean to create a six word story when he said “It ain’t over til it’s over”, but it has come to be said time and again with a deep meaning.

Take the challenge. Say more with less. Who can come up with  THE most memorable Six Word Story?

If you missed our in class introduction or would like to go back and watch it again, here are the links:

Smith 6 Word Memoir Ted Talk

Try a Video Blog aka VLOG!

“Expert” tips from Mario and Fava the groundhog.  Their lesson may be more  entertaining than mine!

Join the Conversation!

With the new year has come new visitors to our Get Connected blog.  The comments we have received have been refreshing and engaging which is what a blog should be about! Sharing thoughts, ideas, and creating an engaging conversation.


As our Media Arts students launch their new Blogs this week, we invite all of our new visitors to keep coming back to explore all the new sites being added to the AM and PM drop down menus.

There should be something of interest for everyone if you just browse through the sites.  Some of our students have tried blogging before, while others are trying it for the first time. Either way, it promises to be a fun adventure that will only get better with time.

Again, I thank you new visitors for checking out our site. It is so exciting to read feedback from a real audience outside our own classroom.

And if you didn’t already know, we have an open invitation for “Guest Bloggers”. If you would like to write a blog entry about something in your class or any other fun musings, submit it to me and we can add it to the Everything Eastside page.  Try it! you might like it.

~Ms. Rauch

Creative Commons Easy Search

In my endless search to find creative commons/copyright free sources I just stumbled across another. This website makes it about as easy as it gets. Simply put your keyword in a search box and Wa-La, multiple images that have already been filtered for your legal use.

Free and Clear Images to Use!

Everyone Does it. Why Can’t I?

Copyright law and fair use is not an easy subject to understand. Even the legal experts will tell you there are some grey areas. We’ve talked about it in class, but here is a quick go to guide covering the basics you need to know as you begin your on-line multimedia blog posts.

Check out this link of resources to find images and music that are available for use in your student productions.  The easiest way to get around all this confusion is to always create your own photos for use in your stories. As for music, well, not all of us have the talent to compose our own music so you may find more uses for these resources. But keep in mind we have talented composers among us, so perhaps with a little urging and agreeing to credit your source, a classmate may compose music to your specifications.

Copyright Free Resources

Enjoy your storytelling journey!

Graduation Speech: In Just Six Words

Remember our Six Word Story assignment at the beginning of the year? Here is a challenge. If you were asked to give a memorable graduation speech and tell it in just six words, what would you say?

Ready? Go! Comment below.

If you love what you come up with, enter it in the Smith Six Word Contest.


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