Fifth-graders at Longfellow Elementary School are eagerly recruiting votes for the chance to win $30,000 worth of new classroom equipment.
The school is one of five elementaries in the nation - and the only one in Maryland - vying for the prizes in the third annual Classroom Makeover Video Contest. An online voting process, which counts for 30 percent of the school's score, is under way and will wrap up Friday. A judging panel will determine the remaining score, and the winning team will be announced Dec. 17.
Michelle Baker, a technology teacher at the Columbia school, along with music teacher Diana Fay Williams and the entire fifth-grade class, produced a music video that parodied "That's Not My Name" by The Ting Tings for the contest.
"[The students] are exuberant," said Baker. "You can feel the excitement. They are constantly checking votes. They are very proud of the work they've done. They are excited about the different pieces of equipment. They are walking on air - they are so excited."
The students and teachers have been working during lunch and resource periods this year perfecting their video titled "Technology."
"It's been well worthwhile," Baker said. "We do have a good time doing it. It's nice to see kids take pride doing it."
This is the second year that the school has entered the competition sponsored by eInstruction, a learning technology company. Last year, the school entered a video that parodied the 1980s hit "It Takes Two" by Rob Bass. This year, Baker and Williams decided to draw from a more current hit.
Three winners - one in each division - will be awarded more than $30,000 in educational technology and training from eInstruction, Dell, 3M, Texas Instruments and other educational technology companies.
"It would certainly be a major benefit for our school," Baker said. "Our kids would get to benefit from it right away, which would be incredible."
In the meantime, the Longfellow staff and students have been busy trying to attract votes. The students held a voting drive at the school. They have spread their message to Facebook. There are even plans to set up voting stations at the Howard County Public Library and a local supermarket.
To see the video and vote, go to eimakeover.com.