Stop Motion Colonial Perspectives

colonial stop motion (11)

I just love it when a teacher steps out and tries something totally new just to see where it goes.  Some of the most exciting projects happen when a teacher gives himself or herself permission to say, “Hey, I have this crazy idea”.  Mr. Coleman, 4th grade teacher, does this often.  He isn’t afraid to step out and try something that no one else has done and look for the miraculous things happening all along the way.

Fourth grade is currently studying colonial life in social studies.  He wanted to weave in something from our makerspace or some new type of technology that would allow students to engage with the content in different ways.  During a quick brainstorm, we tossed around several ideas and he reflected on them overnight.  The next day, he came back with the idea to create stop motion videos that showed the perspectives of various roles in colonial America.

To start, students watched many stop motion videos in class just to see what they looked like. In the library, they came for a tinkering session using Stop Motion Studio.  As we usually do during tinkering, I encouraged them to press every button to see what it did.  I also told them to not focus on creating a polished product but to try out many different strategies to see what worked best for stop motion.  Most of these students had never made a stop motion video before. They grabbed Legos, stuffed animals, and pipe cleaners to use in their videos and got to work.

colonial stop motion (1)

Mr. Coleman and I walked around and tried to give students tips that we were observing from other groups.  The main thing we noticed is that students were constantly moving the iPads which ruined the effect of stop motion.  They also weren’t taking enough pictures to show movement.  A few students started getting the hang of both of these, so we relied on them some to help other groups.  We also found it helpful to regroup and have kids share tips to the whole group as well as share out own tips.

Back in class, students selected a perspective to showcase in a stop motion video.  Many students were drawn to either slaves or women.  They formed groups and started developing a plan.  Across 3 one-hour work sessions they came back to the library to create their videos.  They pulled things from makerspace, used objects around the library, brought things from home, and made things to use in their videos.  Some groups jumped right into their projects with a lot of success while others had to learn to work together or how to back up and try again.  Mr. Coleman also gave them some time to work in class.

I loved how different strategies developed during the work time.  Students began using their computers as a setting and stage or used library bookends to help characters stand up.

Mr. Coleman and I constantly walked around to conference with groups.  We had them back up and look at their work to see where they might need to add pictures.  We also had them talk through their story to see if they had enough to tell a perspective.

As students finished up in their final work session in the library, we exported the videos onto the iPad camera roll and uploaded them to a shared folder in Google Drive.

Mr. Coleman plans to take these videos and continue using them in class.  Students might write out scripts and do voice over or maybe they will add music and simply attach an accompanying script.  However this goes from here, it was a big leap in using technology and tools we have tinkered with in our makerspace.  Many pieces wove together to support a social studies curriclum standard in a creative way.  Student interests, creativity, and expertise came into play in many groups.  I invite you to take a look at their work in progress.  This Youtube playlist is the raw footage that still needs to be finalized, but I always like to show that our work is never really finished.  There’s always something more we can do.

 

Book Trailers with 4th Grade

book trailer 4th (2)Today Mrs. Rogers and her 4th grade ELT group came to the library to explore book trailers.  They are currently reading a novel together and had the idea to create book trailers for each chapter of the book.  I guess we should really call these chapter trailers.  For our lesson, we looked at three trailers:

 

 

Our purpose in watching these three trailers was to think about how different each trailer could be.   Students talked about what they noticed about each trailer after watching it.

For Carnivores, students noticed that:

  • 1 actor was used 🙂
  • music was used throughout
  • text was used at the beginning to set the scene
  • there were lots of clips put together
  • the funny tone of the book came through in the trailer
  • the trailer didn’t give away all the details of the book

For Boy + Bot, students noticed that:

  • questions were posed for the reader to consider
  • images from the book were used in between the questions
  • music was used throughout
  • the trailer was very short

For Wonder, students noticed that:

  • there were multiple actors
  • there were multiple shots that needed a lot of direction
  • there was text, live action, and music
  • the character’s face was never shown

Students even spent time thinking about the difficulty level of these 3 trailers and what they were each willing to commit to for their own project.  They also thought about why each type of trailer might have been picked for each book.  We talked a lot about purpose.

After this great discussion, students spent time exploring iMovie on the iPads.  This is the tool they will most likely use for their trailers.  Most had no experience with iMovie, so I invited them to spend about 20-25 minutes messing around and figuring out some of the features.  I encouraged them to share what they learned with each other, and it didn’t take long for collaboration to begin.  As soon as students figured something out, they were eager to show and help others.

Ludwig, a 4th grader,  really jumped into the trailer part of imovie.  He began planning out a quick trailer and sprang into action filming it.  He didn’t make it all the way through, but you can see what he figured out here:

Reid, another 4th grader, explored the movie part of iMovie.  He put together a little idea and started filming clips to put a quick sequence together.

We closed our time together by showing these videos and setting the stage for students to begin planning their own trailers. Once again, I was amazed  by what kids could figure out and share when given the space to explore.  I reminded them to continue to share their expertise with one another as they progress through the project.  They will continue work in their classroom, but I will also collaborate with them at various stages of the project.

Paul Revere Transliteracy: A Third Grade Collaborative Project

Back in September, third grade took a transliteracy approach to exploring rocks and minerals.  After participating in this experience, Mrs. Shealey, 3rd grade teacher, had some ideas for how the transliteracy approach could inspire the Paul Revere standards that 3rd grade was about to work on.  She scoured the internet for resources and developed her own Sqworl pathfinder to share with students.  She also developed a menu of projects that students could choose from.  After introducing the idea to her team, we all met together to continue brainstorming and think about how technology could be incorporated with the menu ideas.

Ideas included:

  • Make a map of Paul Revere’s ride with important events, photos, and videos using Google Earth & Google maps
  • Create a newscast of Paul Revere’s ride with eyewitness accounts.  Use the iPad to film the newscast and iMovie to edit.
  • Use Museumbox to create various cubes about Paul Revere:  his ride, his character traits, events leading to American Revolution, etc.
  • Create a piece of art related to Paul Revere.  Use Photo Story, iPad, or Glogster to display the art and talk about it.
  • Write a poem or a song about Paul Revere.  Use the iPad to film a performance of the song/poem.

Ideas continue to be added to this menu.  We decided to narrow the technology focus to just a few tools:  Glogster, Museumbox, Photo Story, Animoto, iPad & iMovie, and Google Earth/Maps.  Many of these tools were new to students so we wanted students to have a chance to explore each tool before committing to a project or tech tool.  We decided to have a technology fair where each class could come and tour through the tech tools to gain some familiarity with each tool to inform their decisions.  I saw this as the perfect opportunity to bring in student expertise, so Ms.  Hicks, a spectrum teacher, helped identify students who could teach other students about each of the tools.  Google Maps and Museumbox were new to all students, so I led the station on Museumbox and Todd Hollett, technology integration specialist, led the station on Google Maps.  

The students and adults setup their stations, and each class came through the library for about 30-40 minutes to see mini-presentations and play around with each tech tool.  Students freely moved from table to table and at times needed encouragement to move on.  Many students wanted to stay at one table to become an expert in a tool, but that was not the point of the tech fair.  Expertise will develop later.  We just needed them to be familiar enough with each tool to know what it was capable of doing.  Even though all students did not make it to all stations, each class had a good representation of students who visited enough of the stations to be able to share back in class.

Our next step is for students to decide on their project and tech tool.  The teachers will then group these students into groups based on their tech tool.  Then, during a block of time each day, students using the same tech tool will meet in the same room so that they can support one another as needed.  I’ve seen amazing things happen when a large group of students using the same tool are in the same room.  They discover things that I would have never had time to figure out or teach to everyone and they willingly share their learning with other students.  I think we will be pleasantly surprised by the knowledge that students gain about these tools during this process.

The teachers and I will also support students with the technology, but we also want our focus to be on supporting students in locating quality information for their projects.  We will rely on the pathfinder as well as books from our library for this endeavor.  I can’t wait to see what students come up with!

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