New Filming Dates Set for This Thursday & Next Monday & Tuesday

We are all set with filming this week and next week.

PLEASE text, email, or call my cell to let me know if your child can join in and assist with filming. We could use at least 8 or 9 students for each session.
Thursday, November 3 we will film at Stone Lake Farms and Todo Un Poco. 
Meet at Foulks Ranch at 1:45 to grab film gear and leave by 2:10 to go to Stone Lake Farms. Afterward we will drive to Todo Un Poco to film in their kitchen. 
Monday, November 7 we will film at the Elk Grove Food Bank.
We will meet at Foulks Ranch at 9:30 to grab film gear and then drive to Elk Grove Food Bank. 

Tuesday, November 8 we will film at the Elk Grove Food Bank.We will meet at Foulks Ranch at 9:30 to grab film gear and then drive to Elk Grove Food Bank.

Addresses for locations are below:
Todo Un Poco 9080 Laguna Main St #1a, Elk Grove, CA 95758
Stone Lake Farms Stone Lake Road, Elk Grove, CA 95757
Elk Grove Food Bank 9820 Dino Dr #140, Elk Grove, CA 95624
Jim Bentley
Teacher, Elk Grove Unified School District
National Faculty, Buck Institute for Education |

Filming Postponed Until Next Week Due to Rain

We are looking at 100% chance of rain starting tomorrow at 6:00AM. We will have to postpone filming tomorrow due to weather.

I will coordinate with Cliff Wilcox and Marie Mertz to set up a day next week we can film. As soon as I have a day, I’ll send email and post on blog. 
Here is some good news though: We now have dates to film at the Elk Grove Food Bank!
We will film Nov. 7 starting at 10:00am at the Elk Grove Food Bank and again on November 8 also starting at 10:00am. 
The plan will be to meet at Foulks Ranch at 9:30am to gather film gear and then drive to the Elk Grove Food Bank located at 
9820 Dino Dr #140, Elk Grove, CA 95624
If your child can film at the Elk Grove Food Bank, please let me know via email or text. One day we will focus on getting b-roll of the facility. The second day we will focus on interviewing staff at the food bank. 
Last location we are still working to film at is the anaerobic digester at Clean World in Sacramento. I’ll keep you posted on that. 

Filming Friday, October 28 at Stone Lake Farms & Todo Un Poco Bistro


Want to film Friday morning if it’s not raining?

We have our first location filming opportunity this school year. If you can join us, please could you email or text me (916-216-9056) by no later than Thursday night that you can bring your child to film? If texting, please tell me who’s texting and your child’s name.
Friday, October 28 we will meet at Foulks Ranch at 8:45 am to gather film gear. We will leave school by no later than 9:05  before heading to Stone Lake Farms and then to Todo Un Poco Bistro to film for our project with the City of Elk Grove.
We will film Marie Mertz owner/chef at Todo Un Poco as she brings recycled organics to farmer Cliff Wilcox to be used for chicken feed. We will then film Marie getting produce from Farmer Cliff and follow her back to her restaurant to prep the produce for customers.
If you haven’t been to Cliff Wilcox’s Stone Lake Farms, he’s open to the public and grows organic, pesticide-free produce and eggs. You can check out their Facebook page by clicking HERE. If you haven’t been to Todo Un Poco, it’s an amazing Mexican-Italian fusion bistro.
The address for Stone Lake Farm is Stone Lake Farms, 10886-10890 Stone Lake Rd, Elk Grove, California.
The address for Todo Un Poco is 9080 Laguna Main St #1a, Elk Grove, CA 95758
To get to Stone Lake Farms we will head south on Franklin Road then head west on Hood-Franklin Road. We will head south on Stone Lake Road. Cliff’s farm is on the right side and marked by a small sign.

I’m SO EXCITED to film with your kids this Friday. If you are unable to drive your child, please would you coordinate with other parents to carpool?
We will have two students per camera and will need kids to haul gear and snap photos. I imagine we’ll use three video cameras and run two still cameras. I’ll run a video and take stills as well. Parents are always encouraged to snap photos of students at work and to share images, too.
Got questions? Send me an email at or text.
See you Friday!


Holy cow. This week arrived in the blink of an eye. Sorry for not posting a reminder about this earlier this week. Tonight at CSU Sacramento starting at 6:30 pm are the SEVA awards. We entered 14 films into instructional and documentary films this year. Next year will be an even bigger showing.

If you are able to join the fun, please feel free. If not, we will be there to represent on your behalf.

Award invitations were sent out over two weeks ago. We’ve had a poster mounted in the front of the classroom for the entire trimester, and the awards were listed in the important dates on the front of the blog. Again, I’m sorry for not sending out a post earlier this week/last week as a final reminder.

Information for SEVAs tonight is posted below. Be sure to purchase parking prior to finding a spot. The meter monitors are fast, ubiquitous, and keen-eyed.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016
6:30 pm – Student Producer Red Carpet
7:00 pm – Award Night Show Begins

Sacramento State University Union Ballroom
6000 J Street
Sacramento, CA 95819
Parking is $6

Film Production List

As second trimester gets underway, we will be ramping up the activity in class in preparation for the 2016 SEVA Film Festival. This is an educational film festival where we can showcase what you’ve learned through film. Categories are documentary, PSA, how to films, book trailers, and news stories.

I am working on trying to keep up with 28 creative students who have a million different ideas on what they want to do. Keeping organized is essential.

So, here is a Google Sheet we will try using in class to organize and track our efforts. You will see three columns:

  1. Project Topic & Name
  2. Team Members
  3. Status
  4. Complete

The columns are meant to be self explanatory. What’s your project’s topic (math, writing, reading, science, etc.) and the title of it. Names of team members should be first name only with initials added for duplicate name kiddos (The “Ellas” and “Aidans”). Status is where you are in the process: writing script, need to film, need to edit audio, need to edit video, need to upload to web. Complete gets a “yes” only when everything is done and approved by me.

Let’s give this a try and see if we can better organize our efforts and track our productivity! 🙂

Click HERE to open the Google Sheet to add your information. You should see the data appear in the chart below once you refresh your screen.

Fraction Films in Full Production!

We are learning about adding fractions with like and unlike denominators. And what better way to learn something than to teach it.

Check out the Keynote created by Aidan K. and Brayden S.

They’ve written a script to explain what’s going on. They’ve recorded it using our Zoom H4 Recorder and will edit the audio with Audacity. After that they’ll import video and audio into Final Cut Pro X and assemble their instructional film.

The good news? EVERYONE in class will have the opportunity to do this! 🙂 Yes, some will finish sooner than others, but everyone will have the opportunity to showcase their learning in the medium of film.

Our learning and filmmaking will be showcased at the 2016 SEVA Film Festival as well. Deadline to enter is March 4, which is coming all-too-soon.

Why do we do this? To extend our learning, incorporate writing into math, and to think deeply about what we do and why we do it.

Kudos to all our kiddos for their hard work and thinking. They are doing amazing things in class everyday, and I couldn’t be more proud of each of your children.

First Math Films in Production

Exciting day today! Two teams filmed stop motion sequences for films showing how addition and multiplication properties work. This is after working with the properties in our math books, writing about them collaboratively on paper and then using Chromebooks, and providing feedback on multiple drafts. Several teams are on third or fourth drafts, and their writing SOUNDS better for it!

We are making sure to keep our feedback kind, specific, and helpful. And I’m SUPER proud of students for being reflective and excited to make their next draft better!

Kudos to Zaya’s team on finalizing their script/essay. Want to read it for yourself? Take a look!

Commutative Property of Addition

by Lila Epstein, Trevor Wagner, Zaya Jelani

Hi i’m Trevor. Hi i’m Lila, and I’m Zaya.

We are going to show you how the commutative property of addition works. It  isn’t as complicated as it might seem.

The commutative property states that that you can move addends in an expression and the sum is equivalent.

For example:  4 + 5 + 1 = 4 + 1 + 5. If you add them, the value is the same.

The commutative property can make numbers easier to add. For example, take

9 + 7 + 1. If you use the commutative property of addition, you can switch 7 and 1 to make it     9 + 1 + 7.   Following the order of operations, we add 9 + 1 to make a 10. And adding 10s are easy, because they have zeroes! We think adding 10 and 7 is easier than adding 9 and 7 and then one more.

Thank you for watching! Dont forget to comment, rate,  and Subscribe! Bye!

Water Taste Test, Anyone?

Water, water, everywhere…

We are beginning our study of water using the EEI (Environment and the Education Initiative) curriculum, and one student had an idea last week.

Does all water taste the same?

What we propose is a blind taste test. We’d like to test the question and see if bottled water really does taste better than tap. We’ll film this trial and put our experience into writing to produce a short film which explores the tap vs. bottled water question.

Can you help? 

We’re looking for bottled water donations. We don’t need entire cases of water, just a few bottles (perhaps 3 bottles) of each individual brand. Could you send in a few bottles of different brands of water? Could you email ( or text me (916-216-9056) which brand you’re willing to provide so we don’t overstock our room with water?

We would love to get the following brands:

Costco’s Kirkland

Fiji Water

Aqua Fina