>In the laundry list of things I had to have done by Tuesday, one of the most interesting was my proposal for the French Award. The French Award gives $5000 to a teacher to fund a project they’re interested in incorporating into their class.
My project involves using video as a synthesis of student learning. The items I’d purchase to create my project are a Flip Video Camera, an Elmo Document Camera, 6 iPod Touches, a 1 TB external hard drive and somewhere in the neighborhood of 90 FollettBound novels (they’re a little more expensive, but Follett will replace any damaged book for free, and kids can be pretty hard on books).
Here’s a basic outline of the project–know that I’m pretty excited about this, and will probably try to do it even if I don’t get it funded.
1. Students will vote for one of six thematic: Natural Disasters, Self-Identity, Truth, Acceptance, Survival, and “Big” Issues. Based on their responses, a thematic unit and other related texts (readings, videos, music and art) will be chosen.
2. Through mini-lesson, teacher created podcasts to be viewed in small groups on iPods, teacher guided practice, small group practice, reciprocal teaching and independent practice, students will learn about varied sentence structure, vocabulary, reading strategies and other elements of language arts as they are presented in their language arts classes. All of this knowledge will be incorporated into the script for the film they will produce at the end of the six weeks.
3. Each week, students will compose a blog post (web host to be determined), reflecting on their learning, reflecting on their thoughts about the theme in terms of their personal experiences and their reading, and suggesting ways that their learning and connections can be incorporated into one of the six film categories (these categories will be used as tags for easy reference later, other categories will be added based on the theme selected):
a. Anticipation—what we thought before we started reading
b. What we read—short summaries of the novel text and other texts read, viewed or heard during the unit, what was learned from them, how they connect together and to the theme
c. Visual Art—representation of the theme in an artistic way, either researched or student created
d. Music—type, style, genre, specific examples that might fit the theme
e. Film—People who think this theme is interesting might also want to see what movies? (Find trailers on YouTube)
f. Where we ended up—our final thoughts and how our initial thoughts changed or stayed the same
4. In the fourth week of the unit, students will be divided into specific production teams of no more than three students based on the categories listed above. Students will begin using their weekly blog reflections and the blog reflections of their peers to create a script for a 2-4 minute presentation on their category. During this time we will still continue to have reading and writing strategy, and vocabulary lessons.
5. Each day in the fifth week of the unit, a group will present their script to the class using the document camera. They will solicit feedback from their peers on revision making notes on their copy as they go about what they should include that hasn’t been included, what can be removed, how to incorporate their vocabulary and writing/grammar into their script. The group will then take those suggestions and revise their script accordingly. They will spend time practicing their script, reading with fluency and expression.
6. In the first three days of the last week in the six weeks, groups will record/create their portion of the presentation. Students can use video cameras, PowerPoint presentations saved as movies, Windows Movie Maker, scanners or any other necessary technology to create. All video or files will be saved on the external hard drive. Students who have had the technology class as an elective or who are interested in learning how to put together a film will come to my class during lunch to put together the pieces of the film.
7. The second to last day of the unit will be a viewing of the films from each class. Students will be able to see how their peers in different classes synthesized their learning.
8. The final day of the unit, students will write a blog post reflecting on what they learned about their theme, their thoughts on the film aspect of the project, what worked well for them and what didn’t, what else they’d like to learn and how we could work better as a community of readers and learners. We will use our blog posts as a springboard into class discussion and debriefing.
9. At the end of the semester, all parents will be invited in for a Literacy Night were we will show the films students created to their parents and discuss student accomplishments fort he semester.