Making a Difference: Kim Joiner-Johnson
KET Multimedia Day
When you first meet Noe Middle School drama teacher Kim Joiner-Johnson, it’s apparent she’s a woman with many personas. For instance, you can call her Kim, Ms. Joiner-Johnson, or even “J.J.” like her students, who found the hyphenation a mouthful.
And then there’s the fact that before becoming the energetic drama teacher at the downtown Louisville performing arts magnet school, she owned a videography business, producing everything from wedding videos to Bee Gees fan convention highlight programs.
When I found KET Multimedia Days I thought, ‘This is perfect for me.’ It was very specific to what I wanted to learn.
Kim Joiner-Johnson – Noe Middle School, Louisville
She’s a former college journalism major who first came into schools as a consultant helping kids produce their own news programs — and loved it so much she went back to school to become a teacher. Now she turns to KET to keep her material fresh and lively and easily integrate technology into the classroom.
“When I hear about new resources I think, ‘How can I use it?’” said Joiner-Johnson, who first became an English literature teacher before again going back to school to teach drama.
“My goal is to add resources that integrate flawlessly so they’re not another chore to do but it enhances some programs that you already have.”
Joiner-Johnson has been an avid participant in KET’s Multimedia Day summer professional development event, a real godsend for a teacher like her, she says, who has fewer opportunities as a specialized teacher.
“JCPS is a very strong district and on the whole does a great job coming up with professional development, but they don’t always find stuff specific to my content,” she said.
“When I found KET Multimedia Days I thought, ‘This is perfect for me.’ It was very specific to what I wanted to learn.”
Joiner-Johnson’s curriculum includes not only traditional drama but on-camera skills, editing, making movies, and creating public service announcements. So she was thrilled when she saw KET offered classes on using green-screen—where action is shot on a blank screen and background video added later in editing.
“Green-screen technology is very, very prominent right now so I wanted to learn as much as I could. And I walked away with a whole list of new things I could do.”
Subsequent sessions offered ways for teachers to build simple, durable, do-it-yourself kits for lighting and mixing audio—important, she said, because inadequate lights or sound can hamper students’ ability to tell their stories.
Other workshops showed Joiner-Johnson how to utilize new social media such as Twitter to reach and engage students. “I do try to stay on the cutting edge, and one of the things I like about teaching—among many—is the kids are always fresh and they know what’s coming up and what’s going on.”
Twitter, she said, proved an effective way to communicate directly with students, keep them up-to-date on projects and deadlines—as well as a way to find and follow like-minded colleagues she could share ideas with.
Now, Joiner-Johnson is a regular visitor to KET’s educational resources page, where she can share her students’ videos, learn about educational podcasts, and more.
And for this teacher, who is always looking for the next great project, KET resources help her keep it fresh and interesting for her middle-schoolers.
“I am always integrating,” she said. “I see all these resources and immediately think about ways to use them. I haven’t fully implemented all the ideas, but KET Multimedia Days and professional development resources definitely have planted seeds.”