I love those moments where you get inspired by some pretty amazing teachers...AND get this...Those teachers are middle and high school teachers. In the past years, I never had the opportunity to collaborate with the upper grade teachers. Elementary teachers stuck to collaborating with each other. Plus, the idea of collaborating with the upper grades boggled my mind. I mean, what on earth can I offer a high school teacher? First grade and high school English just seem to be on two completely different planets. BUT...AGAIN! These incredibly innovative and daring teachers taught me something new...And I am experimenting with a new idea with my kids as a result.
What is this new idea? Well, have you watched any RSA Animate videos? If not, watch the video below. The first video was created by a professional where the idea of RSA animates were started. The second video was created by a middle school student.
Was not that video created by the middle school student impressive?! It is so exciting to see what our digital-minded students are capable of creating. They are so creative and full of ideas.
With a general idea of how our PFAA teachers did this assignment in the classroom, and a blog post by Blogush, I attempted this new project with my first graders. We have been working on our plant and animal unit for the past few weeks. My original plan was for my kids to create a habitat and write up an informational report on an animal that lives in that habitat. Well, let us just nix that idea. Why not take things a step further and incorporate technology into this project? I vision it working perfectly with our current Science units.
So, our first task...I shared the brillant idea I had with my kids. The initial reaction were gasps. "Miss Choi, middle and high school students are doing this?!" Yes, they are, BUT I know you guys can do this too. Let's show everyone how great you guys are. At this age, it is so easy to get the kids onboard with my crazy ideas. Haha!
Our class RSA video was going to be on the plant life cycle. It is a simple topic for the class and something we have learned about before. The kids knew it like the back of their hand. After we discussed the stages in the cycle, we wrote out a "script." This script is more like a mini informational piece on the plant life cycle. So, we did incorporate writing into this project. Sounds great, right?! Next, we mapped out our illustrations for each part. Our project had 8 steps. Each step required an illustration that would go along with the written portion. After we sketched out the illustrations, we did a practice run. I broke the class up into their table groups. Each group had a part of the script to read aloud. Now, we are working on reading and fluency! Heehee!
As the kids are reading, I drew the sketches onto the whiteboard. This took some practice because we discovered that in some places we need more details added to the illustrations. Now, after some practice, I chose two students to videotape as we attempted to do the next couple parts to this project. I chose two students because I wanted to be able to pick one or the other video. Even though we had discussed how the example videos showed a zoomed in view of the artwork, the kids had a hard time with this. The whiteboard is such a large space, and I am much taller than my firsties, so it is a little hard for the kids to zoom in. After watching the 2 videos, I decided we needed to make some changes. I would videotape and I would have one kid illustrate while the whole class narrates.
This switcharoo worked out so much better. Everyone had an opportunity to create their own illustration of the plant life cycle, but I chose one student who was able to draw without stopping from start to finish. During the afternoon recess, I recorded the student drawing the illustration. After recess, we imported the video into iMovie. From there, the video speed was increased to make the flow of the illustrations faster.
On day 2, we gathered on the rug and watched the voiceless version of the video. The kids practiced reading the script as the video was playing. It took some time for the kids to understand where they needed to speed up or slow down their reading. Instead of having the kids read the different parts as small groups, we decided to read the entire script as a whole class. This helped greatly with the voiceover portion. I sped up the video to 200% which was the perfect speed for having the whole class read chorally. I think any faster would have created an "echo" reading effect. After LOTS of redos, we were finally able to get a great voiceover recording that matched up. Here is the final product:
As a reflection piece to our project, I interviewed the class and asked them what their favorite and not so fun parts of the whole process was. Here are their responses:
- reading the script out loud.
- leading the class in the voiceover.
- watching the video speed up from normal to fast.
- practicing reading the script because practice makes perfect.
- when we finally read the script together with the video.
- Not So Fun...
- when we had to read the 1st paragraph on the script, we had to read really fast.
- when we had to redo the voiceover part over and over again.
- reading the entire script together was not easy because we were not reading at the same speed.
- changing speeds when we were reading and recording to make sure the script matches the video was hard.
This whole process was quite an exciting one! Lots of work, but the kids loved it. Now, we will attempt to create these videos for our animal habitats in small groups. Fingerscrossed that it works!