A new school year, a new way to learn

Hello, everyone!

I haven’t used the blog section of this site much, unless you count “one time in five years” as “much.” Most of the information for classes goes out through Google Classroom. That’s fine in a normal school year, but because parents and guardians don’t have good direct access to Google Classroom it can be difficult to get information out to them in a timely matter.

So let’s make this work. Every Google Classroom will still contain all information, but starting now this blog will be updated regularly with information for parents and guardians.

The Basic Schedule

According to the current plan, every class will meet twice a week for 80 minutes: 45 minutes live virtual interaction and 35 minutes of virtual monitoring and support. Students will be required to be online with cameras on during this time or else they will be considered absent. I don’t know yet when our block will be scheduled, but it will be between 8:00 and 12:20. Classes will meet either on Monday & Wednesday or Tuesday & Thursday. Classes will not meet on Friday, but teachers will use Fridays to meet with students and parents as necessary.

While teachers will be allowed to work from home, my current plan is to be on campus every day. I will be available for scheduled meetings with parents and students Monday through Thursday from 1:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., and Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Class hardware and software requirements

Students will not be required to purchase anything to complete projects for media lab classes. All projects will have alternative instructions for students who do not have access to commercial software, and a frequently updated list of free software alternatives to commercial apps is available on this site.

Classwork and homework

In a typical school year, digital media classes have little or no homework and no tests. They are also very flexible, allowing students to work independently on projects. That’s because a typical classroom allows me to instantly see how effectively a student is using time.

Unfortunately, that won’t work very well in a distance learning environment, so classes this year will be more structured. Every student will have a required set of projects to complete. However, they will have some flexibility in choosing those projects. Late work will be accepted for partial credit.

Keyboarding classes will have keyboarding practice every day, including days when we do not meet as a class. Keyboarding will be monitored through a web site and can be done at any time during the day. It will require a physical keyboard – not an onscreen keyboard. Students who do not have a device with a physical keyboard can check out a chromebook from the school.

All students in classes other than keyboarding will complete a daily work report.


Digital media makes movies. Digital media takes pictures. Digital media makes things so they can be seen. If a student makes something for class, especially now, there is an excellent chance it will be shown in a public forum. This is a good thing: art should be shared. Exceptions can be made, but the students of room 704 make good work that I think the world should see.

What I expect from all students

Students will:

  • Be on time
  • Be respectful
  • Attend every class
  • Participate in class discussions
  • Complete work on time
  • Complete work to the best of their ability

This is all weird

…and that’s a good thing. Weird means we get to try new things. Weird means we do things no one else has done. Weird means figuring out how to break the rules. Weird means creative. No class in a century has had an opportunity to be as weird as this one.

Get ready to get weird. Get ready to show the world how awesome you are.

The Lab Needs YOU!

We’re very lucky to have an amazing media lab at LBMS. We just refreshed all of our lab computers, we have multiple green screens for chroma key video production, and we have some very nice video and DSLR cameras. But all of that technology requires upkeep to keep it in excellent working condition. Your help goes a long way toward keeping the Media Lab in top shape.

There will be some Donors Choose fundraisers during the year, but you don’t have to wait; you can donate today! Donations can be new or gently used. Things we can use:

  • Money –  cash donations allow for maximum flexibility of your donation. 100% of the money you designate for the lab will be spent on supplies and upkeep.
  • Computer Technology –  If you’d like to donate some equipment or software, contact me at lucasgattuso@burbankusd.org. We can use large items (like computers and printers) and smaller items (USB thumb drives, mice, external DVD/Blu-Ray drives).
  • Camera/Video equipment – DSLRs, lights, tripods, microphones & mic stands, film dollies, reflectors… anything that could be used for production.
  • Supplies – We can always use more paper and toner! Also: Markers, pens, poster paper. If you’d like to supply toner for us, contact me!
  • Costumes – Our digital media classes often create short videos. We have a small costume collection that they draw from, but we can use more! School-appropriate costumes, of course.
  • Props –  Plastic dishes, utensils, magic wands, rubber snakes, teddy bears, barbells… anything that might be useful for a film. No weapons, please!
  • Books – Age-appropriate titles, please!
  • Something Else? – Is there something I didn’t mention here that you think we can use? Contact me and we’ll figure it out!

Thank you for your support. Your donations make our lab an amazing place to learn.

Mr. G