Saturday, March 2, 2013

Book Trailers... Who is Doing the Learning?

Thursday was one of those days that, despite the busy-ness, I was invigorated at the end, rather than exhausted.  The teachers and students I work with inspire me!

Once again, Mr. R, a Grade 6 English teacher, and I teamed up for a collaborative project: student-made Book Trailers.  Up to now, I had learned how to make trailers, promoted books via trailers, and offered to teach trailers, but the opportunity to actually TEACH how to make book trailers to real students had eluded me.  Making trailers takes TIME, of which no one seems to have enough.  But Mr. R decided his students needed this opportunity to use their 21st Century skills to share their recreational reading, and he took me up on my offer.

Using resources I have gathered from Teresa Schauer's workshop at TxLA as well as Mrs. H's website, I consulted with our Tech Coordinator to better understand with which software applications most grade 6 students are familiar.  Mr. R and I discussed how designated classtime would be used, and when I asked about evaluation criteria - to make sure I addressed what was necessary - he told me he had not planned to evaluate this assignment, since it is part of the students' recreational reading.  Can you believe that!?!


Our Plan

Monday

Before he brought his students to the library, Mr. R instructed his students to begin thinking about which book they would like to use, to select a partner if they so wished, and to watch a few trailers to identify what they liked and didn't like.

Wednesday

Students were given a story board outline to help them think about the sorts of images they would like to use.

Friday

Class was held in the library, where we reviewed the definition of copyright and plagiarism.  Students were shown two sources for copyright clear images and how to properly cite them.  They created folders in their EDU2.0 accounts to hold the images as well as the Word document with the citations.

Tuesday

Serendipity brought the same students to the library with another teacher to research images.  Students are in the process of desgining and creating robotic bugs, and used their library time to find inspiration for the color scheme and overall design of their insects.  Although royalty-free images and proper citations were not necessarily REQUIRED for the specific project they doing in Design Technology, their wonderful teacher seized the opportunity to have students practice their searching and citing skills.  I introduced Google advanced search, and how to select "free to use or share" under usage rights, as a third source of images.

Thursday

Students returned for a double period.  The Tech Coordinator joined us to help with trouble-shooting issues, so there were three teachers on hand to assist.  It was suggested to students to use Keynote, since they are all familiar with this program, but they were allowed to use any software application of their choice, such as Animoto or iMovie. What could have been disastrous was a wonderful informal assessment opportunity for me.

Four students were able to complete their projects by the end of class, with many others very, very close.

This was one of those "Hollywood" lessons, where the students were completely absorbed in their work, they were teaching each other, and the teachers spent a lot of time observing... and learning from the students.  Students would ask questions of us, all the while looking around at their classmates, and ending their questions with, "X knows how to do that... I'll ask him!"


What I Learned Today

  • Where to locate royalty-free music (see below)
  • How to access and save on our school's groups drive
    • I knew this was possible, but had never actually done it.
  • How to embed music on a Keynote presentation as a soundtrack
    • I have been a PowerPoint girl for years.  But I am at an all-Mac campus, so I have committed myself to learning Keynote this year.
  • What my students need from me.  Students here are well-equipped with tech skills, so I found that what they needed instruction with was:
    • The books they choose.  We suggested they choose a book they could picture in their minds as a movie.  Many chose books that had already been made into movies, and therefore wanted to use movie images and video clips... which, as a plus, did create teaching moments about copyright issues.  In the future, I would make it a requirement that books that are already movies not be used for their first projects.  
    •  The types of photos they choose.  Often, a LOT of time was spent finding the "perfect" photo of someone/something that precisely matched the book's description, rather than accepting a representation.  Helping students focus on one or two details (the feathers on the wings) rather than the whole scene (a girl with a 14-foot wingspan soaring over a cityscape) was a frequent conversation. 
    • Proper MLA format.  There is a great variety of citation formats in this first batch of trailers.  While credit is given to sources, we still have some work to do to get it right.
  • Application of visual bookmarking program:
This was also the class for which I built my first Symbaloo.  While not outstanding, I am comfortable sharing:


Next Steps

Students are expected to polish and upload their trailers to the groups drive in the upcoming week.  I will be reviewing trailers, uploading them to our YouTube channel, and then embedding them in our Digital Hub.  The Tech Coordinator is going to take students through the process of creating QR codes, and my assistants will attach the codes to the books.  A blurb will go out in our weekly newsletter to our greater school community.  And then it will be time to begin the process again...

Grab the Popcorn

Here's a sneak preview...

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