Step 8: Enjoy the results!
By the holiday break, we had 17 videos finished. The rest were basically “finished,” we just had to wait until after break to pop the music into most of them and upload. Above is a playlist with the completed videos.
As I reflected on the project, I could imagine a number of tweaks and fixes that would make everything go more smoothly the next time around. Here’s my initial list:
Things I wish I did…
- Had more rags available
- More cleaner
- No more than 8 groups per class
- Have the kids be more complex in their drawings, and draw more slowly. There is no rush while filming the drawing.
- Have kids write key words on board that match key words in script to make it easier to glance up and see where they are
- Fix cameras on tripods, music stands, anything!
- Give better directions for camera people
- Have each video end with a zoom out so that entire board could be seen
- Add one more day to go a little more deeply into the research and writing about the implications of the Louisiana Purchase. Also, take the time to go over each group’s drawing and scripts in more detail…the fact that I didn’t do that is why you hear almost every kid say things like “Haiti.” Modern name, not historically accurate.
- Keep in mind, this was our first time, so I kept it simple, maybe next time each video focuses on one aspect of the Purchase, like the Constitutionality of the purchase
This is an activity for any class, not just social studies. Almost any obstacle you can think of can be overcome: even if you paired your kids up and each pair did one step and did only one video per class.
As the project concluded, the class and I talked about how no professional would have worked under the constraints we did. You can read about how one professional did her film through the links below. My kids did an incredible job considering the time and supplies they had. Imagine if they had a chance to practice their drawings twice! Narrate once, check for sound, and then do it again…I could go on and on. We managed to put this together during a series of roughly six 45 minute periods where after directions and other business from me, the teacher, students had about 35 minutes of work time each period. This was also done with incredibly mixed classes. My kids are super, but we are from average town America. If we could do it, so can you and your kids.
So if you made it this far, you have got to try this. Come back and leave some advice in the comments. I feel like I need to do this for at least three more years before I have a good handle on it!
Finally, I have a little policy in class…never have the kids do something I have not done. If you want to see how mine turned out…and what I learned from doing the assignment, follow the link.