Ms. Kelly’s Kindergarten class has been hard at work on an animal research project that is unlike any other I’ve been a part of. For the culmination of the project, students recorded an interview of an animal in its habitat using our green screen and the Do Ink app. There were many layers to the process that students went through the create their final product. The class has been to the library throughout the project to initiate various pieces and then moved forward with the project work in class.
It’s hard to even go back to where the project began, but eventually each student came to be in one of 4 groups researching an animal of interest: crows, sharks, spiders, and alligators. Students checked out both fiction and nonfiction books about their animals in the library during one piece of the project. During another piece, students spent time researching their animals and gathering facts.
In another lesson, students came to the library to talk about crafting great interview questions. We looked at the Story Corps great question generator and practiced interviewing one another in a way that would elicit extended responses from the person being interviewed.
Students took this skill and went back to class to write questions that they would ask to their animals if they were doing an interview of the animal they researched. Using their research, they thought about the answers to their questions.
In another session, students came just to learn about how the green screen worked. We watched a tutorial video from Do Ink as well as a video that had been made on our green screen.
Finally, students came back for one more work session in the library to prep for their interview project. This was a work session because students were in all kinds of stages of their completed project. The teacher, parapro, and I all worked with groups of students at the point they were at. My group was getting close to ready for use of the green screen, so we took some time to experiment a bit with what students hoped to do. Instead of a static picture of the animal’s habitat, students wanted a video of the habitat. We searched creative commons Youtube videos for nature scenes that matched where an animal would be found and used the iPad to record snippets of those videos. This helped us think about what we would need to accomplish before recording.
Back in the classroom, students made final preparations for their animal interviews. They made props. They wrote our their script on cue cards and assigned parts to each person in the group. The teacher made copies of these cards for students to practice with in class as well as sent them home for weekly homework practice. Students also decided exactly what they hoped to have a video of for the background of the green screen. The teacher sent these to me in advance, so that I could pull some videos from Youtube for us to use.
Each group came individually to the library to record. We did a practice run of the script. The teacher held the cue cards and I ran the iPad. I flipped the screen so that students could see themselves as they talked. This helped them know to be in the right place, but it also tempted them to wave at the camera and make faces.
Once students finished recording, they had a chance to watch their video back. I uploaded the videos to Youtube so that we could share them with families and authentic audiences. I encourage you to take a look at the work.
Pulling off Kindergarten projects like this takes some creative thinking. Anytime that we can break the project into pieces, work in small groups rather than the whole group, and do recording within single groups makes the project run much more smoothly. I also love when a project flows in and out of the library and classroom.
Ms. Kelly is an awesome teacher to collaborate with because she finds so many connections to the standards students are working on but also weaves in student interest and expertise. She dives into a project and trusts that along the way she is going to realize just how many standards a project based in student interest and curiosity can actually included. She also thinks about how to reinforce the project so that students are fully prepared before jumping in to creating the final product. I thought it was genius (and time consuming) to create so many cue cards and give students copies to practice for homework.
I’ve been doing several technology computer projects lately, and I’m so thankful for the flexibility of our schedule so that we can get creative with how to break the projects down into pieces as well as smaller groups. Bravo Kindergarten for another awesome project.